A Hyggelig Christmas
2016 has been the year of hygge. Or at the very least the year that us Brits discovered hygge and embraced it in a big, big way.
Being a bit of a Scandophile, i've long been trying to bring more hygge into my life - alongside the Danish lessons, however my levels of feeling hygge have gone through the roof since we've hit the festive season. I don't think you can find many things that go hand in hand as well as Christmas time and hygge, in fact the Danes even have their own compound word to describe that special Christmas hygge feeling - julhygge.
There have been many explanations of what hygge is, and the feeling that it tries to capture. Often folk will describe is as 'feeling cosy'. I don't believe the explanation that it just represents cosiness is necessarily correct, i think hygge is about creating that warm, glowy feeling but I think it goes beyond just lighting candles and snuggling in a blanket to being more along the lines of ensuring that you take time to care for yourself. Spend time with friends and family, spend time doing hobbies you love, be comfortable in yourself as well as making your home comfortable - in short don't sweat the small stuff, embrace life as it is now and don't waste time on things you don't love doing. It all changes depending on the person also - of course lighting a candle can help induce that hygge feeling, as it certainly does for me - but for my boyfriend being in the woods looking for pinecones would be he might feel most hygge. I was giving this some thought last night, and I think the times when I feel most hygge is when I am tucked up in bed with a book, with a storm lashing against my window, or watching a great film with my boyfriend and my pug- again with a storm lashing against the window!
This Christmas, we are embracing a much more Scandinavian theme - we are bringing the outside in by choosing decorations in more natural materials, and we are also trying to engage in many more activities that make us feel more hygge. I've been spending more time doing my various crafts and practices, and we've been making the time to cook real, good food together. Once I've finished with work for business I may even try some traditional Scandinavian recipes, cinnamon buns are certainly top of my list!
More importantly, I'm going to be making more time to see and speak to my friends and loved ones - even if it's just through a written letter. I think taking the time to sit down and write to my friends would definitely give me that lovely hygge feeling, and I certainly hope that they would feel the same receiving my letter in the post. Christmas is a time to come together, however it shouldn't just be at Christmas that we feel this way. I think the Scandinavians certainly have the right idea with hygge, as all through the dark months they'll be supporting each other by spending time and planning activities together, thus promoting a long lasting warm, fuzzy hygge feeling. We Brits tend to have the attitude that we can only make similar time for each other when we have an excuse like Christmas. No wonder we all feel stressed and our Nordic neighbours regularly top polls for World's Happiest Country!
Some may see hygge as a bit of a fad and a buzzword, and some people seem to be very dismissive of the concept simply because of the way that it's taken off recently. However I'm not sure how anyone could really have a problem with the idea of making time for yourself, the people you love and the things that you love doing. If we all made time for hygge everyday we could all be a little bit happier, and a little bit less stressed, and that's certainly something I could get on board with. I think the Scandinavian's are onto a very good thing, and if you can't beat them, join them.
I'm off to snuggle in bed with a book, fingers crossed that we get a bit of rain to lash against my window.
If you liked my post then let me know - perhaps you also like to indulge in a bit of hygge, or perhaps the whole thing totally bewilders you. Let me know in the comments or on social media.
See you tomorrow,