A Recipe for Winter: Hygge for Homesteaders

| 12/10/2019 10:41:00 AM

Farmstead sheep sign

Our newest chalkboard sign, greeting visitors at the front door of Farmstead Creamery. 

As November begins, it can feel like the days are just flying past.  Winter’s approach, with its darkness and cold, can set off a cascade of grumpiness and wanting to hole up under a blanket and hibernate until it’s over.  But when you live this far north, the episode of winter can well be half of the calendar year, so there must be a better way for surviving, even thriving through wintertime.

Scandinavia has long had to find their winterer’s spirit, living even farther north on this planet than Wisconsin.  The Danes coined their own term for happy winter-making:  hygge (said “hoo-ga”), which roughly translates as “comfort.”  Stereotyped as candles and cozy interiors, hygge is actually an entire lifestyle choice that meets the challenges of seasonal affective disorder head-on.

As I’ve been studying the philosophy of Nordic hygge, I realized just how much our family and farm has intuitively built this into our practice — no wonder we look forward to wintertime!  I think we could all benefit from a greater helping of comfort, joy, camaraderie, and creative expression through the winter experience, rather than dread the oncoming season. 

Winter is inevitable — part of the natural cycle of the seasons — but our relationship to it is optional.  Throughout this winter, I’ll circle back to the elements of hygge, elaborating on how to embrace and celebrate the winterer’s spirit, but for now here is an overview.

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