Morning Coffee: Hygge

feetPronounced “hoo-ga” or “hue-gah”, this Danish word has no single definition. It’s not about a thing, but about a feeling, a sense of well-being. It’s about enjoying the simple things in life that make us feel content and it’s a trend taking off world-wide.

Hygge can be a solitary experience, or one shared with friends and family. During these long cold winter months in northern Wisconsin I find hygge in a book with a cup of coffee, tea, cocoa, or a glass of wine. If it’s not too cold, I will enjoy a long walk on the wooded trails behind our house, or snow-shoeing in the woods behind our cabin with my husband. Counted cross-stitch while watching a movie and drinking coffee is a great way to start my day, while a hot bubble bath with candles and soft music is a very relaxing way to end it.

Jig-saw puzzles are a fun winter activity, alone or with friends. This week we hosted our monthly card night. The six of us enjoyed a meal of hot soup and bread, followed by a rousing game of Hand And Foot with wine and chocolates and lots of good-hearted ribbing. New Year’s Eve it was Trivial Pursuit, women against the men. This year we women skunked the men both times! Game nights are a great way to spend an evening with family and friends.

Hygge isn’t just for the winter months. It should be a year-round goal. Once the weather turns nice again I’ll enjoy more frequent walks, many rounds of golf, days spent at the lake boating and picnicking, and even some fishing. The county fair is a great way to relax and have fun. And, of course, a good book is enjoyable any day. But in the summer you’re more likely to find me sitting on the back patio with a cold drink within easy reach.

Hygge isn’t about what you can buy, or one-upping the next guy. It’s about what makes you happy. It’s about sharing a cup of coffee with an old friend while remembering the goofy things you did together as kids. It’s more about jogging for the peace and quiet you feel while doing it, and not about running a race for the blue ribbon at the end. It can be as simple as ditching the bra and too-tight pants for sweats or pajamas at the end of the work day. It can be your feet in a pair of your fuzziest, warmest, socks.

How do you find hygge in your life?

Morning Coffee: Saying Goodbye To Another Holiday Season

winterAnother holiday season has passed and, like so many of you, I’m ready to see it go. If you consider as far back as Halloween, it’s been a little over two months of sweets, parties, family dinners. Add to that the presents that need to be purchased and wrapped and ultimately opened and then put away (if not returned or exchanged), the cards to be addressed and mailed (I make all of mine and write the verse), the decorations inside and out, cookies and special desserts to be baked, candy candy and more candy…well, you see what I mean.

I’m exhausted and I still have to look forward to putting away all the decorations. But we’ll leave that for next week because with all the holiday prep and celebrations, I haven’t written anything new, other than this blog, in a month.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday season. But I can go a long time now without hearing another Christmas song. Not even “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” can raise a smile anymore.

And thank goodness the Christmas cookies and my special double decker peanut butter fudge guaranteed to spike your blood sugar and put your doctor into a panic are almost gone! Now to hide any unopened chocolates I received as gifts until a later date because, while I’ve somehow managed to stay on an even keel with my weight through the holidays it’s time to work at losing a few…actually, more than a few…pounds.

The one downside of the holidays being over is that winter is NOT almost over. Now we enter the three to four months of snow and cold. As I’ve written in past blogs, I am not a winter sport enthusiast. I tried downhill skiing when I was young and foolish and quickly knew it wasn’t for me. I tried cross-country skiing after we moved back to Wisconsin from New York State, even bought the expensive equipment, then injured my tailbone falling on the raised ice track. I kept trying that winter, convinced those who told me in time I’d get the hang of it were right…but I didn’t. Those skis now sit in the basement collecting dust. And forget about ice skating. I’ve never had the ankle strength for balancing on a single blade. That leaves me with bundling up to walk our beautiful wooded trails. Even with the cold, I have to admit the snow-covered trees sparkling in the sun are nice to look at. And snow shoes are actually quite easy to use! If I do fall in those, I don’t flounder in the snow like a fish out of water while trying to regain my footing.

There was a time I didn’t understand why people would go to Florida in the winter. I would miss the snow! That was back when I was a kid. Back when Saturdays and school snow days meant sledding. When it was fun to build snow forts and hold snowball wars. When it was fun to actually lie down in the snow and make angels. When we’d compete to see who could build the best snowman. Now I sit at my computer and stare out the window at all that cold whiteness and listen to the Siren call of the snowbirds as they try to tempt me away. Some year in the maybe not so distant future I will answer that call and head out for at least a month of warm sunshine, sand between my toes, and the sound of gulf waves and palm trees blowing in the breeze to encourage my creative muse. Until then, I remain seated at my computer, staring out at the cold, and telling myself at least the snow looks pretty in the sunshine.