As January trundles on, and we sit in the United States watching and waiting to see how representative democracy will respond to the president inciting an insurrection, I’m doing one thing I can to stay sane: Decorating.
While I have put the Christmas decorations away, the tree remains. With its charming twinkle lights and nostalgic ornaments, it may stay up forever. Maman swears her Christmas tree – decorated according to changing seasons and holidays – will stay up until the pandemic is over, which, at the rate the vaccines are rolling out, may also be forever. Le sigh.
I love to decorating and organizing, and am using January and February (not the kindest of months in Vermont, weather-wise) to channel the Danish affinity for hygge (hoo-gah), or coziness. According to the internet, hygge is “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 Languages).
Hygge embraces soft lights, candles, blankets, natural touches, and comfort food. It’s dark a lot in Denmark in the winter. I get it. I, too, now embrace these comforts during the bleak midwinter, another way to embrace simple pleasures in daily life.
Cuddling by the fire with a cup of hot tea and an eager dachshund is one way to spend a snowy winter evening. . . or morn. . . or mid-afternoon. Working from home on a gray, cold day can feel very isolating, so I’m channeling gratitude for my job, my warm and cozy home, and my wool slippers.
Tips for Making a Hygge Home this Winter
Adapted from “The Hygge Manifesto” in The Little Book of Hygge:
- Light it up! Candles, twinkle lights, soft lighting, a fire.
- Be mindful. Disconnect from social media, take a mental break, and be here now.
- Indulge. Just a little! A piece of chocolate or candy, when savored because you’re not on social media, gives you a lift.
- Be grateful. Channel that attitude of gratitude. It’s not only winter, it’s the dawn of a new age due to the pandemic and political unrest. What are you thankful for?
- Get comfy. Fuzzy socks. Fluffy scarves. Flannel blankets. You get the idea.
- Home is where the heart is. It turns out one way you will for sure neither get nor spread the coronavirus is by staying home as much as possible. Settle in and create your own peaceful sanctuary.
How will you stay cozy this winter?
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À votre santé,
1 thought on “A Cozy Vermont Winter”
I don’t normally put up lights; in a normal year, I’m too busy with choir rehearsals, performances, and parties right after Thanksgiving. I decided this year needed them, though! I have golden branch stakes spaced in between the globe arborvitae in front of the house, and red paper lanterns hanging from our Japanese maple. It’s not a “Christmas” motif, so I can leave them up longer without compunction. It looks more Chinese New Year than anything else, and that’s in February!
They sure are a great antidote to winter, so maybe next year I will put up holiday lights through January 6 (Epiphany, the traditional “end” of Christmas season and start of Carnival) and then replace them with purple, green, and gold ones for Mardi Gras.
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