Sunday, December 30, 2018
Sunday Afternoon Tea - From sparkle to hygge
Christmas 2018 is packed away on garage shelves, ready to be brought out again next year. Although, I expect if you follow a more liturgical calendar, you are still in the midst of Christmas celebrations. I usually decorate soon after Thanksgiving, so they have been displayed in all their sparkly glory for about a month.
I must admit that it happens the same way every year. I get the house decorated and I wonder how I could ever live without all that sparkle. I still love everything on Christmas Day but then comes December 26th and I am ready to get back to normal. Every. Single. Year.
I suppose like so many things in this finite world, we can only handle so much sparkle until we step into Eternity. In this world, it has a beginning and an end. Christmas is such a gift, a peek into that time when Heaven touched the Earth and a promise of that day when the sparkle will never end.
Don't get me wrong. Just because I packed the sparkle doesn't mean I give into the darkness of winter. There are numerous lamps and candles in the house. Where Florentine can reach the candles... they are battery operated. My favorite shop that sells primitive decorating items sells very lifelike candles that run for a long time on AA batteries.
I tend to leave the Holidays and enter into the season of... hygge. Pronounced who-ga, which I still find hard to comprehend. But it is true. Obviously, unlike my husband and children, there is no Scandinavian DNA in my genetics (my husband's grandfather and grandmother immigrated from Norway).
I watched a PBS show recently about hygge where they interviewed the man who wrote the original book, Meik Wiking, as well as citizens of Denmark and other Scandinavian countries. I thought it interesting that Wiking, CEO of The Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, said that even after reading about hygge, most people do not understand that it is not something you can buy... it is about warmth, candle light, and relationships.
I understand that my own desire for a cozy winter home is not exactly the same as true hygge. I enjoy reading the books and taking from them what is possible given where I live, circumstances, etc. We all can do something, even if few can do everything... especially if we do not live in Denmark.
As long as I can remember, the cold weather months have featured homemade soups quite often for our main meal of the day. I make more casseroles in cold weather, too. I never got around to cooking for two, instead there are planned leftovers or I freeze part of what is prepared.
I don't have the energy to make bread from scratch these days (and I admit to being jealous of Paul Hollywood's kneading skills!) but thanks to a dear friend, I can now make bread in a bread machine again. The aroma of bread baking... now that to me is a form of hygge. This week I plan to use the dough cycle and make my favorite cinnamon rolls.
Just as the fine citizens of Scandinavia, I must have a nice selection of hot beverages in the winter months. Whether coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or apple cider... nothing to me says comfort like sipping a hot drink or a cold day.
I adore candlelight dinners and stored away are many memories of restaurant meals with friends and family as well as meals in my own home. But that doesn't happen as often these days so instead... candlelight teatime or snacking are enjoyed. Something is far better than nothing and it makes even the simplest of food something special.
In a lot of ways, I practiced hygge before I even heard about it for I don't remember not having a couple throws available near the sofa and love seat, stacks of books and magazines, and usually a cat or two nearby. I think we introverts have long known a thing or two about cozy. ;)
So once the Christmas sparkle is packed away at your house, don't forget it can still be cozy. Even if, for my friends on the other side of the equator, that means lemonade and a swim in the pool!
I'm taking a break from blogging until January 12th, except for a possible book review. I always need this time of rest and reflection... and finally writing thank you notes. May you have a very blessed new year!
Mentioned in this Blog Post
My favorite bread machine/cinnamon roll recipe... here.
The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking... here.
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Image: From Christmas a few years ago.