The holidays can be a challenging time. Everything seems to go into overdrive. Parties, faith-based events, and school plays to attend, meals to prepare, homes to clean…and here in the Northwest, throw in a snowstorm to make it even more challenging!
Related post: In Praise of a Slow Holiday
Running around, remembering everything (or only some of everything in my case!), and purchasing gifts seem to overtake the season. I know I’ve spent countless hours scouring racks and retail outlets only to return home feeling defeated or stressed about meeting other people’s expectations. I worry about potential interpretations of the gift – did I spend enough? does it show I listen to their stories? will they even use it? The weight of other people’s expectations from perfect gifts to clean houses is too much and not a good use of my time, energy, or, honestly, my heart.
Well, this year, I’m hoping to be a lot more intentional with my time and energy. I believe there is only so much energy you can possibly have in a day and if you’re not careful, it’ll be slurped up by tasks at hand. And, most of the time, those tasks are the ones we go on auto-pilot for or feel like we ‘have to do’.
As I’m getting older and taking on the duties of being a matriarch of our nuclear family, I feel more comfortable in making these choices. In saying “No, thank you” or just flat out “No” as needed.
So, this winter and holiday season, let’s try a different approach.
Hygge Holiday and a Cozy Winter
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Have you heard of Hygge? It seems to have been quite a trend this year but it’s probably a concept to familiar to everyone who lives where the nights are long and the days are cold.
Alex Beauchamp at Hygge House explains it as:
It does not mean scrolling through your phone or doing ALL.THE.THINGS.
It is a sentiment and a contentment in your surroundings, physically and emotionally.
It can involve sweatpants. And hot chocolate. Or wine… whatever makes you feel cozy.
In my mind, hygge involves a woodstove, warm mug of tea, a fuzzy blanket, good book, and family members each reading or relaxing around the room. Maybe the next closest would be Christmas morning, when we all gather with hot coffee and Mom’s “Gooey Buns” in the living room and settle in to open presents. It’s the togetherness and child-like grounding in the moment that make it cozy for me.
The best hygge book, The Little Book of Hygge, is a beloved description about the practice.
So over the next season, keep this in mind. Let the present go un-wrapped, order your groceries from a service, and skip the silver scrubbing. Leave room in your hear to say Yes! to spontaneous carol singing, messy cookie decorating with the toddler, and skyping with your cousin. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
15 Winter Hygge Ideas
- Gourmet hot chocolate (or even with a splash of Bailey’s!)
- Wear Hygge socks or a new Snuggie
- Bundle up and watch a meteor shower (Here is the annual schedule from the America Meteor Society.)
- Go to a music concert
- Listen to an old-time radio program
- Start a pen-pal relationship
- Sit by the wood-stove
- Go to bed with the sunset and rise with the sun
- Bake some fresh bread or better yet, some cinnamon buns. This is the bread machine I use and love.
- Try a crafting class
- Practice yoga or meditation
- Spend a weekend at a cabin and play the Hygge Game
- Watch classic movies
- Eat dinner by candlelight
- Write down some stories for your children or grandchildren