Hygge and Home

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The early morning air crisp and clear, the woods dark and still, a hint of light to the east. A tattered blanket of snow, barely covering the ground. A few days ago, a lovely snowfall followed by rain and sleet. Roads treacherous and icy, cars sliding off the road into ditches. The days filled with holiday preparations, my heart laced with sorrow and sadness for the families affected by the horrific event in Newtown, struggling to understand. A season of home and hygge, lighting candles to keep the hope, coaxing light out of the darkest days. I gather strength and comfort from my loved ones, and hold them extra close.

My holiday traditions end up being a mish-mash of Danish-Norwegian, Scandinavian American and Vermonty, with a sprinkling of my own creative interpretations. I decorate minimally, and prefer moss and birch bark over glitter. Red and white and lots of hearts brighten the gray days. The air heavily scented with cardamom, I bake the same cookies that my mother and grandmothers baked. Though not as many – and definitely not the seven sorts they always had on hand during the holidays. But enough to share. The giving and wrapping, a joy. I roast nuts in our own maple syrup, but succumb to marzipan and chocolate. And I am tempted by sweet and rich flavors and foods, driven more by nostalgia than taste. But in this season of starkness, the touch of plenty and goodness is welcome. And the simple act of gathering with family and friends is what matters the most. There is much to be grateful for. God Jul.

12 comments

  1. I’m enjoying your blog so much and also love reading about your holiday traditions. My cousin’s father was from Finland and he taught us how to make Pulla. I make several loaves of it every Christmas, it’s so yummy!

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    1. Hello – thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments here and on Flickr. The Scandi heritage in New England is not as concentrated as it is in the mid-west and north-west, but it is always nice to discover the small pockets here and there. And so wonderful that you keep a Finnish baking tradition alive during the holidays. Pulla is one of my favorite sweet breads – any time of the year! Hope you get to Helsinki sometime – you’d love their pulla and cafe culture – irresistibly fragrant pulla and coffee on every block – and a city filled to the brim with amazing photo-ops. I am really enjoying your blog – lovely and spare descriptions to accompany your evocative photographs. 🙂

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    1. Thank you for your comment and for the fb/twitter mention. Hope you are having a cozy holiday – best wishes to you in the new year. Enjoy the snow! Your wonderful bread posts have inspired me to bake bread today – perfect activity for a snow-blizzard day. 🙂

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    1. Wishing you a happy new year – with the help of google translate – hope it is correct! 🙂
      Kiitos! Hyvää joulua. Toivotan teille onnellista uutta vuotta.

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    1. The Himmeli you pictured in your post are beautiful – such complex geometric constructions of straw. It is a tradition that I am not familiar with. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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