With mere days left in this trip around the sun, it’s time to focus on wrapping up this challenging year (with the occasional bright spot) by dialling in what makes us feel loved and warm and safe and happy. AKA, hygge.
Here’s why it’s the best Christmas plan ever: You can’t buy hygge, it’s a state of mind.
Wondering how to say hygge? Click here for a lesson.
Gettin’ Hygge With It
As a Canadian, hygge has a familiar resonance , despite it’s Scandinavian origin. Danish and Norwegian settlers had little in the way of material possessions as they established a new life in a cold and harsh new environment. So, they did what they could with what they had. They made it cozy and comfortable and safe using warmth and light from fires they built and the ones that burned within. To put it in terms Millenialls will understand, it was all about Good Vibes Only.
Immigrants to Canada – a similarly cold and harsh environment – built homes and communities with their bare hands, clearing dense forests from Cape Breton Island to Northern Quebec to the Canadian prairies with next to nothing but sheer will, hard work and big dreams.
One of the rare things in life that is easier to do than say, hygge, is what we hope Christmas will be – carols, twinkle lights, fireplaces, stockings, sleigh rides, friends, family and peace on earth.
If you want to go full on hygge this holiday – and why wouldn’t you? – here’s a handy how-to list:
7 Ways to Have a Hygge Holiday
1. Stop, Drop and Don’t Shop
The more radical the idea of not shopping is to your mind, the more you need to embrace it. It’s not that buying gifts is wrong or bad, but, if you can’t imagine not shopping for presents, it is worth asking yourself if that’s what you really want the experience to be. Tip – as your making your list and checking it twice, ask yourself if there is any thing you could give that person that doesn’t involve spending money. Then try it.
2. Write It Down.
To me, hygge sounds a lot like self-care. And, writing is one of the best ways to practice a little self-hygge. So, since Christmas comes but once a year, why not write something really meaningful – to yourself, to someone else; write about this past year and be proud. You made it, no matter how many times you thought you wouldn’t. Grab a pen and a journal and let your thoughts out.
Candles and a roaring fire isn’t a hard sell for most of us, #bestlight. The hygge fire light is about feeling content, not romantic, although we’ll take romance, too. Other than sunlight, it’s one of the few totally natural lights we can experience. Make it a naturally scented candle for some added aroma therapy.
4. Go outside
Get cold. Smile. Don’t complain about the cold. One hall mark of a cool kid (at least back in the day) was to wear the bare minimum coat for the weather. Subsequently, you were cool, and also very cold. We’re not doing that. Bundle up. If there’s snow within a 30 minute drive – find it and play in it.
5. Hot bev-ies
Obviously, this is a must. Preferably right after step #4. My tradition is spicy and warm mulled wine at the holidays. But, you do you: spicy Mexican hot chocolate, cider, peppermint tea, hot toddy. And, by the way, a cold climate is not mandatory. If your lifestyle means you throw on a two-piece and head to the beach for Christmas Day, a little Bailey’s in your coffee can bring a little hygge glow, or pick your favourite beverage (straight or spiked).
6. Devices Down
Nothing kills a hygge buzz like the blue glow of a smart phone. Turn it off for at least one-hour. Make eye contact, read from real book. Bust out the old recipe books that are gathering dust. Use the hours you’ll gain back by not checking Instagram to fill your house with the smell of gingerbread.
7. Slow Everything
Sometimes, when I catch myself speed walking on an errand for no good reason, I force myself to do an awareness check. Like, really, is racing everywhere that helpful? Whatever the scenario – I walk slower, breathe slower, type slower. The holidays are a hectic time. The best thing you can do for yourself is to slow down on the baking, the driving, even how fast you talk.
Once you’ve covered all 7, start over from the top.
What’s the best way to bring some hygge to your holidays? Bonus points for our Scandinavian friends with old-country stories!