Have a Hygge Advent Time!
Hygge:“A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)”
- Oxford Dictionary
My Danish “Hygge” ancestry must be calling me. As the days get shorter and colder here in the northern hemisphere, my thoughts turn to cozy activities and the, things that make me happy in the wintertime:
Fires, tea and cookies and continued dog walks
Our wood stove is firing up and warming the living room with its radiant heat. The windows in the stove shine with fire-y golden light. We take great pleasure in the comfort of this stove in the winter months. While we watch the fire, we drink cinnamon tea or mulled wine (called Glühwein, here) and eat (Christmas and other) cookies, preferably homemade ones. It gets light at about 8am at the moment, and the sun disappears from the village at about 4pm, so walking the dog during daylight becomes a need for me. Activities like lighting fires in the woodstove, Advent wreathes and candles, drinking hot drinks and cookies, and taking walks when it is light are part of my seasonal Hygge time. These comforting activities give me and my family great pleasure during the time of the year.
Warm woolen mittens and other cozy clothes
I have finally gotten out my flannel lined chinos, my woolen pants, my thick winter socks. My winter boots have been waterproofed once again. I love these Hygge-days for the comfort of fluffy woolen clothes and the fact I can wear my boots again. I long for some REAL snow because here in the Swiss midlands it is still as green as green can be at the moment. Maybe a visit to the snowy mountains is in order.
Home made soups, casseroles, and fondue
I have discovered soup season again, making turnip, pumpkin, beetroot and other soups. Sometimes the crockpot is used for cooking some bone broth, too. And of course, there’s always chili con carne. I make mine with black beans, and not kidney beans, and usually topped with Edamer cheese. Soups warm a soul like nothing else can on cold rainy nights.
Hot meals together
Now is the time to get together for warm meals with friends and family. It’s time for hot-dish. Where I come from hot-dish is what one calls a casserole in most other parts of the English speaking world. My sons say that hot-dish is just another word for leftovers, and often this is true.
Long ago, in Minnesota, we read our favorite (short) stories together
Why not spend a night with a few friends reading short stories together? I did this once and that wonderful experience has accompanied me for over a quarter of a century. We each read our favorite Christmas story. I suggest you try it for the fun and sharing time. Hygge is meant to be shared with other people,and why not a meal (or cookies and tea/mulled wine) with story telling afterwards?
Whatever you choose to do, if you want to do it the hygge (pronounced “hoo-ge”, I have read) way, you must find a comfy cozy way of doing something that brings you warmth and comfort, and then you share that activity with others. Remember, the coziness is meant to be a communal feeling.
Wishing you many hygge moments this Advent,Christmas and New Year’s season!
ps: for recipes, just write me!