I've never been able to put a label on my personal home style. I like to surround myself and my family with the things that make us feel happy and loved. It wasn't until my oldest child came home from college for a visit that I began to understand what our exact style is. She walked in and said, "man, I love it here. It feels so good." Things that day were as they often are here. There was good music playing, fresh flowers in a vase by the kitchen sink, candles burning all around the house and something yummy simmering on the stove. That's our style. Cozy.
The word 'cozy' has always been an important part of our family's vernacular. When someone here is feeling bad or has had a hard day the cure is usually hot tea, a warm bath, and time spent under a heavy blanket. Whether it's cold and rainy, we are having a movie night, or just spending solitary time reading a good book, we get cozy. Blankets, socks, candles, soup, tea - these are staples. Even when I travel, I bring along my favorite things to make a strange place feel more like home.
A couple of days ago, I was on the amazing Interwebs and I came across a hashtag (or as my hubs says, a pound sign) that was brand new to me. It was #hygge. I searched the new-to-me hashtag and to my amazement, I learned there is a Danish term that describes my style perfectly. Hygge.
Hygge, pronounced HOOGA, can be used as a noun, an adjective, or a verb. This fantastic word was even shortlisted for The Oxford English Dictionary's word of the year for 2016. It's more a feeling than a term. Here's a definition that I really love.
HYGGE (hoo ga) 1. The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open-hearted and alive.; 2. to create well-being, connection and warmth; 3. a feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other; 4. celebrating the everyday.
There's lots of fun reading on then topic as there is apparently much buzz surrounding this movement. I'll give you my version of the essentials in a nutshell right here.
*Lighting - Burn candles, build a fire, keep the lights low and well placed to lend warmth to your home. I personally love to use twinkle lights around my house to add a casual low-key level of cozy to our space.
*Warm drinks - Brew some coffee, tea, hot chocolate or a hot toddy. If you're into those dark heavy beers, go for that.
*Unplug - Put away the electronics and connect with your surroundings and the people you love.
*Pile on the warm layers. Bundle up in your sweater, wool socks and scarf then wrap up in big, heavy old quilt.
*Lovin' from the oven - The act of baking is in and of itself quite comforting to many people. I am one of those. I love to bake. The structure of a recipe, the waiting while it bakes, the having created something yummy for my tribe all bring me much comfort. As for the rest, they get to enjoy the smells, the extra warmth of the oven and, of course, the goodies.
*Music - Our personal taste in music varies around here but I can always count on my friends Brandi Carlisle, Jack Johnson or The Avett Brothers to bring the perfect vibe into the house. I'm betting they all know about hygge.
*Vintage and homemade items - Yes, this is really hygge. The special pieces that we create and collect tell a story. Just passing by a table we made with our family or an old quilt you collected on a trip with your friends reminds us of those special times and ties every day. My son sleeps in a bed at night that his dad and I built together for him. That's about as hyggeligt as you can get.
*Books - Reading has always been an important part of my life and our home is filled with books. Aside from the 'book room' there are stacks here and there piled on dressers and end tables. Taking a book break, no matter the topic, is a great way to bring extra hygge into your day.
*Nature's decor - I try to keep fresh flowers around most of the time. I'm terrible with plants but I've had good luck recently with succulents. Hey, I accept my brownish thumb and I'm proud to have found a plant variety that isn't practically D.O.A. under my care. Go with what works. I have some deer antlers and birch logs I use for decoration on my hearth. The idea, I think, is bringing the outside in when it's too dang cold to actually be outside.
Today, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow predicting six more weeks of winter. Dig out some old treasures that evoke a special memory or feeling. Build a fire and bake some cookies. Treat yourself and your family well. Feather your nest. We could all use a little extra hygge right now.
Until next time, be well, my homies.