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 . . .