The last of our guest bloggers of 2015, Juliette Chisholm, offers some sound advice on how to adapt our favourite home trend of the year, hygge, to the Christmas season.
We’ve had some really brilliant guest bloggers this year on TWR; from those wonderful recipes from Jo Orr, Julia Little’s observations on hand crafts, Selvedge Magazine championing textile heritage, Bebe’s wonderfully witty stories from her picturesque French village, Steffi’s moving observation’s on life, Jane Brocket’s guide to Aldeburgh, just to mention a few…. They have all added a fantastic rich layer of additional thinking and observation and we’ve absolutely loved having you all on the blog, many, many thanks to everyone involved. We’ve some exciting ones planned for next year too, so don’t go away, meanwhile, over to Juliette….
The Women’s Room is no stranger to the art of ‘hygge’ – that indefinable, wonderful Danish word that encompasses warmth, snuggling up, candlelight and bonhomie – perfect for this time of year. Jane wrote about ‘living softly‘ back in January and more recently about Helen Russell’s new book “The Year of Living Danishly“, which promises to explain the formula for Danish happiness and is definitely one for the Christmas list.
Although the word itself is difficult to translate, luckily the ethos and the lifestyle aren’t. Who doesn’t want to relax, spend more time with friends and family, cosy up by a roaring fire and share a moment of warmth and togetherness? Here in my part of France, sandwiched between the Jura and the Alps, ‘hygge’ and the Alpine life go happily hand in hand. With resorts like Chamonix and Megève only an hour or so from Geneva, this area really comes into its own in the winter months, and if you are lucky enough to be hitting the slopes this Christmas, then the joy of spending a bracing day on the mountain, followed by hunkering down in a warm, candlelit chalet and indulging in a bit of convivial après-ski is pure ‘hygge’.
Chalet chic vs Scandi chic? There’s a fine line between where one style ends and the other begins, but their mutual heart is warmth and texture – natural materials such as wood, leather and sheepskin all play a big part in getting the ‘hygge’ look, with fake fur and woollen throws and cushions mixed in to keep the cold at bay and soft lighting to finish the mood. The key is to create an authentic atmosphere and you don’t need to be up a mountain to do that – we can all bring the ‘hygge’ look and feel into our homes with a few tweaks here and there. Toast’s ‘Winter Lookbook‘ is full of inspiration, whilst some beautiful Welsh blankets from The Great English would certainly raise the ‘hygge’ factor in any home.
I’m currently burning a beautiful Diptyque candle called ‘Oud’ which has a wonderful woody aroma and smells of the mysteries of Christmas, but if you prefer a more Alpine smell, then their ‘Sapin’ candle will do the trick, as will the truly luxurious ‘Zermatt’ candle from Astier de Villatte (both at Liberty).
Nigella Lawson may have proclaimed herself the ‘Queen of Fairylights’ on her Christmas Special this week, but we can all buy a bag of tea lights and transform our home into a magical, warm haven. One of the wonderful things about embracing the ‘hygge’ lifestyle is that whilst it could be seen as aspirational, the fundamentals of lighting some candles, getting together with friends and sharing a meal (non-ironic fondue anyone?) are about as simple as life gets. ‘Hygge’ really is universal – it crosses countries and cultures, and in this season of goodwill makes us stop and think about the things that really matter in life. So here’s to slowing down, popping a cork, keeping warm, celebrating being with our loved ones and having a very ‘hygge’ Christmas, wherever we are.
Juliette’s own blog can be found here