Cornwall LivingIssue #103
Embracing the Scandi approach to a Cornish Christmas.
At the time of writing none of us are sure what Christmas will look like this year. We thought that whatever happens we should be prepared to make the festive season a fun one no matter the restrictions. In light of this, we have taken inspiration from our Danish cousins to bring you our top ten tips for embracing a Cornish ‘hygge’ Christmas. In order to fully embrace hygge, we must first understand what it is. Pronounced ‘hoog-ga’, it’s certainly something that is hard to sum up in a literal one-word translation. It’s more a general feeling of contentment and well-being, it’s creating a cosy environment in which you can be happy, it’s finding the extraordinary in the ordinary and fostering a sense of comfort and kinship. ‘Hygge’ has been part of Danish culture since the 1800s, helping to combat its famously miserable and long winters. As the Cornish winter of 2020 is likely to be one of discontent for many, now more than ever it’s essential to embrace the simple pleasures, take comfort in our homes and enjoy what we have around us.
Let’s kick it all off with the humble candle. Used across the world as a symbol of hope and remembrance, a candle can bring light and joy to any room. Scented candles will take your feeling of hygge to the next level and where better to buy them from than right here in Cornwall? St Eval (st-eval.com) crafts sweet-smelling candles by hand, using traditional artisan methods to make every candle unique. Be uplifted by the fresh scent of cucumber and black pepper or thyme and mint; relax the mind with lavender or geranium; or feel festive with figgy pudding!
Keeping the home fires burning
Cosying up in front of a fire couldn’t be more relaxing. Radiating its warmth on wet afternoons or dark evenings, a fire soothes the soul. The soporific flicker of the flames is enough to envelop you in contentment and if you are lucky enough to have a woodburner or an open fire, then the enticing smell of wood smoke adds to the ambience. Kernow Fires (kernowfires.co.uk) has been keeping Cornwall warm for many years and offers a vast range of contemporary and traditional stoves. And if you don’t have a chimney, don’t despair, Kernow Fires is also a supplier of the cutest electric mini stoves from Everhot, which not only heat the room but can also cook you up a casserole for tea.
If you’re cuddling up in front of the fire,
then to create the ultimate hygge festive magic you will need some luxurious pyjamas, cosy slippers or socks and a blanket to wrap around your shoulder. Don’t feel you have to wait until the big day to treat yourself, embrace being at home and dress down with the best. Jo and Co (joandcohome.com) is a home, interior and lifestyle store in Wadebridge. Jo and the team are great advocates of self-care and their Hibernation Collection is perfect for getting cosy this Christmas. From the softest cotton pyjamas to pure new wool throws you’ll be spoiled for choice, whether pampering yourself or buying that extra special gift. They offer delivery across the UK so wherever you are you can be sure of some Cornish contentment.
If you are unable to travel far this Christmas then why not transport yourself on an armchair voyage of discovery? Rediscovering old classics or finding new adventures is a real treat and a chance to spend some quiet time away from the distractions of screens and devices. And you could even create your own ‘hyggekrog’! Yes, it’s a real thing, translating as a comfortable place to sit, and better to enjoy a good book than a cosy nook. You might have a favourite place to sit already but you can hygge it to the next level with the addition of blankets, fairy lights and a foot stool.
Embracing a craft gets you double hygge points. Not only is crafting therapeutic, it also means you can make some beautiful festive decorations for your home. Don’t be afraid, you don’t have to be an experienced crafter to produce something very effective. Simple white paper snowflakes can look really effective and are as easy as child’s play – so something the whole family can create – and there are lots of tutorials online to guide you. Orange pomanders will fill your home with the scent of Christmas, simply follow our step by step guide (right) for some festive fun!
Hygge embodies the idea of togetherness and what better way than to come together over some tasty treats? Think comfort food; steaming bowls of nourishing soup, freshly baked bread and tempting sweet cakes or pastries are all a sure-fire way to fill your home with yuletide yumminess. Source your ingredients locally wherever you can to ensure quality and provenance, and don’t forget that an important part of hygge is to embrace the outdoors as well. If you’ve not tried it, then a winter barbeque is a must! Visit Heart, Smoke & Soal (heartsmokesoal.co.uk) for some great ideas on creating the ultimate outdoor cooking area and recipe inspiration.
Once you’ve cooked up a feast then you’ll need a warming drink to accompany it. A hygge drink is something to be savoured, something indulgent, and enjoyed all the more after a bracing walk or surf in the sea. There’s nothing like a nip in the air to make you enjoy a hot drink all the more. Think indulgent hot chocolate, a steaming mug of tea or a strong coffee, and if you fancy something a bit stronger, then a warming mulled wine or cider will warm the cockles. Cornwall has some incredible artisan drinks producers; visit cornwall-living.co.uk to discover some of our favourites.
Best foot forward
As we’ve already discovered, hygge not only encompasses getting cosy at home, it’s also about appreciating the great outdoors, and here in Cornwall we are so fortunate to have an incredible choice of places to explore right on our doorstep. Achieving that feeling of well-being can come from a long cliff walk, a ramble through some of Cornwall’s woodlands, parks and gardens or indeed a dip in the sea (wildswimmingcornwall.co.uk) – all of which will ensure you get a good dose of fresh air and, if the sun’s shining, a dose of mood – and immune-boosting vitamin D. National Trust (nationaltrust.org) gardens are currently still open for exploration and are a great choice if you need a gentle stroll with ease of parking.
Welcome in the great outdoors
Being at one with nature is another important strand of the hygge way of life, but how do we interact with the natural elements in winter? One way is to bring the outside in – throw open windows and let the fresh air flow – does the thought of that make you shiver? Then don a big cosy jumper and embrace it! Similarly, remember the ‘hyggekrog’ we talked about creating earlier? Why not create yours next to a window and enjoy the view! Alternatively, a sustainably grown Christmas tree will bring a natural element to your home this Christmas and infuse your room with the authentic smell of spruce. Or adorn your door with a natural wreath to welcome in the spirit of Christmas – we love hollyandroots.com for their unique designs, all made here in Cornwall using British farm-grown suppliers.
Family and friends
Above all, Christmas is a time for family and friendship. Nordic countries are frequently named the happiest in the world, so take a leaf out of their book… reconnect with your loved ones, either at home or virtually this Christmas time with the help of a little bit of hygge magic.