Up until the last few years you could definitely describe me as a non-hugger. When I was a department head and mentoring younger members of my department, I'd pass tearful colleagues who needed a hug over to Julie, the lovely lady who sat next to me in the teacher prep room. She was always a great giver of hugs.
Teaching is a stressful job, especially when you're young and unsure of yourself. When a young staff member stood behind my chair and said in a quavering voice, "Suuuu-ue? Can I talk to you for a minute?" ... Julie would quietly pick up her work and move to the big table at the center of the room. Vacating her chair for whomever was in distress, and giving us some privacy. Then after we'd talked the problem through, I'd say, "Do you need a hug?" And Julie would step in. We laughed and called her seat the "crying chair," and her the official hugger. It became a department joke. I'm a pretty good listener, I can read most people pretty well, and I like to think I offered thoughtful solutions to problems. But hugs, hugs were just not my forté.
Actually, my point here is not about hugs. But about hygge. I'll admit I wasn't a born hugger... however, I do think I was born for hygge. I excel at hygge.
|Autumn morning fog on the river|
So, hygge. As a Canadian living in a country with a long, cold, dark winter, what does it mean to me? Hmmm. It might mean sitting around the fire, wearing cosy sweaters and heavy socks, sipping wine, chatting with friends. Or maybe Hubby and I have prepared a candle lit dinner for four, and over the murmur of conversation around the table, we can sometimes hear the wind whipping the snow around outside. Or, muscles tight from a long ski, I might be lounging by the fire in silent contentment with a book in one hand and a cup of tea in the other, while my significant other snoozes on the sofa. Oh, yeah. I was born to hygge.
|We walked by this frozen pond today, but didn't have our skates with us.|
In fact, Hubby's and my relationship started with a whole lot of hygge. We had our first date in mid-December, on our second we went skiing and had a cosy supper at his house. But I wrote all about our early relationship in this post, so I won't bore you with it again. Let's just say that every year the onset of winter, with Christmas approaching, has me all nostalgic.
|Lonely country road in late fall.|
|Time to head home|
So Hubby and I have always been fans of hygge. It's just that for years and years we didn't know that there was such a thing as hygge. And now it's ubiquitous. Everything is about hygge. Or so it seems. In her Guardian article The Hygge Conspiracy Charlotte Higgins examines what she calls a "wildly over-hyped trend" that descended on us in 2016, and prompted "an avalanche of books" to be written analysing the "hygge formula," which Higgins says was largely manufactured by the people who wanted to sell us these books. Or sell us anything, and everything... "from woolly socks and cashmere cardigans to vegan shepherd's pie, yoga retreats, even teeny-tiny festive harnesses for dachshunds." Higgins also looks beyond the rampant consumerism spawned by the trend to what it means in Denmark. Hygge has a darker side, she says. A papering over of troubles, a pulling up the drawbridge against the world kind of side. Have a look at her article for yourself; it's really interesting.
|Hubby has the fire going, must be time for supper.|
We don't really need a book, or an avalanche of books, to tell us how to do that. And we certainly don't need to worry if the socks we lounge in front of the fire in are designer cashmere.
Not that designer cashmere is a bad thing, she said, remembering her new burgundy Akris sweater.
So yeah, hygge and me we go way, way back. Hugs not so much. Oddly enough, over the years, my hug-aversion seems to have fallen by the wayside. I don't know when it happened. Maybe when I turned fifty? But I hug at the drop of a hat now. Funny isn't it?
So how about you folks? Do you live in a place with a long, cold, dark winter? Do you need a hygge?
This week I'm joining Thursday Favourite Things Link Party and #Saturday Share Link-up