The first night back from Thanksgiving Break my holiday season begins. After I put my leftovers in the mini fridge, I reach for the box of Christmas lights. For the next thirty minutes, I string the red, green, and white lights above my bed, bordering my walls, and stretching to my windows. I tidy up my space, replace my diffuser with a comforting peppermint, and prepare for a nice warm shower with a new clean towel. After leaving the bathroom feeling fresh, I take a short walk back to my room. Upon opening my door, I am greeted by the softs glows of red, white, and green that blanketing my room in a comforting glow.
With the room transformed, slipping into bed feels a bit cozier and relaxing feels a bit more natural. There’s a reason for this. The Danish term hygge refers to the feeling of being content in being cozy. Since the 18th century, hygge has been woven into Danish life and has embedded itself into the culture.The focus is to prioritize comfort in everyday life. Simple things like going to bed a bit earlier, wearing a fluffy slipper, or lighting a new candle have more than just superficial benefits. Danish people are some of the happiest people on the planet partly due to this practice of incorporating comfort into their everyday life.
After a snowstorm outside of "Main," 1888.
I’ve come to believe that putting comfort first leads to a more happy and fulfilled life, especially when the stress of college admissions or the challenges of classwork threaten to overwhelm. Taking time for little improvements to my daily life has especially elevated my winter mood, when trudging between classes along slushy paths can be downright disheartening. In the longest stretch of the winter, the effort to be cozy becomes more and more laboursome – but also more important than ever. Making your bed in the morning or prepping dinner for the next night can slip my mind but the conscious effort to prioritize my coziness has shaped winter into a time I can adore and not dread. Taking joy in the simple pleasures life has to offer can divert from the impending chill of winter winds and early sunsets. Implementing these subtle changes and leaning into the coziness prompted by cold winter months has led me to look forward to the shorter days savoring them, instead of counting down to summer.
Even after the holiday season, when the cold days persist and force me to spend more and more time inside, I keep my lights up to ground me in the warm space I’ve created that uplifts my need for a cozy cocoon to recharge. On days when I dont have the energy to find a warm pair of socks and all my hoodies are in the laundry, I can still be greeted by my Christmas lights.
Nyla Liburd is an intern with Quittner from Miss Porter's School. As part of her senior year coursework, she is helping us with storytelling across our website and social media.