I love living in a place with seasons. The fresh buds in spring, the long evenings of summer, the perfect crispness of fall and even the sparkling snow in winter. My issue isn’t with that we have four seasons, my issue is how long winter lasts. For me, a perfect winter would last for the entirety of December. That’s it. Alas, unfortunately here in Southern Ontario winter feels like it lasts from November till April. Some pretty and white, but most cold, slushy, grime covered snowbanks and endless scraping off the car.
Even though we’re at peak fall right now, I’ve been thinking about winter coming lately and luckily I learned a new concept that is going to help me embrace the season a bit better.
I was first introduced to the Danish notion of hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’) while reading a a book called The Danish Way of Parenting . The Danes have long been voted the “happiest people in the world” (by who? I don’t know…) and the authors wanted to examine Danish parenting to see how they raise such children into such happy adults. Hygge best translates into english as ‘coziness.’ The basic idea of hygge is relaxation, togetherness and community. According to the authors one of the key ideas of hygge is to put the mood and wellbeing of the group ahead of that of the individual- focusing on creating a cozy, nice space to be together. Examples of hygge could be wearing wooly socks, drinking tea and having a nice chat with a friend or snuggling under a blanket watching a movie. Brunches and candlelight. Soup and desserts. For us, drinking wine and watching the Raptors game with friends sounds really hyggelit. Sweatpants and hot chocolate.
This togetherness and coziness makes the long dark days and nights of winter seem a little bit more appealing. Candle light does seem to make everything seem a bit enjoyable so I have been trying to remember to light some candles in the evenings. Practicing hygge seems like a lovely challenge this winter. I don’t really need to change much but add a few candles here and there and in the words of a wise woman, put on my perspectacles. I hope to take this lesson from the Danes this winter and shift my thinking about the cold and darkness. I was pretty much sold at sweatpants.