A Hygge Christmas
Have you ever come across the Danish word ‘Hygge’? Hygge is a description of a feeling and a set of values more than a word that you can easily translate into English.
Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary, as cosy, charming or special. Simple a mood of coziness and comfortable merriment, with feelings of wellness and contentment. The Danish often describe their feeling of Hygge as ‘just enough’, contentment without greed, without excess, something instead that is just enough of what we need.
So why does December make me think of Hygge? Why talk about this now?
In this festive period with Christmas is only a few weeks away, we have started lighting up our houses and living rooms with festive lights and decorations. Unlike the excess of previous Christmases, where there would be the inevitable scramble in the shops for the ‘must have’ toy of the year, and the biggest five bird roast, this year will be different.
2020 has been a sobering year for us all and has made many of us rethink our priorities.
This year we will be grateful for having our family safe, even better if we can see them in real life. Hugging relatives might be the best gift of all, but one we have to wait for Easter (and a vaccine) to receive.
This year’s Christmas is certainly going to be different, but this doesn’t mean it won’t be as good. Sometimes change can bring with it new ways, and help us truly appreciate the real things in life. This can help us strip away being superficial, or showing worth by how much we spend on gifts. These things give us fleeting happiness, but not inner fulfilment.
Christmas might not be what you’re used to this year and we have no influence on this, but let’s focus on what we can influence. Think about the ways we can achieve that feeling of hygge.
Perhaps you can go for a walk and find some holly, or some branches you can use for a festive display; or even without taking anything home, you can walk around the streets admiring the decorations and lights. One of the ‘five ways to wellbeing’ is the idea of ‘taking notice’. This means looking at and appreciating things that are right in front of us. This might be the breath that you blow out in the cold morning air that looks like steam; or it might be the crunch of stepping onto frozen grass.
Reiki shares many characteristics with hygge and with other spiritual and cultural traditions: taking the time to feel and be in your own body; noticing your senses; calmly accepting the energy that flows through you and through every living thing; a cosy feeling of wellness and contentment. This is what I wish for you all during this festive season – may you have your hygge Christmas.