Okay, first a disclaimer: I didn’t sleep last night — at all — babies just being babies. Whoever came up with the phrase “I slept like a baby” clearly didn’t have any. Anyhow, I’m currently at the slap-happy stage of my day and will most likely crash mid-post, so please don’t hold it against me if this is the worst post you’ve ever read, okay?
We are just 2 days away from Christmas — can you believe it? It’s been a challenging Advent, but a fitting one. I’ve actually seen the blessings amidst the chaos and challenges — and I know that is a grace from God. But I’m really ready to leave behind this season of penance (Advent) and move on to the feasting and celebration of Christmas! How about you?
So let’s get Hygge with it, people. You might be wondering what exactly is this thing called “Hygge”? Recently, I stumbled upon the phenomenon and got lost in a cyber world of woolen mittens, nordic prints, roaring fires and steaming cups of coffee. It’s a real thing — and it’s been a thing for years and years in the Nordic tradition, but it’s slowly making it’s way across the ocean to our neck of the woods.
Hygge is a Danish word, but it’s meaning is somewhat elusive. There are entire sites dedicated to sharing the wonders of hygge, so I won’t attempt to fully explain — but in a nutshell, hygge describes a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special.
Whether it’s lingering over a cup of coffee or tea with friends or family, lighting candles at mealtime, intimate chats by a roaring fire, enjoying every last bite of a pastry, sleigh rides under thick woolen blankets, or hiding away in a snow-covered cabin — whatever creates a cosy, happy, and secure environment filled with simple things shared with people who are special to you — this encapsulates the meaning of the word hygge.
As I perused Pinterest-worthy images of hygge, my American upbringing made me want to pronounce the word like “higgy” (rhymes with Jiggy), and I immediately found myself reminiscing about simpler days when Will Smith was considered a singer and he put out the fine gem of a song, “Get Jiggy With It”.
It’s no masterpiece of a song, so probably not worth the listen, but if you’re curiosity has got the better of you, I present to you, “Let’s Get Jiggy Wit It”. I have absolutely no idea what he is singing, but maybe that’s better. Time for another disclaimer: This song does not necessarily reflect the views of the Catholic Church, Modern Catholic Mom, or anybody who didn’t grow up in the early 90’s. Okay then.
Actually this song has little to do with this post, except to provide an overly detailed explanation for the name. So I apologize if you were expecting words of wisdom from Will Smith. 🙁
In fact, the Danish word hygge and Will Smith’s “Getting Jiggy Wit It” might actually be polar opposites of each other — unless you feel cosy, warm, and secure when you are listening to it — which I kind of do. 🙁
The truth be told, Hygge is actually pronounced like “hue-gah”, but I’m sticking with hygge-rhymes-with-jiggy or else my post title doesn’t make any sense. So let’s get “Hygge with it”, people.
So, I present to you 7 Simple Ways to Get Hygge With It and Invite Others to Join In:
1.Make a Fire
Outdoor or indoor — it doesn’t really matter. Just enjoy time spent by the fire with people you love — what better way to spend an evening than laughter and drinks by the fire. Maybe make some mulled wine or spike some eggnog to bring it up a notch.
We actually have some peat from Ireland, so we might be adding a touch of the old sod to our fires this Christmas Season. We’ll raise a glass to the saints who have gone before us — Erin Go Bragh!
2. Really Do It Up for Christmas, Even If It’s Just Your Immediate Family
Listen, I know that doing dishes is probably not your favorite thing to do — or maybe it is — but it’s definitely not mine. But Christmas is the time to get out the good stuff — your wedding china, silverware, maybe even cloth napkins — go crazy. It’s Christmas, and it’s nice to put a little more effort into preparing a table for yourself, your family, and your guests.
You can even get the kids outside gathering pine cones or branches for natural decor — and hey, it keeps them out of your hair for a while too — win, win!
3. Try Out Some Simple Recipes for Mulled Wine, Hot Cider or Festive Drinks
Okay, it’s the little details that can really make a gathering special. Pretty drinks and a few hors d’oeuvres are all you need to prepare for a truly fun gathering. Again, this isn’t an everyday occurrence for most of us, but this might actually be the time when Pinterest helps to bring a little joy to your life, rather than make you feel like a big, fat slacker! 🙁
4. Time to Carb Load!
I try to eat healthy, but Christmas is the time to have a few desserts — or pancakes — or whatever else you typically try to avoid. We’re Catholic. We fast and we feast — fasting is more meaningful when you feast on occasion and feasting is more meaningful when you fast on occasion. They both have a very important place in the lives of Catholics — so time to plunge into that stack of pancakes.
Christmas morning for us has always been homemade crepes with Nutella and fresh whipped cream. Yum! Looking forward to it!
4. Go On A Winter Excursion With People You Love
Pack up the snow clothes and go off for some skiing, sledding, ice skating — whatever — just make sure you bring along the people you love and you’re bound to make some beautiful memories!
5. Make Time To Thank God for His Beauty and His Lavish Graces — Because Lord knows, We Don’t Deserve It!
Okay, here’s a little check-in. I managed to get my 30 minutes of Adoration every week of Advent — there were times that it was very hard for me and I almost convinced myself that I was just too busy. But I thought about you all and the commitment I made on this blog, and it gave me that extra push to make it happen. So thanks for reading and for being a part of my sloppy efforts at being Catholic — I really appreciate it!
Let’s keep moving forward in these last few days — even if it’s a crawl — especially then, because perhaps a crawl is more appropriate when welcoming a Baby into your hearts.
6. Try Giving Out Hugs That Mean Something
If you’re anything like me — an introvert who loves to live in her own world and is sometimes touched-out by the end of the day — this one might be hard for you. But let’s do this one together — let’s try to give people hugs that last a little longer than we’re comfortable with, shall we?
You know, there was a point in my life when I was cool and I used to kiss people on both cheeks — and sometimes I’d even go back to that original cheek for that extra added flair — but that time is long gone. In my defense, I did hang out with more Europeans and studied abroad — so that might explain it. But I have lost that cool factor. I am no longer Euro-chic — I’m more like country bumpkin. 🙁
I won’t ever be cool enough to do the triple kiss again, but I can give a good-old-fashioned hug to people I love — and put some meaning behind it! It is said that the English word “hug” comes from the Danish hygge so let’s go out and hug some people this Christmas Season!
You extroverts have no problem with this mission and, in fact, just might have to give us poor introverts a pass at a big, sloppy kiss. It just might be too much for us to bear. 🙁
7. Let’s Reach Out to Those Who Are Alone
After all, what good is recognizing the Light of the World, if we’re not willing to share it with others? Even being a person of faith can be a selfish act if we refuse to share it — and thinking about ways to share God’s love in simple, non-confrontational ways, just might be the most effective use of secular culture we have available at this time of year.
Trying to bring a little Hygge to your home and then welcoming people into your home and your life could be a bridge for people to encounter God’s Love and Light. We’re not supposed to hide ourselves and our families away, waiting for the second coming. We’re supposed to love and share and console and maybe even serve out a little bit of cheerfulness in an often dark world.
The Danish concept of Hygge doesn’t necessarily involve God, but ours could and should! St. Teresa of Avila once said, “From sour-faced saints, good Lord, deliver us.” In other words, you’re not doing the world any good by being an uptight, crabby, scrooge of a Catholic.
Honestly, sometimes we need to be little more merciful with ourselves and our own shortcomings, before we can be merciful with others. So maybe we need to examine ways to ease up and allow God to do the transformation in our lives — we can’t do it on our own. We need Him to save us, and recognizing that helps us to be a little less harsh with the ourselves and the people around us.
Let’s allow God’s love to transform us — slowly, over time — into the amazing men and women He has in mind. Let’s reach out to those who are lost and alone and help them to find their way back Home again. Let’s do our part.
That’s all I got. It has been so busy with year end business planning that my writing has taken a back seat. I’ll be back with some fun stories in the New Year. I’ll be taking some time to focus on family and friends in this next week. So Happy Christmas and see you in the New Year! Time to get hygge with it!
Linking up with Kelly.