getting my hygge on

This weekend’s snowfall ushered in some capital H- Holiday Hygge.

And I’m loving it!

Which I say with a great dose of gratitude, thankful we’re safe, warm, and healthy. (Not counting that flu.) Yesterday morning the ‘feels like’ temperature was 6°. Every cold day, I say out loud I’m grateful for a warm home.

In 2010, I started a gratitude journal as an experiment, of sorts, while doing trauma recovery for the second time. Before bed, I jotted 3 things I was grateful for and 3 things I did for someone else that day. (The latter carried the most weight for me.) It surprised me how supportive that exercise was. So much so that I continued long after I left therapy. While I don’t keep the journal, formally, anymore, it evolved into saying thanks out loud. Not at bedtime, but whenever it comes to me. Say, for the financial means to turn on the heat. For Troy’s safe travel in the snow last week. For the fantastic faculty and administrators at Audrey’s school. You name it. (And I do! A lot. It’s one of my better habits…)

So when I think about hygge, gratitude…noticing my thanks…sort of completes it, you could say.

Here’s where I’m finding it now:

Last winter, I wrote about some funny places that felt hyggelig to me. One of those was on the light rail as it approached the stop in our old neighborhood, the bright white lights and sound of the automated female voice–whether I was on the train myself or hearing it from our backyard. There was something simultaneously soothing + sterile about that whole thing. (Lucky to have such a clean train!)

Similar to that ‘soothing + sterile’ is the hum and mist of a humidifier next to a bed. (I would feel the same way about a ‘sick tray’ with tissues, tea, and lozenges on it.) Last night, fingers crossed that Elsa’s cough would subside, I filled the humidifier before we settled in to read. (Books…a hygge staple.) When Kat said this was one of her all-time favorite childhood reads, I put it on our list:

Elsa lit up when the narrator mentioned Catalina Island–where we visited with my brother last March. Suddenly she knew exactly where this story takes place!

I’ve started leaving my binoculars on the kitchen counter so I can better see the birds out our window. In addition to cardinals, blue jays, sparrows, and titmice, we now have one adorable black-eyed junco hopping around…so light on the snow.

(That’s an Audubon photo–not mine.)

I knew I’d enjoy backyard birds of the Eastern US. But I hadn’t anticipated the backyard birds of the Eastern US in winter being quite this delightful. Fattened up…in winter plumage…on a backdrop of snow or a bare branch…I’ll drop anything and everything to pick up my binocs.

Our old house did not have a fireplace (though we always had a hunch about one particular wall…there were two chimneys, after all). So we’re all enjoying the clean-simple-gas fireplace we have now. It saw a lot of us this weekend! Linc often lays on the floor in front of it; I worked there on my Whiskey in a Teacup Shawl, and Elsa started a French macarons puzzle (because Dollar Tree doesn’t sell a horse puzzle) with 350 teeny. tiny. pieces.

Typically, I would have nothing, nada, to do with Christmas before Thanksgiving. But…in addition to vitamins and getting outside, I’m also saying Yes…(mostly)…during this darker, colder season.

And a concept called Christmas in the Village? Well. Hard to say No to that.

It was a seriously wintry weekend here, with a tree lighting in the park, light parade down Main Street, craft sale, holiday home tour (proceeds support community projects + organizations), a hot toddy crawl, open galleries, music, and more–despite several inches of snow (and blowing)!

There was lots that inspired over the course of the weekend, but I have to say none more than a pair of sisters and their nativity sets:

Last New Years, one sister sat upright in the middle of the night and felt compelled to create a nativity set out of found objects around her house. Which she did. The very next day. (I can’t remember what she used to create that first one.)

It was just the beginning.

A few days later, she told her sister. And over the course of 11 months, they created 76 nativity sets out of objects around the house, garage, shed, nature, the recycling bin… By the time we left the exhibit, I couldn’t look at anything without seeing Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and the gang. Check this out:

The hyggelig piece here was not just traipsing through the cold and snow to get to the warm gym at the YWCA where the collection was on exhibit. The true piece was in conversation with the sisters, hearing their story, and having such fun seeing ordinary objects in a different light. It was one of those days when it’d have been just as nice to stay home with a pot of soup while the snow fell…but venturing out, saying Yes, meeting interesting people who created something like this? It made returning home to that pot of soup all the more delightful.

Holiday Hygge for sure.

As the days close in on Thanksgiving in the States, is there anything extraordinarily ordinary…otherwise easily overlooked…something that fosters connection and warmth, safety and contentment…that you find yourself saying thank you for? xo
A note to One Worders! November’s link party will open a week from today.

9 thoughts on “getting my hygge on

Add yours

  1. Oh, I love so much in this post. (The something for others list… yeah, harder, but infinitely more fulfilling!) I adore the birding here in the winter. The bare branches make it easier to spot the birds! (And I love watching them gathered around a feeder!)

    I am ever so glad that you and Elsa enjoyed Island of Blue Dolphins!

    But the joy that is a small town holiday is just delightful! (I am glad you are okay safe and warm with all that snowfall!)


  2. Did you get tons of snow there?? I think I read The Island of the Blue Dolphins as an older teen, if it’s the book I’m thinking of, a friend let me borrow it when I was feeling sad and it was a sweet read!


  3. That display of all the nativity sets is such fun! I am glad you didn’t get so much snow that you couldn’t get out to enjoy all the festivities, and I hope Elsa is feeling better this morning. Is your trip down here still on? Let’s touch base on our plan to meet up if so.


  4. This post is full of such lovely things! I am a HUGE Island of the Blue Dolphins fan and love to see you reading it with your daughter. Your fireplace looks delightful – what a place to gather together. And those nativity scenes – so fun!


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