Midwest winters are dreary, windy and predictably unpredictable. An unseasonable 50 degree, sunny day seems to always be followed by a blizzard the next. For parents, the frost and snow can be met with dread as we navigate virtual school and the pleas to play outside. The winter months can feel like something that must be endured rather than embraced.
If moving to a warm island isn’t feasible, perhaps looking to how Danish parents cope with the long and foreboding winters will help make this season a tad more welcoming. It is a method called “hygge”, which translates to “creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.” Danes enjoy the outdoors despite the temperature, and seem to be much happier for it! When they return indoors, they are met with a cozy space, ready to warm and comfort. They seem to have it figured out, and maybe bitter Midwesterners like me need to take a page from their book! Here are some tips for channeling your inner hygge and making it through the blusteriest of days.
Tips for Embracing the Snow and Cold as a Parent
Understand there’s no such thing as bad weather, simply bad gear.
Find gear and clothing that will keep you warm. Purchase or scour second hand stores for a warm set of coveralls. They are warm, waterproof, easy to put on and take off. Cute they are not, but warm they will keep you! Fleece-lined leggings or base layers also help to keep the cold out. Hot Hands produces foot, body and toe warmers that work for hours. Keep a container near the gloves and stocking caps so there’s easy access! Heated vests are amazing and make a great Christmas gift for you and your spouse. If your body heat is controlled, the unpleasant cold feels more bearable.
Warm comfort food melts all the chills away.
It doesn’t have to be an extravagant day of slaving next to the stove. Make a one-minute microwavable brownie, whip up a batch of soup to eat for a few days and sip hot chocolate under a warm blanket. The smell and taste of winter favorites sets the tone for a relaxed surrounding, a must in a “hygge” environment.
Make your space extra cozy.
Let the kids build a blanket fort in the living room, and enjoy a movie marathon. Become one with the couch and save the to-do list for another day! Light all the candles and read books under the soft ambient lights. Start a new LEGO set while wrapped in a favorite throw. Wear pajamas all day, or the softest sweater you own. Turn on your favorite tunes and relax by the fire. It is what the Danes would do!
Remind yourself, it’s the little things that matter.
These are the days your kids will remember. Sledding, the first sip of hot chocolate and the warm atmosphere you create is what will stay on their minds for a lifetime. They will want to recreate with their own children some day. Snow days can be an inconvenience, an interruption to routine and everyday life, but they are also a chance to witness the magical moments of childhood that slip away all too quickly. It is a way to spend uninterrupted time together, which in today’s culture is a luxury. Make the snow ice cream, break out the board games we are always too busy to play and settle in for a slow moment in time. The Danish people seem to be better for it, and one or two days might do us some good as well!
Happy Snow Day. Hang in there moms! Now plop yourself next to the fire and add some Bailey’s to that hot chocolate. You earned it.