Here in the northern hemisphere, it’s dark time now. Three weeks to the solstice, with lights going up on houses and cars with trees atop showing up in traffic, en route to home and decoration and love.
There is the consumer frenzy of the Overculture, too, of course, but I avoid all that. We no longer give gifts–we have enough things, and when we really need something, we just buy it. We choose instead to have lovely experiences and celebrate a bunch of holiday observances, which are detailed here.
As the skies darken and the days shorten, grow wetter and colder, I find myself drawn more and more towards comfy clothing, sitting in bed when I have the luxury of time, seeking that beautiful demi-sleep, hypnagogic state where you can feel things but still dream lightly.
Where I live, winter is mild. It’s a coastal Mediterranean climate with winter rains and occasional night freezes, but a day that doesn’t get into the 50s (10-15 degrees C) is rare.
But it is dark, and days are short, and the urge to hibernate comes on.
I think the Scandinavians have got this one figured out. The gravitation towards coziness and holing up with friends and wine and books and snacks is a pretty sweet cultural tradition. There is a term, hygge, which is somewhat untranslatable but generally suggests the quality of warm and comfortable domesticity, of safe and secure well-being in the home, alone or with others.
It’s really dark and really cold up there, so I trust them to have found a cultural way to survive all that howling winter.
The longer I live, the more I appreciate the quiet and warm, the opportunity to reflect and observe small things.
I know that for many of us, this is a time of not only busyness, but chaos: children amped on expectation and sugar, and so many obligations to those around us.
But amongst all that, I wish you moments of warmth and sweetness. Of hot, spicy tea and a warm quilt, fluffy socks, the crackle of a fire in the hearth. An engrossing book, the scent of baking.
These are the things of winter comfort.
May your winter days be cozy, friends.