There are still colourful leaves decorating the trees like jewels though and Christmas is coming.
But it isn’t the Christmas season yet and the world is divided between those who decide to put up their tree and buy their presents very early while others force themselves to wait till close to Christmas. It’s easy to see why everyone jumps the polar express early. For one, the shops and TV ads have been at it since October but also because Christmas means warmth, and love, and families, and everyone coming together and eating good food. As I resist the temptation to put up my tree early, I think Hygge will become even more important.
Which brings us to the Hygge manifesto. It is found in chapter two of The Little Book of Hygge, which is entitled, ‘We Need to Talk About Hygge’.
Well let’s talk about it, and oh there is so much to learn and so many words to mispronounce. But the author, Meik Wiking, acknowledges this. In fact, he says, “To foreigners, Danish sounds like someone speaking German with a hot potato in their mouth,” which, I suppose, is another way of saying, if a German were to eat a hot potato, they would sound Danish. I wonder what they sound like when eating cold potatoes. Crisps anyone?
Well the word ‘hygge’, which I mispronounce everytime I write it down, should be pronounced, “Huega” or at least that is as close as I can get to the phonetic description we are given. You might need to say it 30 times before it sticks and even then I can’t guarantee anything.
Don’t worry, though. Meik Wiking assures us that in the end it’s not the name that is important, it’s the being. Which feels like the perfect segway to the hygge manifesto.
The manifesto is 10-fold and a series of bullet points, rather than whole clauses.
“Atmosphere, turn down the lights.” That’s where the lighting comes in from last week. It’s time to get out those candles and string up some fairy lights, (a cost effective but still completely hygge solution to the expensive lamp suggestions Meik Wiking suggests.)
“Presence, be here now, turn off your phone.” As someone who is pretty good at putting their phone down and forgetting about it (apologies to all those whose messages I miss) this one shouldn’t be too hard. But I suppose I’ll have to make this a conscious decision and perhaps there is power in that.
“Pleasure, coffee, chocolate, cookies, cakes, candy.” Gimmee! Gimmee! Gimmee!
This is what my mind says on a number of days. Does this mean I don’t have to ignore it during the winter months? It’s probably best if I don’t, the last thing I need is a constant stream of chocolate but maybe I’ll give in a little more.
“Equality, ‘we’ over ‘me.’ Share the tasks and the airtime.” I am not entirely sure what is meant by airtime. But I will happily share any tasks. Sharing is caring, right?
“Gratitude, take it in, this might be as good as it gets.” The final clause of that sentence is a little jarring at first. But gratitude sounds good. As any 20-something running around trying to get my life together I am constantly comparing myself and my place in life to others. Slowing down and actually appreciating what I have around me sounds like something I should really do.
“Harmony, it’s not a competition. We already like you. There’s no need to brag about your achievements.” I am British so it is illegal for me to brag. Not only illegal it’s just simply not part of my DNA. Please don’t ask me what my achievements are. I need at least three to five working days to figure them out. But it is nice that another part of hygge is just accepting everyone at face value.
“Comfort, get comfy. Take a break. It’s all about relaxation.” That’s the beauty of autumn and winter, isn’t it? Both seasons are an invitation to slow down, to hibernate while staying awake. During the summer we are busy running from one place to another. In winter we can sink into a relaxing routine. As someone who is notorious for being endlessly busy, this is a much needed reminder. Get ready for a well rested version of myself. And maybe one who gets enough sleep!
“Truce, no drama. Let’s discuss politics another day.” This one is going to be a little harder. I work in a newsroom after all and then, of course, there is the British election coming up and Brexit looming on the horizon. If Brexit ever happens, that is. Perhaps I need to create Brexit free zones in my home. “in this room Brexit is not to be discussed.”
“Togetherness, build relationships and narratives. Do you remember that time we…?” As a Brit I am somewhat against adding ‘ness’ onto the ends of words. I am too cynical for that, it’s something an American would do. But I am all for reminiscing. I suppose that means I need to invite friends over to reminisce with.
“Shelter, this is your tribe. This is a place of peace and security.” This is the final piece of advice in the manifesto. At this point it feels important to mention that hygge is often a shared activity, one that encourages closeness and deep familiarity.
So I hope my close friends are ready because it looks like they are about to be pulled into this hygge journey too.