If you’re reading this within 50 miles of the District, you know… winter is here. Unfortunately, I’m not talking about the ‘Love Actually’/gingerbread-making / oddly-balmy-65-degree days of winter; we have entered the cold, dark days of the season and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Vanilla Ice, in fact, wrote ‘Ice, Ice, Baby’ after a visit to Washington, DC, in Februry.
I really admire the folks that embrace this time of year as a hibernation-like staycation. I’m not in that camp (yet!), so I have to be intentional about enjoying winter days so I'm not holding my breath until June. Enter: the practice of hygge.
Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is the Danish concept that loosely means “cozy,” but has no true, English equivalent. While it is often associated with candles, tea, and/or a pair of thick wool socks, hygge is less of a set of prescribed items and more of a mindset: a feeling of relaxation, comfort, being present, and perhaps a little indulgence.
I love that each person’s definition of hygge is personal to them and it was really fun discovering some of our team members’ hygge practices.
Melissa is the queen of candles. We had a business meeting last Monday at the studio and she had a candle burning on the conference table, which not only smelled divine, but made the meeting a bit more serene. Her current favorite is Apotheke’s Charcoal candle, which we sell in the Shop!
Not surprisingly, Melissa often has candles burning at home, too. To unwind after a busy day, things that are key to her are dimming the lights and using lots and lots of throw blankets while reading on the couch with her daughter, Bea. She also shared, “For dinner, we use cloth napkins and light taper candles on the dinner table; Bea likes to help light the candles. We like to make it feel special, even if we’re just having spaghetti.”
Music is really important to Keira and it also helps create a relaxing and inviting space. She recently finished reading Dave Grohl's autobiography, The Storyteller, so it’s no surprise that when I asked her how she likes to relax, she said “either cozying up to read or listening to some music.”
Chelsea is not naturally a winter-gal either, but she already has her hygge routines down. She likes to light a fire, use aaaall her cozy blankets, make tea, and bake something yummy. She also loves to take the additional time spent indoors to learn something new. This winter she’s learning about landscaping and new types of annual plants and flowers. This has her looking forward to spring when she’ll be gardening in her front yard!
For me, it’s all about cooking comfort food. Sometimes I select recipes just so I can use my dutch oven (does anyone else do this?!). I love to put on a Rosemary Clooney station on Spotify, pour myself a glass of pinot, and stand at the stove and stir something that smells amazing. I’ve been on an Italian kick lately and the last bolognese recipe I followed was 'delizioso'! At the advice of my Italian neighbor, next time I’ll try substituting the white wine for a red wine and will use whole cream in lieu of milk.
When was the last time you felt really relaxed or lost in enjoyment? Can you somehow incorporate that into your day today? What can you do tonight to make dinner 10% more enjoyable for you? Please feel free to share them below!
Wishing you all a warm, cozy, and healthy new year full of your own hygge happiness.