shake the wintertime blues: hunker down, cozy up.

January 26, 2015

Sometimes it takes a snowstorm. But it doesn’t have to.

A few weeks ago, this listicle was wending its way around the internet, referencing cultural concepts that exist in places outside the US. Included on the list is the Danish concept of hygge, which for all intents and purposes is the very concept of shaking the wintertime blues. Candlelight? Friends? Hanging out in front of a fire? Hygge.

Of course, in the US we kind of have the concept. Afterall, everyone knows that hunkering down with pillow forts and hot chocolates—or, if you’re the sort, a bottle or two of red wine—makes for merriness in the middle of a wintry day. But pillow-fort builders notwithstanding, I think it’s safe to admit that without even a word to describe the concept, we haven’t fully embraced the notion that cultivating cozy is imperative to getting through winter. Sometimes it feels as though we need a snowstorm to justify a little extra hunkering down and cozying up.

Growing up, I loved storms, mostly because they came with the threat—or hope—of a power outage and day off of school. Surely I’d read too many Laura Ingalls Wilder books, but I was desperate to light candles and watch the snow fall. My parents encouraged the enthusiasm by always making a celebration out of a snow day. On more than one occasion we went for reckless nighttime sledding excursions when there was the promise of canceled school the next day. The point is, a storm meant the opposite of business as usual.

I realize the romance only endures so long and I’m not actually wishing a wintry power outage (or worse) on anyone. But there’s something about the habit-breaking power of a snowstorm that’s worth trying to recreate, historic storm a-brewing or no. It’s so easy to fall into a rut in the wintertime; to lie listless onto the couch, eating bon-bons and dictating which Hulu episodes you next want your husband to cue up. Just me? Well, here’s a little pledge to shake things up. To unplug the computers and banish the phones. To take a nighttime walk in fresh snow. To take a nighttime walk at all! Here’s to lighting candles and pouring tea and generally luxuriating in a little bit of self-imposed wintry quiet.

Happy snow day, friends. Stay safe out there.

Photo from my Instagram feed. Lots more snowy shots from the neighborhood to come, no doubt.

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  • Reply Kristin January 26, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    I love this. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who has fallen into the trap of watching Hulu for an embarrassing amount of time when I get home from work. A walk in the snow followed by hot chocolate and candles sounds like just the thing I need.

  • Reply Kitty January 26, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Stay safe indeed. I have fond memories of wonderful snow days in the UK growing up. We have a night walk here with our Primary School on Wednesday (for the 4/5 year olds), its a walk through the woods at dusk, and back in torches in the dark and was my favourite event with my older daughter. It is the change from the norm, tweaking the routine and going out in the dark that is so magical. Enjoy that night time walk in the snow!

  • Reply Victoria January 26, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    I've been thinking about my favorite ways to get through winter too! I love your twist on it….I had forgotten about the magic of those "school is definitely going to be closed tomorrow" nights! Thanks for reminding me about them and encouraging me to keep that magic alive, even now. 🙂

  • Reply Anonymous January 26, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    I spent 6 months in Denmark and can testify to all the wonderfulness that is hygge!

  • Reply Anna | gone banannas January 26, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    Snow days are just the best 🙂 I am so thankful that my job allows me to work from the comforts of my own home and am thinking about those who have to trek through the snow to get to work. Thank you for the warm snow day wishes!

  • Reply littlehomebyhand January 27, 2015 at 5:08 am

    That sounds wonderful! It's so easy to head straight to the couch after work, I never even thought of taking a nighttime walk! Have a good (and safe) snow day.

  • Reply January 27, 2015 at 11:48 am

    I love this post! You're so right! I have a friend from Denmark and she's talked about hygge a lot!

  • Reply Doe January 27, 2015 at 3:02 pm


  • Reply Abby January 27, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    We went for a wintry walk last night just as the snow was getting started. Practically no one was out, and it felt like we had all of the city to ourselves. Pretty magical =)

  • Reply Jenn January 28, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    love this!

  • Reply Mlle loupiotte January 31, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Thank you for the MNN article!
    Very inspiring 🙂

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