Winter Warmer – Locked Down over Christmas and New Year?

Winter is a strange time.  Hundreds of years ago, it was something to be feared and prepared to battle against.  Ice storms, rain, dark days and freezing temperatures meant that crops couldn’t grow, and livestock couldn’t eat, so it was a dangerous time for communities across the world.  The constant changing of the seasons meant that there was, at least, a consistency for our ancestors, and they knew that, to quote the Starks, “winter was coming”, and they could attempt and do something to up their odds against the cruel season.

There were the pragmatic solutions of storing grain and food in the summer to last through the latter half of the year, but there were also the mystical, or supernatural answers to their wintry woes.  Rituals and ceremonies were enacted on certain days of the year, at certain locations, in an attempt to appease the Gods and lessen the effects of a harsh season.  Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, England, is probably the most famous location in the UK where these customs were practised, spanning across tens of thousands of years.

Nowadays, we don’t need to attend a ritual at Stonehenge in order to ensure safety through the winter months (unless, of course, you want to; many still flock to Stonehenge for important dates throughout the year).  Our insulated homes, our heating and electric, even down to our big winter coats and woolly hats, mean that we are protected against the cold that autumn and winter brings.  Some would even say that winter was their favourite month, and in fairness, I can’t blame them!  Mulled wine, winter walks through the countryside, dark nights with a hot chocolate or a Sunday roast in an English pub while the weather rages outside, really allows for a sense of hygge.

Hygge (pronounced hyoo-guh) is a sort of buzzword at the moment, and I can see why.  The word is Danish in origin and doesn’t really have a direct translation into English.  Putting it into Google Translate gives you the word ‘fun’, but most argue that the closest word is ‘cosiness’.  The Danish would argue that it goes further than that, though; that it describes a sense of wellness and contentment in the simple things, especially when you feel safe and secure within yourself and those around you. 

Winter is a wonderful time to practise hygge.  The nights get longer, the weather turns colder, and so many of us feel an urge to nest.  With self-care being so important at the moment, why not practise a little hygge yourself this season?  Grab a scented candle, snuggle up with a heat wrap, and get your head into a book with a mug of tea and some biscuits.  Or grab the kids and dive under a blanket to watch a film. Ooh box has a great selection of gift boxes, including the Movie Night Box and several pamper box gifts.

Our 21st century world doesn’t afford us many opportunities to ‘switch off’, but if there’s ever a time to take a moment for yourself, you’ll be sure to find it in the depths of winter.

December 11, 2020 — Julie Selby