Monday, December 22, 2014

Hygge! & a Christmas Mystery Prize

It's Monday, it's late at night, and this is the very first time I've been able to steel myself away from all the Hygge. Hygge is a Danish word with no English translation, but it means something like 'being warm and cozy inside while outside it is dark.' And it's my very favorite thing in the entire world.
I made it to Vermont after fifteen hours of white-knuckling the steering wheel through a rainstorm which did not let up once between Durham, North Carolina and White River Junction, Vermont.  My route took me through Manhattan, which I did not become aware of until I was crossing the Tappan Zee bridge, listening to the audio version Growing up Duggar because I have a morbid fascination with that bunch, and wondering, "What the hell happened to Pennsylvania?"

Now I understand that the route from Durham to home is quite different than the route from Asheville to home. One includes a lovely glide through Pennsylvania Dutch country, and the other, a miserable crawl through the Bronx at 13 miles an hour.

Once I crossed over into Vermont, the rain turned to ice and coated the empty highway with a slippery gloss, and then my car couldn't make it up my road and we slid backwards, the dog leaping out of her seat and into my lap, coming to a crunching stop against a snowbank. We had to go the rest of the way on foot.

My dad, who had waited up for us, was very agitated because he doesn't like when I drive long distances, and while he waited he'd watched the Wolf of Wall Street which he found very upsetting. In the morning I found out that my car had slid off the road because no one had sanded or plowed the road because two Vermont townships were having a sort of turf war, and the whole thing was a big mess.

But it was worth it for all the Hygge that's been happening since I made it home.
The snow has been coming down for days and the sledding is perfect. David went into town and bought a smooth-bottomed sled called the Easy Glider which can ramp up to terrifying speeds and is impossible to control. My brother in law claims to have broken his neck on it. Dave has an affinity for sledding through the woods, which is actually terribly dangerous. Today while we were out playing in the field, he put his arm around me, surveyed the steep, thickly wooded hill behind our house and said cheerfully, "If I'd grown up here, I definitely would have died."
We've spent these days before Christmas in the woods, in the general store in town choosing buckets of candy for our little cousins' presents, kicking at rat-king-esque piles of snarling corgis when they fight, baking, playing banana grams, and listening to my dad say things like, "It was too easy to find a parking spot, Kid. Small town life is decaying," And "steak houses are a cult, kid," and "life just gets worse and worse, kid. Worse and worse."

But still, such Hygge!
And now if you don't mind, it is cold outside and inside this warmly lit house, there is coziness to attend to. But first! In keeping with our Make More Mail initiative, let's do a giveaway- a Christmas Mystery prize! And if you don't celebrate Christmas, you can call it something else, like a Cozy Fun Pack.
To win, simply leave a comment and tell me what sort of Hygge you're up to this winter.

Are you drinking porter in a ski cabin in the Grand Tetons? Pouring tea in your city apartment? Curling up with a good book under the blanket? Snuggling away with your companion watching a little something on the TV? 

The winner will receive a Vermont themed mystery prize. It may be delicious, it might be fun, it could even be drinkable, it's bound to be rustic, and I promise, it will enhance your Hygge. 

I have a feeling that this week, there will be a smaller group of us writing. The holidays are a festive and busy time. But that's okay. It will be a small group of good friends and I'm happy with that. Small is cozy.

 I hope you are having a very warm and very entertaining time, wherever you are and whatever you're doing! I cannot wait to read about your coziness.  I like you all a lot, have a safe, peaceful and hygge Holiday.

61 comments:

Lauren F. said...

I am unreasonably proud to be the first commenter. I am experiencing hygge in the form of laying in the guest room of my mother's house with my cat and traveling companion (my feline version of home team) expressing her affection by walking slowly up and down on my rib cage and stomach. She's fat so it doesn't feel great but I love her. Happy holidays! P.s. The iPhone refuses to recognize the correct spelling of HT's name (sorry).

DeNae said...

Hygge is my new favorite. I am at the top of a mountain in Colorado, snuggling under a blanket, fire roaring, with Little Women as my companion.

ebeth said...

Awww your pictures are awesome. My Hygge is hands down these rainy Alabama winters spent with the windows cracked for a breath of fresh air while I cuddle up with a book or my Beardman. I really should have been born a cat, and I want to invent the first "CUDDLING IS NOT A CRIME T-shirt :)

So here's to lots of hygge!

Lauren said...

What a fun new word! It will be in the 60s here for Christmas, but Christmas Eve we will be snuggled under blankets in the living room watching polar express for the first time with my two year old...who loves Santa and jingle bells! It will be pure magic!

carolyn said...

Earl Grey, Hot cocoa, wood fires, and dog cuddles have been keeping me warm and cozy in what seems to be a nonstop down pour of rain the last week. I love it❤️

KeelyO said...

It's Christmas residency at our friends' farm in Ohio! The goal: yoga every morning, art projects, practicing french and board games all day, feasting and wine all night!

CB said...

Being half Norwegian, I do a little HYGGE each and every day.
Today, Little Christmas Eve, our hygge is going to be making the last of the cookies, decorating our tree, and taking coffee and cocoa and the Kidlets out of a walk in the "blue hour" (there is an hour in the early afternoon when the sun sets and the air seems blue, almost magical!)
├śnsker alle en hyggelig juletid!
Smiles from Norway!

Rachel Zacher said...

What a wonderful word! Hygge is splendid indeed. I am lucky enough to live a beautiful Colorado ski town. The season of tourists is upon us. My days are filled with skiing, working, and adventures. But each night I return to my small cabin built in the 1800's during the height of mining. I make a fire in my wood stove, have some tea, and the rest falls in place. It might include great friends, crafts, reading, or even writing letters. Although the sun is going down fairly early, it can be pure joy to spend a night cuddled up by the fire.

Aimee said...

Different version of Hygge here, 30 degrees, paddling pools, friends to make up for missing family. Open doors and open pantries as people pass through. Carols sung by little kids on balmy evenings.

Suzie said...

Hygge, such a good word! I'm snuggled under a fluffy blanket with my little boys, with the fire lit & watching 'fireman Sam'! Probably won't mive too far but oh to be in the snow like you. We don't get much snow in England. Have a wonderful Christmas Melina.

Christine said...

Hygge! I am at home in Portland. Dog at my feet. Sewing machine at the table in front if me. Bad Christmas TV in the background. Spending time sewing, baking, crafting and saying prayers for friends and family.

I'm glad you made is safely to your family despite some serious interventions.

Elisa said...

I got a bit lost in thought just now, after reading this. Coming back to the present moment, I found myself mesmerized by the glass angel ornament dangling on the branch next to my chair. This is my Hygge. I'm home with my parents and siblings, recovering from finals and a respiratory illness of some sort. I've been watching An Idiot Abroad on Netflix to ease the fatigue and constant nose blowing. Thankfully, my head has not ached too much, granting me plenty of reading time. I'm half way through Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. Tomorrow is baking day and Wednesday, I have a reading date with my sister at our local Dunn Bros. As much as my soul yearns for travel, I do treasure these 'grounding' times at home.

Jenna Richards said...

Hygge is a great word!

Your photos are awe inspiring. You know, I've never been sledding!

This will be my daughter's first Christmas (she's 8 months old) so it will be all about baby snuggles and family, who haven't seen her since she was just 6 weeks old, making a complete fuss of her.

We'll be in Guernsey in the Channel Islands surrounded by farm land and nothing much else. It's the perfect place for a bit of winter star gazing.

Have a wonderful Christmas, Melina.

Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx

Mrs.T said...

We will be staying in our homwtown (CLE) with our families including my three daughters. Can't wait to see their faces on Christmas morning! Also, my husband has been watching Wolf of Wall Street and I've caught glimpses of it...like WHOA!

Liz Stout said...

The photo of the non-corgi and its paws slays me.

We'll be celebrating on Christmas Eve this year as I plan to patrol on Christmas as I did last year and celebrate with my patrol family (we cook a Xmas dinner on the top of the mtn...on a grill...yes there is a whole turkey). It promises to be a fun holiday.

Jess B said...

We're creating our hygge this season by making the conscious decision to decline a lot of obligations and just stay home more so we can do what we like: read, snuggle, climb and take long walks. Cozy family movie nights where the 4 year old only jumps on our head 5 times is kind of the apex of our hygge. Coziness is next to godliness!

kimalli1 said...

Well, my version is a bit different than yours, but still lovely. It's not cold here in Florida (at the minute) but it is wet and gray. That requires staying inside, baking, snuggling, and reading the best Christmas books we can find. And watching Elf. A MUST! Merry Christmas! :o)

Lisa said...

My family is on our last day in Rome, having a day of rest before we travel again tomorrow- to Zurich, where my Australian born kids will experience snow for the first time! Over the last 2 weeks We have walked miles and miles over this town with our 3yo and 3 mo , so resting and warming inside today feels nice. My husband just came home with tasty chicken gyros for us for lunch, and a yummy little crustless sandwich for the 3yo. One more month of holiday left, which includes returning to St Louis to be with my family, as well as a trip to Disneyland. Life, and Hygge, is good for us these days.

Seeing Each Day said...

Melina, I've looked for your email address but couldn't locate one, simply because I had some questions about where you live and I was too embarrassed to ask them in the comments section! I live in Australia and therefore am looking at your photos and reading your eloquent words with fascination. Love the word hygge, even though I've currently got the air conditioner on due to the heat....so pleased you arrived safely to your parents place. Renee

Erin said...

I just found out that I live in the second most unpredictable city in the U.S. for weather. I didn't need a study to confirm that. It was seriously -20 below a few weeks ago and in the upper 50's just before winter solstice. I have heard there will be snow flakes falling in the next 24-48 hours. If that is true all sorts of hygge will be happening for me. I love watching snow fall from my big picture windows, even better in a cozily decorated holiday house. Failing that there's always hot buttered rum...

Stephanie Abdon said...

My ex just sent me a recipe for maple milk and insisted we make it with our son. Could your surprise help us? Maple is my fave :)

SmithShack71 said...

Hey, the pic of the big dog. Get the fuck outta here with the awesome.

My warm and cozy is typically me curled under a bed of fur. Precisely, three canine fur babies. And if the little dog doesn't growl too much, there could also be a cat or two draped across my head.

I like that word hygge. I dig the fact that there's no translation.

Merry Christmas, woman!

Bekah said...

You know I live in pa Dutch country...buggies and all. And I gotta say, our hygge is a little lacking right now - because all of our snow melted. Our highs are in the 50s. My Florida cousins Are here - the day they left to come we had four inches of perfect packing snow - and now nothing. Just brown! Ah well - it looks like you guys are enjoying it, I'm glad someone will have a white Christmas! Our hygge usually looks like fires and hot chocolate under blankets after sledding, snow boots piled by the door, gloves drying on heaters. Last year I made maple syrup snow candy with the boys (in true Laura Ingalls style) which felt so very cozy and authentic, but I gotta tell ya - it was truly disgusting. We threw it away. I don't know how that relates - but I over share.

Oh! Also I got your card yesterday - thank you :)

Lisa said...

My form of hygge is curling up in front of my space heater, with a small bobtail cat on my lap (she loves me only for my heater), and settling down to read a good book.  Love!

Anonymous said...

My Hygge is spending time with my very special six grandchildren and then every evening having my sleepy time tea to get a restful night's sleep. Most importantly I count my blessings every single day.

adventurekate said...

I'm looking forward to some top-shelf hygge when I go back to the West in early January. One of my favorite places on the planet is Harriman State Park in eastern Idaho. We ski into yurts after sunset, hauling gear and food on sleds behind us, the trail lit only by stars. Once we get the wood-fired stove cranking and tuck into our sleeping bags, I know that I'm exactly where I belong. The following three days will be filled with card games, coffee, food and the people I love the most. The only "interruptions" are much-welcomed skate ski excursions on kilometers of perfectly groomed yet deserted trails. I can't imagine a place in the world that I'd rather be.

Karen said...

Our temperature is dropping and I will be cranking up the heat inside. There will be lots of soft and cozy blankets and enjoying all the homemade goodies I've created. There is pepper jelly, apple jelly, kahlua, and varieties of pickled things. Oh and my favorite new creation spiced apple cider and wine :)

Brenna said...

My hygge is half in front of the fire at my parents' house, knitting, drinking their whisky, and watching Christmas movies. The other half is in my own bed with an elderly cat on my lap, and a kid (or two, or three) snuggled beside me.

Melina said...

@Renee, my email address is thewildercoast@gmail.com and I'd love to hear from you! xox

Erin Macauley said...

I was awake last night, as you posted this. TJ and I had just settled in from our 15 hours of travelling home from Jamaica (yay delays due to unnecessary plane parts!) and I read aloud the passage about Dave sledding through trees. We both giggled for a solid 2 minutes.
My Hygge: returning home with weird sunburn patterns, leftover sand and salt, and four extra pounds. Warm with island memories but happy to have temps in the thirties so I can curl up with my little family in front of the fire and open presents.

Jen said...

This post reminded me of a winter vacation my now-Husband and I too to Stowe years ago. Sledding through the woods was so fun (and scary)!

My Hygge has been snuggling with my husband and dog under an electric blanket, watching Netflix while drinking Hot Toddies. (Well, the dog doesn't drink the hot toddies, but you get the picture).

Jenni said...

Yay for hygge! In my Finish family we have "sisu", which also doesn't have a straight forward translation in to English. It's not as cozy as hygge, but is made up of heavy doses of tenacity, determination and grit.

My hygge right now involves a strong cup of coffee, a colorful scarf and my artificially bright office. It's almost always dark outside this time of year in Western Washington, and this time of morning there's a gray haze that settles around all the cars outside my office window. Some might find it quite gloomy but it feels cozy to me, like the extra layers of cloud are snuggling around us all for the winter.

Amanda Towne said...

Hygge today is taking the form of staying in pajamas and wrapping gifts. It's the first day in WEEKS and WEEKS that I don't have to go anywhere.

Alice said...

As I just had surgery last week, and am having it again next week, my hygge this season is curling up on the couch, fire blazing, animals gathered around, and watching sappy Hallmark movies while drinking hot tea (because with all of these meds I sadly cannot enjoy my favorite seasonal beers).

Amber Jackson said...

Lina! I am glad you are having such a wonderful winter. My Hygge is curled up on the couch near the fireplace looking at a Christmas tree cut from Mount Baker with a boy and brown dog while drinking cocoffee homebrew stout!

Amber Jackson said...

Lina! I am glad you having a wonderful winter. My Hygge this winter will be curled up on the couch next to the fire looking at our tree cut from the woods of Mount Baker, cuddling with a boy and a brown dog while drinking our homebrew cocoffee stout!

Anonymous said...

Hygge is a little different in Florida as compared to Vermont! But it is here!

And I have to share our "Oh, THIS is NYC?" story. We were on our way to Maine and I do the navigation . . . and I was so enthralled with GPS then . . . "Oh, look! I-95 goes straight to Maine!" We were wondering about the traffic and the views . . . then we looked on the overpass above us, and the sign said "Welcome to Manhatten" and it was 5:30 in the afternoon on a Friday.

BeatleJan said...

Christas is being spent this year in a loft apartment in Paris with two of my best friends (25 years ) we have a grand piano, a fireplace and lots and lots of wine and cheese. And... well, Paris!

meg bird said...

"life just gets worse and worse, kid. Worse and worse."

hahaha I think I love your dad.

QueenTage said...

I work nights so I get home just as the light is pink in the sky. I take a quick shower/eat some hot oatmeal and then, oh then, comes my Hygge. I'm naturally chilly and we keep the heater off at night so by this time I'm freezing when I crawl into bed. I tap my husband on the shoulder, he turns over, wraps an arm around me and I melt into that perfect place as the little spoon...like I was molded out of his big spoon. He lets me put my cold toes on his warm legs (I call him my heating pad), kisses the top of my head. I can't think of a better word for that feeling for me than Hygge.

Jill said...

Merry Christmas Melina! Glad you made it safe. Hoo boy, what a trip you had. My Hygge takes the form of reading with my husband under mounds of blankets with the Christmas tree lights on and a cat on my lap. Add in some hot cocoa periodically and you have the perfect recipe for Hygge. :)

TeresaJ said...

I have been crocheting in the evenings and I love it. I decided that each of my 5 sisters, my cute little niece Ainsley, and my momma all needed to open scarves on Christmas morning. So I have been picking colors/patterns to match each sister's personality, and I am so excited to give them to them. I have one more to go. My momma's. And it MUST be perfect. Each of them are packaged up in brown paper giftbags with their names doodled on the front. Sigh. Perfection.

Momma Bee said...

I feel like holding up a glass and cheering "HYGGE!" as one would toast "Salud!" Perhaps I'll toss that in to the Christmas toast this weekend and surprise everyone ;-)

First though, is my own small family's Hygge Christmas. On Christmas Eve we come home from our Friend Christmas and discover a wrapped package under the tree. Santa delivers brand new PJs and a movie, complete with snacks. We snuggle in with all three kids and then put them to bed. Then my husband and I crack open a bottle of wine and sit by the tree wrapping presents (Keeping the bedroom doors closed so we can hear them open and get to them quickly). Christmas morning we are inevitably woken by three shrill voices "HE CAME!!!!" followed by a dog pile on the bed, and the rest of the day stretches into a cacophony of wrapping paper, laughter, exclamations of thanks and exhilaration, and complete relaxation and contentment in the fact that we aren't going anywhere. We're not even allowed to get out of our pajamas! It's my favorite day, followed by days of visiting family out of town for more cheers and, my new holiday word, Hygge!

Merry Christmas to you, Melinda :-)

Sarah said...

Omg, that picture of the dog is the most perfectly hilarious capture ever!! Lol!!

My Hygge stems from just stepping away from my job as an elementary school nurse for the next 12 days while my kids and I get to lounge around in our pajamas and enjoy slowing down and relaxing! The hubs will get a few days off with us, and we can't wait! Our hustle and bustling pace is crazy, and this opportunity to ski together, play games, talk and listen without rushing is such a gift!!

Merry Christmas Lina!!

Megan Marie said...

My Hygge is being finished with finals, watching Christmas movies with my mom and dad, finally getting to work on editing a novel that I wrote...but mostly it's just being surrounded by family this holiday season!

Elizabeth said...

I'm enjoying all new pajamas. I know that sounds basic, but it feels SO luxurious. ::snuggles down in bed:: I sometimes combine them with flannel sheets, a down comforter, tea, and a book, while listening to rain pitter pat on the windows.

Candice Weber said...

My Hygge is our family choosing to stay home so I can recover from surgery and so we can all stay rested & healthy. The merriment includes Pyjama days, lots of tea drinking and enjoying wonderful winter activities like skiing, skating and sledding.

Lis said...

Not having to wake up at the ass crack to drive kiddos to school!

R y Recker said...

This holiday season I'm down in Hueco Tanks texas and while the days are full of sun and it doesnt feel very Christmasy in the southwest...more cuz I'm not used to it, because everyone is trying for the Holiday vibe! However, it gets very Hyggey in the van during the cold desert nights with warm lights in the shape of chillis under a pile of sleeping bags.

Corrie said...

I am in the midst of a overwhlemingly long 7 day stretch of work. Surviving it because in 2 days I get Hygge time...curling up on the couch with the nieces and nephew piled all over me as we read Christmas books and then chase each other around grandma's house. Late night card games with the siblings and siblings in law and baileys-laced hot chocolate. Naps with sleeping babies, silly faces with the 3 year old. It is going to be perfect.

beersincannes said...

We are doing the typical Christmas day thing, staying in our PJ's, reading, watching movies and playing with new toys. We wanted to go skiing but there isn't any snow here in the South of France so it will have to wait...

Prissy said...

It isn't the holidays until you spend the day in your pi's! The shopping, cooking, wrapping, cleaning have been done, and it's time for some hygge here in Atlanta. Having the grandparents here means I get to sleep late and granddaddy will make the fires!

Hope your time in Vermont is very huggey and magical!

Jaime said...

I had major surgery two days ago. While I've been here at the hospital, the weather has been dreary and gray. It only seems fitting, though. I feel like winter has officially begun. I am heading up to my parents house in the mountains as soon as I am released. Hygge seems very fitting for my plans for the next couple of weeks of recovery. I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

jkonway said...

I'm so glad you're home for Christmas with Dave! The description of your winter adventure is enough Hygge alone to warm my fingers and toes.

My version of Hygge is here at this little patrol chateau, with six other patrollers all waiting oh so patiently for snow. We cuddle up on the couch together at night and watch ridiculous TV shows, we get up at 715 and head to work, lately in the rain but today it's snow! I'm not with my family this year but this group is such a loving bunch that it almost makes up for missing out on snuggles from all my nieces and nephews and seeing all that wrapping paper get torn to shreds on Christmas morning. Tomorrow after work we'll all dress up and make a feast together, followed by a white elephant exchange. All the Hygge I could ask for, right under this roof. Oh yeah, and we'll dance. We love to dance.

marinj said...

Love all your pictures! My version of hygge is no work. :) Actually, my holidays will be very low key, hanging out with family, having two long weekends in a row and continuing to settle in to my new house. Pure bliss. :) Merry Christmas to you and your family!

PatsyAnne said...

I had to laugh because you mentioned that on your trip from NC to VT you crossed the Tappenzee Bridge to NYC - well one side of the Tappenzee is NJ and the other side is Westchester County NY - not Manhattan.
Love your pictures - the one with the dogs ahead of you in the snow covered path was absolutely beautiful. Well "kid" - my hygge is to sit in a nice warm living room with a good book, a mug of hot tea and a warm quilt over my lap. Let it snow, let it rain, let the winds blow - we senior citizens redefine winter relaxation as a recliner and warmth. Enjoy your vacation and the seasonal gaity.

Lori Delgado said...

Now that the rush of our two days driving between family gatherings is over, our Hygge can appropriately begin. I plan on some good evenings filling our house with the warmth of family, friends, and good food. And, with our "cold snap" looming, a gentle fire in the wood stove, an extra blanket thrown onto the couch and tucked into beds.

I'm glad you made it, and are relaxing and enjoying family time! Hygge on!

Anonymous said...

Happily Hyyge-ing by watching vintage movies via Christmas tree light. Sipping wine sometime, coffee others. Not a true sit down meal at all... rather snacking to our hearts delight and unfortunately missing me Mum who left us nearly one year ago.
~ from sharinicsevic@att.net

Anonymous said...

OH!! btw - that shot of your lens nearly being face planted by 2 snow-encrusted front paws, on a non-corgi family member... well, it's damn good!! Adore!!

shari
sharinicsevic@att.net

Lindsey and Mike said...

Hyyge today was family breakfast of French toast bake, 4.5 year old intermittently dazzling with her best dance moves, 9 month old banging on her high chair for more scrambled egg. Coffee. Lots of coffee. Perfect Pacific Northwest day-after-Christmas-day:-)

Becky said...

I have been enjoying some much needed hygge after the pleasant madness of the run up to Christmas Day; snoozing on the sofa with the woodburner crackling, the TV murmuring and the children bickering as usual... but without the usual chores to do, work to complete, places to be and things to remember; time seems slower and everything chugs along nicely...