If I had to name my spirit animal it would probably be one of those lab monkeys that presses the pleasure button to the exclusion of all other life functions. I live for good food. When I hear a song I like, I feel like I'm on a really fun carnival ride. Simply going out with a few good friends stimulates my pleasure centers in the way I predict being hooked up to electrodes would. This appreciation for the beauty of every day enjoyments is Hygge - one of those wonderful untranslatable concepts they have in other cultures, in this case Denmark.
It's a concept that we ruggedly independent Americans could take a cue from as fall gets its foothold this year. Hygge (pronounced HUE-gah) is anything that creates a sense of welcoming, community, comfort or coziness during the winter months. It's making your living space livable and inviting, creating a place where you can take solace against the harshness of winter. A place where you can spend time with friends and reestablish a social atmosphere that is casual and easy in the summer months.
Scandinavians have notoriously long and dark winters and have built into their culture a way of combating the blues that come with the cold. And it shouldn't be an unattainable thing. A candle or a few pillows in your living space, string lights, a craft night where each person brings a little snack or a low key dinner party, wool socks, sweat pants and a cup of tea, whatever makes you feel warm and fuzzy. My 4 year old son and I like to bring out all the pillows and blankets to the floor of the living room, make popcorn and either watch a movie or read to music.