There are few people who do winter better than the Scandinavians, in my opinion. Not that they have a lot of say in it; their winters are long, dark and cold and the further north you are, the longer, darker and colder it gets. I remember being at a wedding in Jyväskylä in Finland one summer and the locals talking about how in the second half of the summer their thoughts turn to autumn and that having turned to autumn they inevitably turn to the coming winter. Sunset today in Jyväskylä was at 2.49 p.m. These are people who I’m guessing need to learn to love the dark.
It’s therefore not surprising that, in my experience at least, the Scandinavians seem keen to get into the winter spirit. I posted last year about the Danish concept of hygge and its importance in managing the winter http://wp.me/s41obs-hygge
I am a big fan of hygge (or koselig in Norwegian) so am always happy when it’s time for the annual Julefest in Sheffield https://www.facebook.com/events/901620636532989/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming This was on the Saturday just gone, and although it is held in a primary school in the north of England it brings a welcome slice of Nordic life to our part of the world: a lovely Christmas tree in the main hall with stalls selling cushions, home-made Norwegian biscuits, hats, scarves, jewellery, cinnamon buns and gløgg (Nordic mulled wine). It’s just the thing to get me right in the winter mood, so thanks to everyone who makes it happen.
I have read a few articles recently about how the Scandinavians deal with winter, to see if I was missing something. This one http://pinetribe.com/how-to-survive-scandinavian-winter/ is fairly representative and I thought it tallied well with what I have found works. It includes the importance of going outside, so in that spirit I met up with a good friend to go for a hearty walk in the countryside just outside the city the day after Julefest.
We are blessed with beautiful scenery both within and outside the city boundaries so this was always likely to be an enjoyable day; a chill in the air and some bright weather ensured that this was the case. Even better, we ended up in a busy, convivial pub for hearty pies with thick-cut chips and mushy peas, washed down with excellent ales. A cold walk followed by a carb-fest and beer in a traditional pub with good company – that is pretty much the Holy Grail of winter, I cannot think of anything better. It is also a very Britsh hygge. So yes, definitely go outside – it can be lovely in itself and it makes going back indoors an absoulte treat.