Give the gift of a book this Christmas (inspired by Iceland’s wonderful festive tradition)

Give the gift of a book this Christmas


A book is a gift you can open and enjoy again and again...

I've started my Christmas shopping and so far all I have bought is books (ok and some alcohol). I know I'm biased, but books make such beautiful gifts. I remember as a child I would be so excited to receive a new book, and I'd take myself off to a quiet corner immediately, snuggle up and devour it entirely. It was also a time where a Chocolate Orange or a small candle was a wonderful gift to give to a teacher. Now people seem to be buying expensive bottles of perfumes or giving £100's of pounds worth of shopping vouchers to teachers. I'm not suggesting for a moment they don't deserve it - my children's teachers are wonderful and they do much for my boys, of course they deserve it - but I can't help feeling that these days the sentiment of giving a gift has been lost somewhat. A book wrapped in brown paper, a pair of fluffy socks, a homemade gift... For me, giving a gift is about the thought that's gone into it.


I've been reading about Christmas traditions in other countries, particularly Iceland who have a beautiful tradition of giving books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spending the whole evening reading. It sounds delicious! Whilst the giving and receiving of  books is not unique to Iceland, this tradition is so deeply ingrained in their culture that they have what is known as Jolabokaflod or “Christmas Book Flood” because the majority of books in Iceland are sold between September and December specifically for Christmas giving.


In the run up to Christmas, Icelanders receive a free catalogue detailing all the new publications (this is called Bokatidindi) and they look excitedly through all the new releases before choosing which ones they will purchase for their loved ones. A book in Iceland is such an enormous gift, and they are given and received with such love and appreciation. What a wonderful tradition!


Over the years we have developed our own bookish Christmas tradition in our household. I wrap up a huge pile of Christmassy books (I keep them with the Xmas decorations and bring them out each year, replacing some every now and then (charity shops are great for picking them up) and in the run up to Christmas (usually 12 days or so) my boys each choose and unwrap a book from under the tree at bedtime, and we share the Christmas story together. If they’re lucky there might be a chocolate coin in there too!


The beauty of books will never fade - you can read and re-read them or pass them on to family and friends to enjoy. Combining family story time with the excitement of Christmas can be truly magical.


Sadly 383,775 children in the UK don’t have a single book of their own. This makes me so sad! Children who own books are six times more likely to read above the level expected for their age - this means hundreds of thousands of children are missing out! (info from

Books are wonderful to give as presents at Christmas - they are a gift that can be opened and enjoyed again and again. Let’s get more children reading - do something magical and give the gift of a book this Christmas!


My books are available to buy on Amazon


'Gruesome Tales for Gruesome Boys' is a collection of gruesomely hilarious rhyming tales, perfect for the little boys in your life approx (age 5-10)

Click here to buy


‘Reach for the stars, Dear Girl’ is a lovingly written and beautifully illustrated book, encouraging girls to get to know themselves, to recognise what makes them happy, to find their own voice and stand up for what they believe in, and ultimately to be true to themselves. Written in rhyme, its words are sure to inspire girls of all ages to not only love and accept themselves just as they are, but to rejoice in their uniqueness!  


Click here to buy



If you enjoyed reading this you may also enjoy my blog post on the importance of reading with children:


Fran Grant is a writer and children's author. She is also the wife of a very patient husband and the mother of 3 energetic little boys. As a self-confessed bookworm and book hoarder, she is a huge believer in keeping the magic of reading alive for children. After many years in the corporate world, Fran is now fulfilling her lifelong ambition of writing books.

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