A love of or need for hygge is an important part of the Danish psyche. Hygge is usually inadequately translated as cosiness. This is too simplistic: cosiness relates to physical surroundings – a jersey can be cosy, or a warm bed - whereas hygge has more to do with people’s behaviour towards each other. It is the art of creating intimacy: a sense of comradeship, conviviality, and contentment rolled into one.
I like how it describes hygge as having to do with people's behaviour towards each other. One of the ways this manifests is in the giving and receiving of gifts. March has been a month of gifts, all of which were surprises. First of all, there was the giving of a gift. Remember the Tea Jenny hat I knit for my cousin Kath? Well, Kath came to visit me while I was down at my mom's so I was able to give her the hat in person instead of mailing it.
Have you ever given someone something that you knew they absolutely loved, something that you made for them hoping that would be the case? I think it is one of the nicest feelings in the world, like the goodness of tea and chocolate and sunshine and a good book all rolled into one moment. Of course, this is where the Danes show their brilliance. Instead of a string of words like I just used trying to describe that moment, they have one word, hygge, that says it all.
The other surprise gifts were ones I received rather than gave. I'm not sure if this makes me an incredibly selfish person, but I must confess I love getting gifts. The first surprise gift was actually last month. When I checked my email I had a notice from Amazon saying my friend Cindy had sent me the new Alexander McCall Smith book, The Forever Girl, as a birthday gift. I am about one third of the way through it and am really enjoying it.
When I was in Vegas Rebekah pulled a small bundle out of her backpack and handed to me. She had knit these sheep coasters for my birthday. I love these, and now have them spread around the cottage in all my tea drinking spots.
Then I got a parcel in the mail from Elginknitter (Ruth in Ontario), a long time reader of my blog. She happened to have two Aga stoves for her dollhouse, so she sent me the extra one. It's my first piece for my dollhouse, and since I have been dreaming of someday owning an Aga, it was the perfect "dollhouse warming" present.
It looks so lovely in its spot on the window seat in my bedroom.
The backing is adorable!
It is actually much bigger than a lap quilt!
I'm pretty sure I had the same goofy grin on my face when Ellen gave me this quilt as Kath did when I gave her the hat. I think that's hygge, come full circle.