Get Your Hygge On This Christmas
I write this blog while listening to the dulcet tones of Sarah Darling, a recent discovery who I happened upon while searching online for ‘Christmas music’. This is top class schmaltz, songs with a super-high score of the goo factor. And surprisingly, I love listening to them.
I did, in a past life, despise the festive season. I hated the highlighting of my broken family, the shared custody of my daughter driving an impossible-to-ignore, painful spanner into all the merry works of December. I hated the fact that I hated myself. I hated the forced enjoyment that screamed out at me from every TV advert, billboard and twinkly shop window from mid-October onwards.
And guess what I did to ‘lift my spirits’? I drank a lot, and steadily grew more morose and bitter about the whole damn thing.
Anyway, then I quit drinking, and over the last seven and a half years have been on something of a personal development mission. I’m not sure exactly when it happened but somewhere along that path, I realised I was happy. Fulfilled. Content. Focused. Mindful.
And those feelings melt perfectly into Christmas. Gone are the deeply felt longings to get out of my head on drugs and drink. Gone are the recriminations and self-pity. Gone is the notion that Christmas is bad.
This year, I am embracing Christmas with every inch of my mind, body and soul.
A few months ago, I became really interested in the Scandinavian notion of ‘hygge’, pronounced ‘Hoo-gah’ (like nougat, with a H), but in our house we say it like ‘Higgy’ because that’s how we first said it and it kind of stuck. Hygge is about light, warmth, cosiness, enveloping yourself in the beauty of snuggliness, against a backdrop of cold, wintry weather. If you’re playing a board game with family or friends in front of a roaring log fire, candles flickering, and with a raging blizzard outside, you’re engaging in a very hygge evening.
Hygge is Christmas. And this year, I’m being as hygge as I can possibly manage. My thinking is basically that December has the propensity to be miserable as hell; it’s cold, you’re skint; it’s dark; the emphasis on family magnifies all that is not perfect in your life. And so you have a choice – dwell on all of that and turn up the gloom to the max… OR! Switch on a thread of fairy lights, spend time with people you love doing things that you love, wrap yourself up in a furry blanket and watch a gorgeous Christmas film, drink hot chocolate (with a spoonful of peanut butter stirred in and a dollop of cream on top for extra hygge points!), and indulge all of your senses to compensate for the cold outside.
I’m focusing on other people this year, really focusing on other people. Reinforcing connections and bonds that might have been damaged or broken at some point in the past, and showering my children, family and friends with as much love as I can. I will be nourishing my body with good food and running in the frosty countryside, soothing my mind with yoga and meditation, and feasting my soul on Christmas music, films and cultural events.
And I cannot wait.