The Daily Valet. - 12/13/23, Wednesday

✔️ Are You Up For Jolabokaflod?

The Daily Valet.
The Daily Valet.

Wednesday, December 13th Edition

Cory Ohlendorf

By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor

I hope this newsletter finds you feeling well and ready to take on the day.

Today’s Big Story

Are You Up for Jolabokaflod?

Let's all embrace The Icelandic Tradition of Giving Books around the holidays


What are you reading these days? I always break out an old copy of Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris this time of year. I've gifted it to several people because I love to share the wildly funny stories of disastrous seasonal misadventures, which help put a stressful season in perspective. I actually love giving books as gifts. Turns out, I was down with the Iceland tradition known as “Jolabokaflod” before I even knew it was a thing.You see, here in the States, popular holiday gifts come and go from year to year. But in Iceland, the best Christmas gift is a book — and it's been that way for decades. Who knew that Iceland—the land of fire and ice, blue lagoons and beautiful glaciers—is also the land of voracious readers. The small nation has the most authors per capita in the world and publishes the most books per capita in the world (with five titles published for every 1,000 Icelanders).But what's really unusual is the timing: Historically, a majority of books in Iceland are sold from late September through early December. It's a national tradition, and the name, Jolabokaflod, translates to the “Christmas Book Flood”. The premise is simple: Gift a new book to someone you love. This book-gifting tradition dates back to World War II, when paper was one of the few items you could actually find in abundance. Given that other products and gifts were few and far between, Icelanders made the best of the situation and gave each other books to enjoy.Now, on Christmas Eve, you'll find most Icelanders snuggled up at home, all doing the same thing: reading a book. And most will often enjoy hot chocolate or jolabland (a non-alcoholic holiday ale) with their newly acquired page-turners. There's even an official Jolabokaflod catalog sent to every house in Iceland in November, called the Bókatíðindi, or “Book Bulletin”, which lists popular books and new releases that they can order. It's like the old Scholastic book fair we had in grade school, but for adults and delivered straight to your home.Of course, there's something uniquely Scandinavian about the thought of beating the arctic temperatures outside by settling in under a cozy blanket with a good book and a cup of cocoa and maybe some mood music. It's the very definition of hygge—remember that? I don't know if Iceland is officially part of Scandinavia, but as InsideHook points out, Jolabokaflod has to be one of the healthiest/most heartwarming traditions we've stumbled across in a minute. It offers a low-stakes (and low-cost) way for everyone to participate in gifting, it brings people together while championing alone time, and gets everyone — children and cynics, too — excited about reading.

Dig Deeper:

Get the full founding story of Jolabokaflod and how it's grown into a full-blown phenomenon.

Biden Warns Israel It Is ‘Losing Support’

The President says ‘indiscriminate bombing’ in Gaza is costing Israel support Around the world

President Biden offered sharp criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conduct of the war on Hamas, reports the Washington Post, suggesting that Israel's closest ally and biggest donor is “souring on a campaign that has killed thousands of Palestinians and sparked a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.” The president said that Israel had support from Europe and much of the world as well as the United States, but he added that “they're starting to lose that support by the indiscriminate bombing that takes place.”The president's remarks came hours after Netanyahu pledged to defy weeks of American pressure to put the Palestinian Authority in charge of Gaza once the fighting ends. Mr. Netanyahu ruled out any role there for the group, which now governs Palestinian society in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Until yesterday, the United States had largely backed Israel both in action and in rhetoric—supporting the assault on Gaza, fending off calls for a cease-fire at the United Nations and authorizing the sale of thousands of tank shells to the Israelis.However, under mounting pressure, the Israeli government will “likely” soon reopen the Kerem Shalom border between Israel and southern Gaza to allow aid trucks to enter the enclave, senior Israeli officials told Axios on Tuesday. If Israel reopens the crossing, it will represent a significant shift in its policy, which has been to refuse to allow any aid to enter Gaza through its territory since the Oct. 7 attack. Instead, aid trucks have entered the enclave via the Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was in Washington on Tuesday to make a last-ditch push to get more U.S. weapons and aid.

Does Everyone Have a Cold at the Moment?

It's not COVID or the flu, but a lot of people are coming down with ... something

How are you feeling? Because it seems like everyone's coming down with something. Blame it on the weather. Or the extra time spent indoors as we gather with friends and family. But this holiday season seems to be spreading more than good cheer. “There's all kinds of cough and cold viruses going around,” one doctor in Houston told Fox News, adding that common colds and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are driving the upward trend of respiratory illnesses nationwide in both kids and adults.And while cases of flu, COVID and RSV are steadily increasing around the country, there's also been an uptick in anecdotal reports of a brutal, long-lasting cough going around. As one TikTok user put it: everyone seems to have “a hacking cough that's been going on for weeks.” It doesn't appear to be the usual suspects, but another pathogen that's attacking and irritating our respiratory systems, according to experts.Dr. Janet O'Mahony, a physician in Baltimore, said many of her patients have recently come into her practice with a nasty cough that's lingered for two weeks or so. Some people have also had sinus congestion, a sore throat and post-nasal drip. “This chest cold has a real junky and persistent cough,” O'Mahony told HuffPost. The Cleveland Clinic believes that the sickness is caused by the regular viruses that cause colds and other respiratory illnesses. And when a virus enters our airways, it infects our cells and replicates. This can trigger a lot of inflammation and irritation in your throat, nose, and chest, which takes time to clear up. Stay healthy, everyone.

Cold Hard Truth:

What works for treating the common cold? Many doctors say “not much,” reports NPR.

The Food Trends Coming in 2024

Pickles, halloumi and camel milk ... What do you THink We we’ll be eating Next Year?

It's one of my favorite questions to ask (and sometimes to answer): “What's for dinner?” But looking out even further, experts are forecasting what food trends are about to take off in 2024. Get ready to eat more buckwheat, pickles, cinnamon sugar, dressed-up ramen, grilled halloumi cheese and Korean cuisine in 2024—and to wash it down with a tall, cool glass of camel milk.Most food prognosticators see two parallel tracks for 2024: virtuous and indulgent. Those looking to be good will be shunning ultra-processed foods (which have been raising health concerns), eating upcycled fare (which is made from food waste) and seeking products that have been farmed sustainably. But let's get real, most Americans aren't all that interested in that, right?Ultra-processed food—soon to become more widely known by its acronym, UPF—is poised to become the new “junk food,” the market research firm Mintel says in its 2024 food trends report. Additionally, Pinterest deemed “Melty Mashups,” with plenty of gooey cheese, a mover and shaker for next year. And The Takeout says fast food chains will win big (complete with on-demand cookies and fried chicken wings) while non-chocolate sweets will reign supreme.


IKEA just unveiled a massive, turkey-sized Swedish meatball in time for the holidays. But there's a catch.

In Other News

Year in search

From the Titanic submarine to Damar Hamlin, this is what we Googled in 2023.

Have you heard about ...

Cocktail attire

How to Stock Your Holiday Bar

What drinks to have in your refrigerator and on your bar this time of year

holiday bar

The holidays are all about good times. And let's get real for a sec—they're also about stress and all-day affairs that very likely involve family members with whom you may not see eye-to-eye when it comes to, say, politics. But good or bad, it all leads to booze, right?Of course, most casual drinkers don't keep a fully stocked bar year-round. As we head into the thick of party season, a small but smart bar setup is essential. Make sure you're stocked with all the bottles to ensure your thirsty houseguests are properly lubricated for a jolly evening.

Get Started:

From the best bottles to stock to how much to buy, here's everything you need to know.


What We’re Buying

Free shipping at Huckberry

Rancourt and Co. suede Dunnage boot

The only downside to the near-limitless options of online buying is that dreaded shipping charge that hits you when you go to check out. Of course, a lot of places will waive that fee if you hit a certain dollar threshold. But in the spirit of the holidays, Huckberry has waived their standard shipping fee for the next 48 hours—and they're also guaranteeing delivery in time for Christmas or they'll credit you fifty-bucks on your next order. So finish up that holiday shopping or just grab something for yourself. After all, you've been good all year, right? Here are a few items marked down that we've got in our cart.

What We're buying:

Suede Dunnage boot, $430 / $322 by Rancourt & Co.

Morning Motto

Take it easy.

The true measure of success is a calm nervous system.


Share today’s motto: