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.

Disclaimer:  Most links to are Associate links.

Image:  From Christmas a few years ago.


Anonymous said...

Reading this is a good reminder for me to get to some work around here! I have loved reading those books about Hygge too!! And little by little hope to incorporate some at least. Seems so many up here in the northern regions of the least where we live, act as if they are indeed affected by the low amount of sunlight. Too bad they must not know about Hygge!!

Anonymous said...

Have already put away the Christmas decorations and put the house back to "normal". Love Christmas but love "normal" also. Soup is in my meal plan for this week..would be good's cold and rainy here in east Texas. Loved your post today and will be missing you while you take a break. Blessings, Sharon D.

mdoe37 said...

I took out the tree yesterday and the outside lights will get unplugged New Years. I need to get some tissue to wrap the fancier ornaments yet.

Nothing wrong with the bread machine! Just dab a little flour on your face and it'll look like you've slaved away! Consider an instant pot too. Amazing gadgets! I blasted three bone in chicken breasts yesterday to meal prep for the week.....12 minutes.

Planning my new year right now with a pot of Pickwick tea.

Terra said...

Brenda, could I coax you to come over to my house to put away all my Christmas decor? I am envious you are already done. I might like to read that book on Hygge, sounds like something we introverts would like.

gracie said...

Yes I understand the "need" to pack it all away. This year I need a real push however to do it. For me, even thought I will pack away the "sparkle" and glitter will be collecting in the vac for weeks to come. It is everywhere.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I love cozy. I’ve long spent the winter with a book, hot tea or hot cocoa, a candle burning....oh and a throw blanket.

I may take the tree down tomorrow, the girls are having their friends over in th evening, but we’ll see.

Anonymous said...

We plan on taking down the tree tomorrow and begin packing away the all Christmas decor, although I like to leave my snow village up for the month of January, just for fun! My daughter gifted me the Bella Grace special Cozy issue for Christmas and it is all about hygge! I Love it!! It’s perfect for this time of the year! I discovered that I already practice hygge in many little ways, but found some other good suggestions. I love hearty soups and stews in the winter, too, and have a few candles here and there and soft Afghans on my couches. And having a fire in our wood stove is always cozy! Our cold, rainy winters in the PNW were made for hygge! However, The Cozy Issue suggests ways to practice hygge even in the summer months! I will need to keep it handy then, too!
Enjoy your break! You will be missed!
Laura C.(WA)

Vee said...

Well Christmas is down in my sister-in-law’s nursing home room. She enjoyed the lights for a while, but is done with it now. She must be like you who can’t handle all that sparkle forever. 😉 I, on the other hand, must be ready for Heaven, if your theory is correct.

This Hygge business is all very interesting. I am not sure that I have it quite right even now. Quite possibly not as, until very recently, I would have pronounced it “Hi, Gee.” What can you expect of one like that?!

Christmas will be up about six weeks here. It comes and goes slowly as I can muster the energy for climbing up and down stairs. A bit here and a bit there it all gets accomplished. Inevitably, the wreaths will be up until March, if it doesn’t snow too much; April, if it does.

Thank you for always putting warmth, coziness, friendship, and faith in the forefront on your blog. Your posts have provided much insight and comfort through the years. Happy blogging break. Feel absolutely free to change your mind. 😁

ellen b. said...

I'm quite ready to put Christmas decorations back in their boxes, too. Love it for the season but am ready for things to be a bit more tidy. :)
I, too, will keep the candles glowing here in the Pacific Northwest!

Mama Squirrel said...

Happy New Year, Brenda! Enjoy your blog break!

Out My window said...

I will have nothing to put away again this year. But I do love putting it out and I love how large and clean everything feels when it is put away. It makes a nice new start for the new year.

Ian's Girl said...

We celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas, so our home remains decorated through January 6th.(And often longer than that!)

I will eventually be ready to pack everything away, but we are just getting started over here. The last few years, we've even spread out our present-opening over the 12 days; it's so much fun having a gift to open each day, and it really extends the season for us.

I decorate so much that I have to start in early November, and I do feel I wring every possible bit of joy out of all the hard work that goes into decorating, baking, etc.

Debi said...

You will be missed, but enjoy your R & R break and I will look forward to your mid-January post!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

I appreciate the pronunciation guide for "hygge" - I was certainly not pronouncing it like that! Who would have guessed (not me, anyhow...) Enjoy your break and may you be refreshed!

Suzan said...

Happy New Year from Australia. I live in the subtropical part of the country and it is warm. Nevertheless this year I have had lots candles and I intend to keep them going for a few more weeks.

We have a tradition of Watching Dinner for One on New Years Eve and it is time.

So Happy New Year and God bless.

Anonymous said...

We are exactly the same: love/enjoy the glowing colored lights and memories from favorite decorations...can't wait to pack it away after The Day.
We used to have a bread machine...hmmm, I think I "loaned" that to my sis about 20 yrs ago. Will have to add one to my amazon wishlist.
I just learned about a fabulous new-to-me hot drink called Korean Citron Tea. It's the fruit of a citron (we apparently don't grow them here in the states) sliced thin and honey. That's all. (The jar I bought from Amazon also has sugar in it.) It looks like marmalade and you scoop out 1T into a cup of hot (or cold) water. Yummm!
I can send you the youtube link if you're curious.
Anyway, enjoy your hygge~
Mary in SD

Anonymous said...

I completely forgot to mention we're having hot soup today, too. Hoppin' John :)
Mary B.

Peggy said...

The streets of gold are too bright for us now, but that won't always be so.

Happy New Year!

moreofhim said...

I totally understand this feeling of needing candlelight, good books and a cozy throw. As an introvert, these are things that comfort and give me joy.

I hope you have a wonderful and joyous new year!

Blessings - Julie