Fort St. John is a winter city and what better way to embrace the cold than to learn about the Danish art of hygge? Pronounced roughly as hoo-gah, it’s the cosiness and contentment that can come from enjoying the simple things in life. A warm cup of tea, good company, lingering over a meal, minimalist decor and a crackling fireplace are some of the images that might come to mind.
Here are some suggestions on how to hygge, North Peace-style:
● Skip the gym and help someone chop and haul firewood instead.
● Rock those sweatpants; hyggebukser is Danish for a pair of pants you love to wear while curling up with Netflix, but would never wear in public. But this is Fort St. John, so… rock them.
● We’re a city of people far from home; what better way to get to know your neighbors than to invite them in for a warm cup of coffee? Know someone who’s solo this holiday season? Include them in your celebrations! Hygge is all about closeness, conviviality and inclusion.
● Do a favor for a friend who hunts in exchange for a moose or elk roast. Invite them over for a meat-and-potatoes feast.
● Get family or friends together for free skating on Sundays at the Pomeroy Sport Centre.
● Instead of firing up the sled, slow down and try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Beatton Provincial Park has great trails for both, and Whiskey Jack Nordic Ski Club offers learning opportunities for beginners. They even rent skis!
● Who says the fire pit is only for the summer? Invite family and friends to gather over hot chocolate (or a wine-spiked cup of Swedish Glög) around a warm backyard fire.
● Try ice fishing or skating on Charlie Lake.
● Discover the joy of fika - the Swedish equivalent of the German idea of Kaffee und Kuchen - by lingering with a book over coffee and pastries at a local cafe.
● Spend a snowy Sunday baking bread.
● Meet with friends at one of our city’s outdoor festivals like High on Ice.
● Spend a few hours curled up with a warm blanket and a good library book.
● Take pleasure in the ordinary: the birds flitting around your backyard, a foggy Fort St. John morning, patterns in the ice of the Peace River.
Books to help you hygge:
● How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life by Signe Johansen.
● Barista Secrets: Creative Coffee at Home by Ryan Soeder and Kohei Matsuno.
● The Art of the Personal Letter: A Guide to Connecting Through the Written Word by Margaret Shepherd.
● Choose a cozy winter romance like Winter Solstice by Elin Hildebrand, or The Christmas Heirloom, a collection of novellas by Christian fiction authors.
● The Book of New Family Traditions: How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Every Day by Meg Cox. This book has hundreds of inspiring ideas to help bring the family together by creating memorable and meaningful traditions.
● Celebrate winter’s coming with these gentle children’s books: Hoot and Peep: A Song for Snow by Lila Judge, Winter Dance by Marion Dane Bauer, and When the Trees Crackle With Cold, Pīsimwasinahikan: a Cree Calendar by Bernice Johnson-Laxdal and Miriam Korner.
If your hygge-ing this holiday season includes curling up with a book or movie, you don’t need to brave the winter weather for a trip to the library. Use your library card to get great ebooks, graphic novels, audiobooks, magazines and streaming movies from the comfort of your home at fsjpl.ca.
Amy von Stackelberg is a circulation services co-ordinator at Fort St. John Public Library.