Our Gift to You-Hygge

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Our gift to you is something that you already have. Hyyge. This is a Danish word that almost defies definition. Pronounced “hooga”, it is  as hard to say as to define. Directly translated it might be closest to say that Hyyge means “coziness” or “well-being”. I read a book about this last year, and thought: weird-who doesn’t do this? Who doesn’t enjoy the simple pleasures of friends, family, graciousness, warmth, coziness and the like? Well, the answer is glaring-most of us don’t appreciate what we have, don’t take the time to put on flannel jammies, slip our feet into warm slippers, snuggle on the sofa with our favorite blanket and a warm beverage. And be GRATEFUL.

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Watching our favorite movies together is one manifestation of Hyyge at our house. This is our small shrine to our favorite holiday movie-Christmas Vacation.  We will watch this several times between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. Candles and soft lights are part of our Hyyge. The lights and fires are meant to push back the darkest days of the year, and are a celebration of the lengthening days after the Solstice.

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You can see that things are not perfectly tidy in our den, but we are long on the comfort and coziness.

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The pantry is bulging and besides the usual sweet treats we stock plenty of fresh fruits to keep us healthy.

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There are several hot beverage options at all times. Holiday baking and chores done out in the cold make us grateful for these things.

 

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Mulled wine is a home made treat that we have enjoyed ever since we first tried it in Germany many years ago. We keep some in the crockpot from Solstice through New Year’s. A bottle or two of local wine, a splash of brandy, some orange juice and orange slices, lots of warming herbs: cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and fresh ginger. Mulled wine is the perfect thing to enjoy with a German Stollen and shortbread cookies and of course some lebkuchen.

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Many years ago, when the Piper and I were blessed with two tiny little girls to share Christmas with, we discovered that formal Christmas dinners were just not possible. Thing 1 and Thing 2 would be so excited, they could not sit down to eat. I made a large antipasto platter one Christmas Eve-pictured there in the 30 year old cookbook. I made rolls of sliced smoked turkey, deli roast beef, hard salami, multiple cheeses, pickled beets and green beans, pickles, artichoke hearts, olives,hard boiled eggs, onions and capers. Everything was doused with a light dressing. On Christmas Day we set it on the coffee table along with some pumpernickel bread and crackers. When ever a child danced by they would grab a small bit of something that wasn’t sugared. When ever a tiny girl climbed into a lap to “read” a new book they were handed a roll of meat or a couple cubes of cheese. That is how traditions starts. Now the girls are in their 30s, and if they are home-Christmas dinner is a huge antipasto with as many gourmet items as we can find. The real winner in all of this is Mom-no cooking on the day you were awakened at 4 am, no clean up as we have pretty Christmas PAPER plates.

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We don’t have a lot of sparkly holiday stuff, but we have a small collection of throws, quilts pillows and toys from long ago.

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My corner of the den is overflowing with knitting projects-some that should be finished by now, but aren’t. Knitting is the ultimate in Hygge for me. I am snuggled in my warm den, under my Christmas blanket, wearing snowman socks, with a cat in my lap and a dog at my feet. I am enjoying my skill at making warm wooly items that keep my loved ones wrapped in perpetual hugs.

 

So, our  holiday gift from Out To Pasture is to urge you to sink into the comforts of your home and loved ones. Be grateful for what you have. Light a candle and say a prayer for those who protect you -unseen- 24 hours a day all over the world. Eat something sweet, something spicy and kiss the same way. Try Hygge, you can’t go wrong.

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