Last year, when we were in the peculiar limbo of knowing we were moving back to Cleveland but not having moved yet, I watched my Facebook feed with dismay as the snow piled up and up and up and up and… you get the idea.
It snows a lot in Cleveland (the lake effect, no, not the movie – this), and it’s windy, and winter can last awhile. We were spoiled in Baltimore, where they cancel school when there’s even a possibility of snow (true story).
When people asked why we were moving back, I would quip “well, it’s not for the weather,” but after a while of this mock-grousing, I realized that if I were to survive winter, I needed to revamp my attitude. I didn’t want to complain for four (or five or six) months about the weather because I felt like it would make me miserable.
But I didn’t know what to do, really, because getting little kids in and out of the car in the winter is a pain, no question about it. And walking to a Shabbos meal when you can’t push your stroller on the sidewalk and the street isn’t much better isn’t fun either. Or safe.
As I was despairing of my ability to be positive, I found this:
“I don’t speak a lick of Danish, but recently learned a great word that describes a very particular feeling. Hygge (pronounced “hYOOguh“?) often translates to “cozy” — though it connotes much more. From what I gather, it means something like “fireplace warmth with candles and family and friends and food, tucked under blankets on a snowy day, cup-of- coffee conversation, scarf-snuggle, squiggly, warm baby love.” Or something like that.”
That’s right! Scandinavians know ALL ABOUT winter and cold and things like that, and they tend to be happy, right (broad generalization, I know, but there’s this)?
So I decided that this winter, I’m going to try my hand at creating that Hygge feeling. I have: sweaters, gloves, hats, am working on the boots thing, coats. I’m making hot chocolate, remembering to warm up the car early enough to actually have it not be freezing when we get into it, and admiring the whiteness.
That’s my plan. If you still want to complain about the winter, by all means, don’t let my relentless cheerfulness and optimism stop you. And you can always stop by for some hot chocolate.