We just got our first substantial snow of the winter in the Boston area. While not a fan of snow, I’m all about the cozy. So I find ways to enjoy the season.
A favorite winter breakfast is oatmeal with maple syrup, walnuts, dried cranberries and vanilla soy milk. I’ve been baking recently — scones and banana bread. A snack for me and gifts for others.
With all that’s going on in this country at the moment, it’s important to take time for self-care. To gather inner strength. To steady ourselves. Without that we won’t be ready for whatever lies ahead as we enter a new American era.
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The United States is thousands of miles from Denmark. We have very different forms of government and culture. But we have cold weather and dark winters in common. So right now I’m taking something from Danish culture to see me through this time — hygge.
In case you’re not familiar with term, it’s pronounced “hooga” and is about the appreciation and art of coziness. I have seen many different definitions for it, but here is one from Denmark’s tourism website.
In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. There’s nothing more hygge than sitting round a table, discussing the big and small things in life.
A blog called Hygge House gives another perspective on the word.
Some refer to hygge as an “art of creating intimacy” (either with yourself, friends and your home). While there’s no one English word to describe hygge, several can be used interchangeably to describe the idea of hygge such as cosiness, charm, happiness, contentness, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness.
Danes created hygge because they were trying to survive boredom, cold, dark and sameness and the undefinable feeling of Hygge was a way for them to find moments to celebrate or acknowledge and to break up the day, months or years. With so many cold, dark, days, the simple act of a candle glowing with a cup of coffee in the morning or a home cooked evening meal with friends can make a huge difference to one’s spirit.
We can all define what the word means to us as individuals. For me, right now, it’s about making my home a warm cozy place where I can retreat and gather my thoughts and my calm.
As an introvert, that’s vital. Home is where I recharge. But It’s also a place where I can invite friends and family.
What about you?