An alternative approach to Christmas
This year, my goal is to do a “Consumable Christmas” - meaning that everything I gift to friends and family will, in some way or another, be consumable.
All of this was born out of the idea to be more conscious of the environmental impact of the holidays.
Furthemore, I hate the idea of giving someone a material thing that they may not like and then they have to “figure out what to do with it” because guilt is weird and throwing things away is hard.
This consumable idea translates mostly to food and beverage ideas (which I promised I would share really soon!) and also homemade soy candles because a) my dad is adorable and taught me how to make them recently and b) rosemary and sea salt smell amazing together.
Between the food + beverage gifts and the soy candles, which will all be wrapped in homemade recycled wrapping paper (stay tuned for this, too!), I’ve added one final gift to the mix - books.
Were you surprised?
Iceland has this great tradition that calls for a book exchange on Christmas Eve, then curling under the covers with a mug of something hot, specialty chocolates, and reading late into the night.
Books are the most requested Christmas gift in Iceland which explains why publishing companies release so many books in November. It’s become known as Jólabókaflóð , or Christmas Book Flood.
If you’re still thinking, ‘meh books,’ consider this.
One in ten Icelanders will publish a written work in their lifetime.
1/4 of adults in the US didn’t read a single book last year.
Even if you don’t share in the same romantic idea of snuggling up on Christmas Eve and reading the night away, I don’t think you can go wrong with gifting a book - they are meant to be shared after all.
Consider supporting your local bookstore - or even better - ‘recycle’ one of your books that you found meaningful by pasting it on to a friend.
I personally love getting used books where the spines are worn, and the previous owner scribbled messily in the margins or underlined passages that were especially potent to them.
I’ve encouraged my friends and family to take the same approach this Christmas, and thus far the reception has been positive. If all goes according to plan, we’ll have hot ciders, wines, coffee, cookies, books, and good company - what else do you need on Christmas?
PS - Much of Iceland’s folklore is inspired by its landscape, with many books written on specific locations. “Journey to the Center of the Earth” was inspired by Snæfellsnes. If you want to see some of my Icelandic road trip photographs, tap here.