"Winter is not a season, it's a celebration."
It's a lovely thought, isn't it, that we should be able to treat winter as a celebration? That, rather than trudge drearily through these dark, cold months, we should instead, have the ability to embrace this solemn stretch with revelry and contentment?
I confess that, while I find the idea of embracing a celebratory attitude towards winter endearing, I'm afraid I haven't ever really been able to appreciate winter as such. While I excel at celebration during the month's of November and December as I prepare for the Christmas season, in truth, I have never truthfully, treasured winter. I have only ever tolerated it. And I can't help but wonder at that. I live in northern Alberta where frigid temperatures during this time of year are the norm. One would think that, at the very least, I should be used to winter by now. But, not so. As the years progress, it seems my husband and I grow more and more tired of the cold and snow. And how very unfortunate for us. Being that we have 4 long months of harsh winter, I feel as though I am wasting a significant amount of my life, longing, wishing for spring to arrive, rather than living fully in the moments I have been given.
Can you relate?
I strongly suspect that I am not alone in my contemplation. Chances are, if you are reading this, you feel much the same way. But, what if I told you that you and I could potentially learn to love winter? Or, at the very least, learn to hate it less? You see, I've recently been introduced to Hygge. Hygge, pronounced "hoo-gah", is a Danish tradition that is gradually permeating it's way into our culture. While there is no direct translation for Hygge in English, the term loosely refers to "creating a warm coziness during the long, cold winter months". But, it is so much more than that. Hygge is an experience; or perhaps, an understanding of the important things and moments, in life. It is an attitude; a feeling of well being. It is the mindset of being truly present in each and every moment.
Oh, how I desire to embrace this kind of Hygge attitude. The attitude of being truly present in the season I am in. To be genuinely present in each and every moment, of each and every day, not just in the ones I deem worthy. While there are times that I am decisively present, it seems those moments are too few, and too far in between. Especially during the bleakness of winter.
Like many people, I find I have the tendency to essentially hibernate during the winter months, almost pulling away from community. How dismal. Because in retrospect, I wonder if there is a better time than winter, to take advantage of the opportunity to cultivate intimacy that each of us so greatly desires. When the days are cold, and the nights are long, we are afforded the unrestrained freedom to surround ourselves with simple comforts and uncomplicated luxury. Think of it; snuggling up by the fire with a cozy blanket, an interesting book, chocolate, and strong, hot coffee. This is an excellent picture of Hygge. But one could, and should, also think of Hygge as a splendid time to practically love on our families; our spouses, our children, our friends. It is the ideal time to revel in hearty, unrestrained laughter and honest, open conversation; to commune with loved ones round a candle lit table, delighting in good food and good wine. It is an excellent time for games and movies, but also for sledding, and winter walks, with the anticipation of rich, hot cocoa and decadent pastries to return home to. Winter is indeed, the perfect time for friendship and intimacy. This is the epitome of Hygge.
It sounds wonderful, doesn't it? It sounds like something to be celebrated, does it not? And don't you think it also sounds attainable? This Hygge feeling of comfort, of well-being, of being truly present, is a practical, reachable goal. It is an attitude of gratitude, that we can begin to put into practice in every moment.
But I will also say this. While Hygge is first and foremost an attitude of well being, it is also an atmosphere. While one cannot create attitude, (it can however, be practiced) we can create an atmosphere that allows each of us to more easily, be present.
So, while I've decided to practice being more intentionally present with the people around me, present in myself, and present with my Creator, I have also decided to strive to create an atmosphere that can best help me, and those around me, achieve that goal.
I find myself looking forward to to these next few months as I begin to work on creating a warm, cozy environment in my home, and in the process, learning to view winter in a new and beautiful way.
In my home, I will strive to create a warm, inviting space for those around me, to dwell.
And in my heart, I will make room for Love to dwell.
If I learn to adopt this attitude, I will have effectively embraced the truth of Hygge, and winter will indeed, become a celebration.
If you'd like to journey with me and explore possibilities for the warm comforts of Hygge in your own home, subscribe to The Barefoot Warrior to stay updated and get each post delivered right to your inbox. I look forward discovering Hygge along with you!
Melinda - The Barefoot Warrior
If you'd like to tour my Hygge home, click the image below!