Blog # 76…December, 2017
In case you haven't noticed, Christmas is coming - that time of merry excesses and jolly anxieties, you know what I'm talking about, we all have them.
I got a wonderful surprise to launch the season from my friend in Helsinki - two books about hygge. Hygge has been in vogue in urban centres like New York and Los Angeles where people yearn to escape from the horrors of the news, fake or real and the stresses of survival in the current climate, threatened in so many ways. And interest is spreading as we all struggle to keep our heads as all around us...you know the rest.
If you’haven't heard of hygge, it's a Danish notion of cosiness, a way to live well, surrounding yourself with soothing things. Denmark, a small nordic country, free from longing to be a world power, has always paid attention to looking after itself and its citizens. Generous social supports, vigorous environmental standards and a sense of the importance of creating conforting and welcoming environments are some indications of where their heads and hearts are...generally speaking anyway.
Hygge reflects this in a number of ways, first and most important is light. Their northern location makes for long dark periods, (that probably has something to do with the craving for cosiness). Homes and public places are lit subtly, with soft shades and lots of candles,delivering light in a warm, relaxing way.
And the food...tasty, beautiful open faced sandwiches called smorrbrod and delicious
almond pastries called weinerbrod (which contain 33% of your daily recommended fat intake, but never mind that)
Physical comfort is reflected in their love of warm socks and comfortable chairs and their consciousness of the importance of quiet moments with a few friends...don't mean to make them out as simple and out-of-touch, or perfect either as individuals or as a nation, they just seem to have some priorities that I like.
In summer hygge takes the form of relating to nature - trees, water, sand. Denmark is a series of small islands and promontories, never far from the sea, so those of us who live far inland may need to work a bit harder at the water part. but we all have nature of some sort and can try to appreciate it when and how we can.
So, as the holidays approach, see if you can find a little hygge for yourself and take it with you into the new year.
And, speaking of unintended consequences, have you noticed the upsurge in the numbers of women running for office in the US mid terms? We're hoping to nudge that surge along here on International Women's Day in March.