In search of ‘hygge’

     This morning when I woke up the light was that pale, light blue of winter. Light made only when its coming in through bare branches and snow on the ground. There was nothing to do for the moment but snuggle in further under quilts and blink awake. 
   “It’s snow!” The baby chirped, pointing out the window. And yes, our first snow of the winter has arrived, a little surprise at the end of a three day deluge that soaked this prairie through with wet and bitter cold.

   So here we are, on the other side of Christmas Day. And I’ll confess….as much as I love Advent and Christmas Day, I was ready to be here. As the holiday barreled towards us, we all came down with colds and a hacking cough that still lingers. My head was so stuffy and ached on Christmas Eve. Time with family was lovely, and the Christmas Eve service at church so beautiful, but I just wanted to lay down in some little corner and close my eyes.

   Luckily I felt better Christmas Day, but by December 26, “The First Day of Christmas”, I was dismantling the tree and the trimmings because I just wanted calm. I keep thinking of the concept of “hygge”, the Danish word (pronounced ‘HUE-guh’) that envelopes the feeling of warm coziness and comfort. 

  Now, capturing hygge (but do you capture it? No, you probably sink down into it….like into a pile of furs with a cup of cocoa in hand by a fireside….) is fleeting here. Currently my children are howling as they pretend to be wolves and my ‘clean house’ disappears as fast as is if I were trying to sweep up the desert in a sandstorm. But I’m trying. I’ll take it where I can get it.

   Some things that help— lots of hot tea and coffee. The tea I take steaming and whorled with honey to calm this cough and scratchy throat. Also piles of new books from family and friends that I am so excited about: “Tasha’s Delightful House” showed up on our doorstep all the way from Japan on Christmas Eve. The package, so very exotic, was waiting for us, propped up on the porch, when we returned from that night’s church service.

   “Pioneer Girl” was also a fun surprise waiting for me under the tree, the annotated volume of the manuscript Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about her life before she started her Little House series. I’ve spend some time curled up with this and trying to soak it all in. What I love so much about the series is that its, obviously, set out here in the prairie. So much of it is familiar and like home.

  Friends gave me some wonderful books as well— like a beautiful edition of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” complete with a handmade bookmark from Patricia up in New York State and Natasha give me a signed (thrill!) copy of “In The Heart Of The Sea” by Nathaniel Philbrick, who I first got to know when I read his book about Nantucket when I was looking into my ancestors who settled that beautiful little island.

  And so— I have plenty of good books, and furry creatures, and little people to cuddle up with as I search for my year end’s hygge. I’m looking forward to the new year with new projects and new adventures. Here’s to a wonderful 2016!

Christmas Blessings,

6 thoughts on “In search of ‘hygge’

  1. Sounds like a lovely way to end the year. I also got a few \”cuddle up and read\” books for Christmas, including one on the Disney illustrator Mary Blair (one of my faves). I've decided it isn't Christmas unless you get at least one beautifully-illustrated book to dive into in the days following the holiday! Happy New Year!


  2. I love the first snow of the season!!! It is exciting and lovely to see the earth go white and quiet. Your idea of hygge sounds wonderful to me too. Today I spent doing tons of laundry and getting the Christmas decor back in their boxes. It does feel good to anticipate a new year and let the ideas begin to surface. Perhaps some hygge will appear down my way soon too! Today was hot, humid and overcast. I'm looking forward to some rain and cool weather to follow to ring in the New Year!


  3. Thanks for sharing your \”hygge\” – I ♥ learning new things! So sweet how the baby spotted the snow. I really hope we get some here in Ohio. Wishes for a happy new year to you!!!


  4. I first learned about hygge last year from a Canadian blogger I follow. I like your description of sinking down into it. That does seem to capture it for me. Tomorrow I rearrange my living room when I take down our tree. Hygge will be something on my mind as I decide where to place everything around the fireplace. I love your dishes! I'm so glad you got some snow. I'm sure your children loved it, too. I look forward to your sharing of the Tasha Tudor book (which I'm sure you will over on Stillwater, I hope).


  5. Just wanted to let you know…we warded off three oncoming colds/sinus infections this Christmas season with (each time) a large mug of rosehip tea [bring to boil 1-3/4 cups water with 1 heaping tablespoon dried rosehips (I throw in about 5 whole allspice berries, slightly crushed and maybe a star anise); let steep 15 minutes; strain through a coffee filters to remove any seeds or hairs from the hips; add honey to taste] and, on the side, at room temperature, a tablespoon of Golden Angel Apiary Raw Wild Rose Honey (from our local health food store, but I think you can buy it online; it has cured everything from fall and spring allergies to these sinus infections and more). Sounds simple, but worked, to our amazement. We rarely get through the holidays without colds/flu.Sorry about your lingering illnesses. Have a blessed, creative, prosperous 2016!


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