Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas traditions - an info wrap

The holiday season can be very hectic even for magical Santa Claus.  To wrap up our Christmas themes on Storywraps I want to bring to your attention two amazing traditions that you may want to think about for Christmas 2018.  Of course any time that books are incorporated into celebrations and festivities every day is Christmas!   Wouldn't you agree?  

Giving books on Boxing Day

I like the idea of Boxing Day books. It could be a way of making a book as a present seem more special.  Books do make good presents and important ones too. There is considerable evidence to show that book ownership is a key factor in encouraging children to read.

As well as enjoying books, children who own books do better at school overall with evidence showing that book ownership can make outweigh other social factors that affect a child’s educational progress.

For those reasons, the idea of a Boxing Day book is an excellent one. Maybe it should become a right for all children! 

While a boxing day book may be specific to your family the idea of having a special day on which to give a book is more universal. In Spain, St George’s Day is celebrated with the giving of a book and a rose. This tradition is the inspiration of World Book Day in the UK which is now celebrated every March by all school age children being given a £1 voucher and the opportunity to buy a title from a specially selected range of books published at that price. And another date for your diary is International Book Giving Da

Meanwhile in Iceland...

( I love this one so much) 

Ty to Treehugger.com

Book lovers will want to adopt this lovely holiday tradition, which melds literary and holiday pleasures into a single event.

Icelanders have a beautiful tradition of giving books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spending the night reading. This custom is so deeply ingrained in the culture that it is the reason for the Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood,” when the majority of books in Iceland are sold between September and December in preparation for Christmas giving.

At this time of year, most households receive an annual free book catalog of new publications called the Bokatidindi. Icelanders pore over the new releases and choose which ones they want to buy, fueling what Kristjan B. Jonasson, president of the Iceland Publishers Association, describes as “the backbone of the publishing industry.”

"It's like the firing of the guns at the opening of the race," says Baldur Bjarnason, a researcher who has written about the Icelandic book industry. "It's not like this is a catalog that gets put in everybody's mailbox and everybody ignores it. Books get 
attention here."

The small Nordic island, with a population of only 329,000 people, is extraordinarily literary. They love to read and write. According to a BBC article, “The country has more writers, more books published and more books read, per head, than anywhere else in the world… One in 10 Icelanders will publish [a book].”

It seems there is more value placed on physical, paper books than in North America, where e-books have grown in popularity. One bookstore manager told NPR, “The book in Iceland is such an enormous gift, you give a physical book. You don't give e-books here." The book industry is driven by the majority of people buying several books each year, rather than the North American pattern of a few people buying lots of books.

When I asked an Icelandic friend what she thought of this tradition, she was surprised.

“I hadn't thought of this as a special Icelandic tradition. It is true that a book is always considered a nice gift. Yes, for my family this is true. We are very proud of our authors.”

It sounds like a wonderful tradition, perfect for a winter evening. It is something that I would love to incorporate into my own family’s celebration of Christmas. I doubt my loyalty to physical books will ever fade; they are the one thing I can’t resist collecting, in order to read and re-read, to beautify and personalize my home, to pass on to friends and family as needed. Combining my love for books and quiet, cozy Christmas Eves sounds like a perfect match. What a gift! 

I hope you had a blessed Christmas and holiday.  May our New Year be amazing and authors continue to inspire us with their creative stories and illustrators magically paint portraits of their words.  I pray that you will continue to visit me here on Storywraps and continue to read every day to your children, all through 2018.

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