By Sue Murphy
Hygge. Wikipedia says it’s a “Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.” Immediately, “hygge” went to the tippy top of my Christmas list.
As I already put in my request for world peace, I decided any hygge I might experience would be a DIY project. According to the article, I needed candles, blankets and throw pillows, lots of them – basically, a Pottery Barn catalog photo shoot. Easy enough. Click, click, click, credit card (wince). Done. Right now, my coziness and contentment are somewhere on a truck north of Nashville. While I wait, I can prep the other must-haves – soft lighting, warm socks and warm beverages served in teacups with saucers. By the time you read this, I will be up to my neck in hygge paraphernalia. All I’ll have to do is kick back and wait for the coziness and contentment to commence.
It’s the feeling we’re all starved for this year, isn’t it? That moment when you gather yourself in, take a deep breath and feel like, even if things aren’t perfect, from the vantage point of your couch, the world is a warm and welcoming place.
Coziness and contentment sound wonderful, but the chance to once again be convivial with all of my friends would be even better. For this to be a reality, sooner or later, I’ll have to come out from under my hygge and get to work on fixing the world outside my couch. Hygge will feel delicious, but it’s just a ledge where I can stop and catch my breath.
And so, onward! The first task is to gather up a little hope, although, truth be told, I’ve been squirreling away hope all along.
Light, then, and I’m not talking about “lite,” as in non-fat ice cream, because that would send my contentment right out the window. I’m talking about grace-filled illumination, light at the end of the tunnel, light to show me the proper path going forward, little glimmers of God’s hand at work when I look around and say, “Seriously?!?”
I’m going to need some laughter, too. It might sound silly and counterproductive, but I believe laughter has a way of loosening up what binds us to our negativity, and we could all use that.
And then, of course, joy. It’s not a selfish request. There’s no telling how my spirits could be strengthened if I set aside my well-earned fears and allowed myself to be transported by a neighbor’s Christmas lights or a first-grade rendition of “Silent Night.”
With those life-giving elements tucked snugly under my belt, perhaps I’ll be better equipped to rise from my couch and clearly see that any true hygge is dependent on everyone else having hygge. My coziness and contentment are linked to that of everyone around me, even others who are far afield, because just like the six degrees of Kevin Bacon, I am only six degrees from any other person on earth. Some even less. I don’t think the answer is to send everyone a throw pillow, but I might be able to send a little bit of hope, light and laughter out into the cosmos so someone else can experience joy.
I can’t do my annual children’s play this Christmas Eve. First time in 30 years. But I can have a cup of tea. I can put on some warm socks. I can give whatever peace that exists in the air around me a place to settle in. Hygge to you, my friends. Merry Christmas!