I started my day texting some friends who have kept me company during this COVID-19 quarantine. Virtual company, of course. Before we dig into a long overdue Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa or whatever you’re celebrating), take a peek at the SNL video I sent. It’s good for a laugh or two. I’ll wait.
Good stuff, right? Do you see yourself in there? I bet you do, somewhere.
Grab your cuppa’ and let’s dig in, friend. It’s been too long since we’ve caught up properly. The holidays will be upon us before we know it.
Feeling a little sleepy? No worries. Sip away and I’ll start.
Hygge in your habitat
Let’s start where the comfort is, shall we? Hygge (pronounced hyooguh) is a Danish word denoting coziness and simple comforts. It’s been increasingly popular the past several years, with multiple books published on how to create it in your home.
While I’m all for creature comforts, I barely gave hygge a nod over the past several years. I was busy. Very busy.
And then came 2020. Hello, hygge.
This holiday season, I seem to be scrutinizing everything with new eyes. Instead of the traditional Christmas tree decorations, music and treats bringing me joy, I’m feeling the irresistible urge to create a new experience.
Fortunately for my family (and unfortunately for my pocketbook), this is translating to a new color palette and look for my Christmas tree (not done yet or I’d share!), new treats for my boys to sample, and a new soundtrack as I decorate.
But it’s not just Christmas that’s bringing the urge to relook at my environment. It’s a year of being in that environment more so than ever. I’ve slowed down enough to notice the little things.
The heft and shape of my coffee mug, for instance. As I wrap my hands around it, it’s the perfect shape, weight and size. It feels right as I lift it to my lips and take the first sip. And it helps me feel good that by buying it, I’m supporting a small business on the East coast of the United States that has been hit hard by the pandemic, as have so many others.
I have a favorite collared shirt. It doesn’t need ironing and it fits just right under a sweater. I’ve ordered it in multiple colors now, clearing the wannabes out of my closet.
And as we share this coffee, a woman in the Ukraine is knitting me a new tree skirt. If it’s anything like the picture, it’ll be absolutely gorgeous under my tree. I love knowing that Anna, in another corner of the world, is helping me out with my hygge. I do believe my European friends are so much better at hygge than we are here in the States.
And let’s not forget, masks matter. As in wearing them, of course, but also how they feel. How well we can breathe in them. Find yourselves some good ones, friends, while we’re still in mask territory. And, as a friend reminded me of late, take a pic of yourself in your mask. When the kids or grandkids ask about the pandemic of 2020, you can pull it out for posterity as you tell tales by the fire.
Just the right thing at just the right time
My word for 2020, chosen long before we knew a pandemic was afoot, was “Now”. As in right now, in this very moment. It was a reminder to myself not to spend so much time in the uncertain future, a place my active brain likes to go. And then it likes to worry and play out all possible scenarios. It’s exhausting having my brain. Really.
So this year, I chose a word to remind me that the closest I get to divinity is in this eternal moment. Nowhere else. How fitting in a year where so many of us have had to be in the ever-lovin’ present more than ever.
So here’s where the magic has happened: by releasing all the energy I used to spend in moments that haven’t even happened yet, I seemed to change my present energy for the better. I am less exhausted. And beyond that, just the right thing/person/experience is showing up in my life at just the right time with little to no effort on my part. I’m not saying I’ve won the lottery, folks (but damn, I’d be a great Lady Who Lunches if I did). But as I let go of what doesn’t work, what does work comes along. From job opportunities, to clients, to friendships, to creative pursuits, life is serving up some really nice things on a silver platter.
My wish for you
I’ve monopolized this conversation so please do me the honor of a few tidbits from you in the comments. I always love to hear from you. But before we go . . .
I’m going to shamelessly steal from author Neil Gaiman here, while giving him credit. Roughly two decades ago, he wrote:
“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”
Isn’t that gorgeous, friends? I’m working on the kiss from someone who thinks I’m wonderful (Well, in a manner of speaking. I’m not dating during a pandemic. Even though it appears Satan is. But I’m holding out for the wonderful kiss from a wonderful man.).
And the writing. I need to revisit my book. I know, I know. Don’t scold me.
The fine books to read are a slam dunk, after all. (Speaking of which, have you read Circe yet? Madeline Miller can make you love mythology even if you’ve always hated it.) And the link to that book is a link to a site where you can order books online from one of your local bookshops. I’m trying to support mine during these tough times.
Neil’s journal can be found here if you want more inspiration. We could all use it at the end of a tough year, right?
Whatever holiday you’re celebrating and whomever you’re celebrating it with, I wish you much love and laughter—and hygge. Even if you’re alone—especially if you’re alone—hygge is not out of reach.
Be good to yourselves this holiday season, friends. Even for those of us staying firmly in the present moment, 2021 can’t come fast enough . . .
44 Comments Add yours
I am letting go of what depletes and holding tight to what brings renewal. My favorite tradition is unwrapping the ornaments and decorating the tree. From the time of our birth, my mother got us yearly ornaments that reflected the truly impactful/memorable of that particular year. When we each married, she gave us beautiful boxes, with our ornaments inside, and the detailed backstory of each one. Every Christmas, I get to relive both the life-giving and heartrending moments that made me, Me. I look forward to that more than I can express and have continued on that tradition for my 4-year old son, as well. 2020 has led me to reevaluate what serves the soul and what doesn’t. I am grateful to this year for that permission—permission I was unable to extend myself in years past.
Oh, Dani. Our mothers must’ve been soul sisters. My mother did the same thing. And I did the same thing – and continue to do so – for my boys in terms of ornaments. The tree becomes a wonderful story instead of just pretty decoration. I love that you are letting go of what to pleats. It is sometimes so hard to do that when you’re not sure what brings renewal. But it’s so necessary. And I hope many people had the same reaction to 2020 that you did – reevaluating what serves their soul. I don’t think we should leave this year and go back to things as they used to be. I think we should be wiser.
How wonderful your mother did the same and you continued on the tradition for your boys! And I completely agree on not going back to the way things were. Part and parcel of one’s personhood is emotional recalibration and growth. If this heartrending year hasn’t been an trumpeting impetus for that, I don’t know what could be ⭐️
I always love your posts so much! I’m hoping my word for 2021 will be Retirement, but nothing is ever certain! And I have a new book coming out next year, so maybe Success is a good word too:-)
Wow! Sounds like an incredible 2021 on tap for you! I bet you can’t wait to ring in the new year. 🍾 🎉
Hi. Being open and content in the present moment is where it’s at, not that I’m all that great at it. Speaking of coffee mugs: Every morning I have coffee in a mug that has old houses and the words Martha’s Vineyard painted on it. My wife and I bought it 26 years ago on our honeymoon, which was on MV.
Oh, I love that coffee mug story! The fact that you have not broken it in 26 years is absolutely amazing to me. And that it has survived any moves, etc. The mug I talked about in the blog comes from a coffee bean roaster on the Cape :-). Their coffee is pretty darn good if you want to give it a try. Seems apropos given where your mug is from.
Hi. My wife and I love Cape Cod. We go there most years. Which coffee company is it? Thanks.
Beanstock. I had it for breakfast at a little diner on the main drag. And just had to re-create it when we got home from vacation :-).
How come I am always banned from seeing good videos?! YouTube doesn’t like us Canadians to have access for some weird reason! 🤷🏻♀️ I love this post, Kristine. Like, a whole lot. It’s a strange Christmas season this year, and none of the old traditions feel right to me. So I bought a tiny Grinch Christmas tree with one ball and plopped it by my window. It makes me smile every time I look at it. I also find it oddly comforting. It’s sad and weird but also unique and perfect and beautiful. It fits. Oh, and I might get myself a new mug – I like that idea. Thanks for the lovely and heartwarming post. I wish you and your family only magic and joy and love this holiday season and a whole lot of hygge. Take real good care.
Dale, One of your fellow Canadians, had the same issue in viewing the video. I had no idea that there was an issue with YouTube in Canada! Google SNL “The Christmas Conversation” to view that video. Seriously, it’s worth it. You will laugh. And I’m so glad you got yourself a tiny little Christmas tree. I am laughing at the one ball. But you’re right. Seems like an apropos tree for 2020. And I hope you do get yourself a new mug. After all, we start our day with coffee. It feels like we should also be using that ritual to bring a little beauty and comfort into our day. Hope your holiday is hygge-full to the very brim!
I just watched the video 😂 Thanks for helping me begin my day with a laugh! Amazing. Hahaha
Ah, nice thoughts Kristine. (But a tree skirt, what??) But happily I’m in a position to ignore the whole Christmas thing and treat the holiday period – as near as possible – the same as every other day. I do like my long run on Christmas Day when I have the whole island to myself, or that’s how it seems.
Nevertheless I’m no humbug so I wish you and yours the happiest and hygge-iest time Kristine. But please finish your book as well.
😂 I’m betting that you know what a tree skirt is but that you just call it something different in your corner of the world. It’s the round piece of cloth that goes at the base of the Christmas tree. Where you put your presents etc. I bet your run on Christmas day is magical. Especially with the sights you get to see on your island. I hope this year it’s a long and lovely one for you, Roy. And yes, I really do need to hit the book. I don’t know why I’m feeling so uninspired at the moment.
Sorry I meant 2020 and perhaps your word for 2021 is magic? 🧚🏼♀️
No word for 2021 yet! I like to say that the word generally picks me rather than the other way around. It comes to me. But it hasn’t yet :-). Do you have one for 2021?
I don’t know if I have it yet either? but I do know that 2021 is about our throat chakra, so maybe ‘express’ is a good word to remind me to be authentic, speak my truth and be seen fully in this crazy world! 💚
Love your word for 2021. There is no where else to be 💕👏
Make the most of what we have, Kay. Happy Holidays to you, my longtime WP friend.
Happy Holidays, Mark! Hope your hygge is high😀.
Lovely. And yes, some different choices this Christmas. In our family, we are choosing items from Black and Indigenous creators/businesses, buying more North American-made items and seem to be sending more Christmas cards too. We are also thinking of simple things that we can do to brighten up Christmas for elderly relatives and friends.
Oh, that warms my heart, Cynthia. Especially the bit about elderly relatives and friends. I think this is a particularly hard season for them with the isolation. And I love that you are choosing items from Black and Indigenous creators. I bought some masks at the beginning of the pandemic from a Black female business owner. And I never fail to get comments on them. They’re really unique. I think I saw that Oprah made her list of favorite things from small, Black-owned businesses. Am I right?
I didn’t know about Oprah. I will check!
I love my mostly cozy apartment but have been missing some hygge (comfy). 10 weeks ago I ordered a very pretty, feminine-ish recliner chair. Got the call that it came in on Saturday and having it delivered next Friday. It was a little pricey but considering all the travel I did NOT do this year, I gave myself permission to make my cozy apartment even cozier. Other than that, i am mostly in pretty good shape.
I love that, Faith! I’ve been contemplating a zero gravity reading chair—talk about comfy—but also really pricey. I’m sure that chair will be well worth the price as you use it this winter. I hope you smile every time you sit in it to read. 📚 🫖
Thanks for the heartwarming post Cristine. It sounds like you’re in a pretty good place, other than no kissing! I love the quote by Neil and will put the kissing on my hygge list. I’ve been learning to find the beauty and joy in ordinary life. Adding more hygge/comfort sounds like the perfect extension of that practice. To a year of health and hygge…
I think “I will put the kissing on my hygge list” is my favorite part of your response😂😀. Sure. Why not, right? It beats great coffee mugs and tree bows. I’m glad you’re learning to find beauty and joy in the little things. I think that’s the secret to joy. Small moments sans expectation. And then, poof! There it is.
Agreed Kristine. Sorry for the misspelling before. Happy Hygge! 😳
Loved this post, Kristine. The Satin video was outstanding. Wishing you a very happy holiday.
Isn’t it funny, John? And so apropos for 2020. Happy holidays to you and yours!
Thanks for the uplifting post! I went through a similar experience in the summer. I ordered new curtains and a rug for the living room, new blinds for the bedroom. I found a perfect second-hand couch and a chair for the “man cave” and took up gardening. Say what? All that to say that working from home had me seeing my environment with fresh eyes and also gave me some added time to do something about it! Silver linings, right? Stay well.
Phew! That’s a lot for one season. But it sounds absolutely lovely. And I’m sure you are doubly happy now that we are all spending so much more time indoors.
OK, I have been pining for just the right book to read and Circe seems like it might fit the bill. Just sent a sample to my ipad. Love your now word, and your talk of magic. Just heard someone else mention magic and started thinking about it not a half hour ago. And did you make the tree out of coffee beans?? So cool!
I hope you love Circe as much as I did! Madeline Miller is such a great storyteller. And the coffee beans were not me—but love it also😀🎄. Sounds like the Universe wants you to contemplate the divine magic headed your way. Love that!
Synchronistic magic indeed!
Love this! Hygge is a concept I can totally wrap my self around.
I can’t watch the first video – gimme a hint so I can find a Canada-friendly one?
Loved the Satan-Match! Hilarious.
The end of this stupid-crazy year is lovely for me as I started a new job (last week of November) and things are looking up. Kissing will have to wait, too. Sigh.
So, I have to add Circe to my two-mile list? Gotcha. Love the Gaiman quote. I think I’m going to print it out!
Happiest of holidays to you and your boys, Kristine! xoxo
New job?! Do tell. And I hear you on kissing ban and the two-mile book list😀. Print that Gaiman quote out so your subconscious gets to work on it! You deserve all that and more this holiday, Dale💕.
Yes. Back in an office and glad of it. I was bored to tears with a data entry job I was doing from home. I was slowly going brain-dead so I applied with this company and went through all the hoops with success. It’s an administrative position and the vibe in the office is fantabulous. If all goes well, I can see myself sticking it out till I retire in 9 years if life is good.
I am definitely printing it out!
You deserve all that and more as well, Kristine! 💕
Oh, so glad to hear it, Dale! Finding the right environment is so key. Glad you have!
Yes, it is. I am rather pleased! 🙂
We haven’t had a change in decor here, just putting up the decorations early. In fact, I’ve changed very little this year, but it has like you, made me live more in the now. Something I tried to do anyway, but there’s been no counting down of weeks until holidays or other special occasions as there once would have been. Uncertainty can be hard, but being unable to plan can also be freeing.
Freeing indeed! I feel that I am better able to focus with fewer things competing for my attention. We are usually going at 100 mph and while I still try to slow down at the holidays every year, I’m not always very successful. This year, I guess I’ll have to be. I love that you’re putting the decorations up early. Most people here we’re already decorating the week before Thanksgiving. I think everyone needed a little bit of holiday early on this year.