|Autumn morning fog on the river|
I’m behind the curve on writing about this trend, I know. No doubt you’ve heard of hygge, the Danish and Norwegian word pronounced “hoo-guh,” defined by the Oxford dictionary as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” According to Anna Altman in her 2016 article in The New Yorker, “winter is the most hygge time of the year.” Apparently the Danish are masters of hygge, and that’s where the idea spread from a couple of years ago. From Denmark… you know, in Scandinavia, where the cold and dark winter months last a long time, and people need to hunker down and survive, with their sanity intact, until spring. And it just dawned on me that trendy or not… hygge is what happens in Canada every winter.
So, hygge. As a Canadian living in a country with a long, cold, dark winter, what does it mean to me? Hmmm. It might mean sitting around the fire, wearing cosy sweaters and heavy socks, sipping wine, chatting with friends. Or maybe Hubby and I have prepared a candle lit dinner for four, and over the murmur of conversation around the table, we can sometimes hear the wind whipping the snow around outside. Or, muscles tight from a long ski, I might be lounging by the fire in silent contentment with a book in one hand and a cup of tea in the other, while my significant other snoozes on the sofa. Oh, yeah. I was born to hygge.
|We walked by this frozen pond today, but didn’t have our skates with us.|
|Lonely country road in late fall.|
Late fall and winter is our best time together, really. Long, late afternoon walks in the crisp air followed by dinner by the fire, maybe watching an episode of Heatbeat, or Inspector Gently, or some other British mystery show. My favourite form of hygge is an afternoon ski, followed by tea, and a good book for me, a nap for Hubby, then a bath, a glass of wine, dinner, another fire. Yep, I’d say we’re the King and Queen of cosy convivial contentment.
|Time to head home|
|Hubby has the fire going, must be time for supper.|
But here’s the thing. Just because a trend makes people like book sellers, woolly sock manufacturers, and makers of tiny festive harnesses go all crazy to jump on the bandwagon before the ship sails. Ha. How’s that for a perfectly mixed metaphor? Just because the idea of hygge isn’t perfect, even in Denmark, doesn’t mean that parts of it aren’t good. That we all couldn’t learn a lesson on how to slow down, light a few candles, and savour the small things in life.
We don’t really need a book, or an avalanche of books, to tell us how to do that. And we certainly don’t need to worry if the socks we lounge in front of the fire in are designer cashmere.
Not that designer cashmere is a bad thing, she said, remembering her new burgundy Akris sweater.
So yeah, hygge and me we go way, way back. Hugs not so much. Oddly enough, over the years, my hug-aversion seems to have fallen by the wayside. I don’t know when it happened. Maybe when I turned fifty? But I hug at the drop of a hat now. Funny isn’t it?
So how about you folks? Do you live in a place with a long, cold, dark winter? Do you need a hygge?