It seems like literally overnight everyone puts away their pumpkins (or as was the case in my neighborhood, someone takes and smashes them in the street) and shifts into holiday mode.
Today, November 1, I saw a Thanksgiving display at the local library and noticed a shop window that was ready for Christmas, twinkle lights and all.
I also saw on Facebook a post about how Iceland sells a large number of books between now and Christmas, a phenomenon called Jolabokaflod, or the “Christmas Book Flood.” (You can read more about the history behind it here.) Typically, people in Iceland give books as gifts on Christmas Eve. After dinner, they spend the evening reading.
I resolved that we would join in the Jolabokaflod.
I decided that my family would have a day of reading over holiday break. I know that it’s a ways off, but with crazy school and finals schedules, this effort requires some advance planning. I thought I’d mention it here now just in case your calendar is also filling up.
I always give my daughter a book at Christmas, and other family members frequently give and receive books, too. Why not make an event of reading them together?
My resolve was strengthened by a conversation I had yesterday about how parents often say they wish to raise a kid who loves reading. Those same parents often don’t read for pleasure, and their rarely seeing them picking up a book for enjoyment.
It’s really tough to expect them to follow an example that we don’t set.
I’m guessing it’s not a coincidence that in Iceland, where reading is treated like an event, 93% of citizens read more than one book a year and 50% read more than eight books a year.
The idea of combining cozy holiday favorites (think hot chocolate, cookies, warm blankets, fire in the fireplace) and literary fun sounds like a match made in Heaven. It also sounds like a lovely moment of calm in what can be a crazy season.
This was admittedly a unilateral decision I made today and I need to get my family to buy in. I’m hoping that my excitement will be contagious and my teen will catch it. Even if she doesn’t, I’m hopeful that making an event of reading will send a message about the beauty of books and the joy of reading.
Prior Post: How to’s for parents of teens
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