Hygge isn’t political. It doesn’t take sides, it’s a neutral country. In my post The Hyggemeister is in the House, Meik Wiking says that at hyggelig occasions there is an unspoken rule that nothing that is likely to cause offence is raised;
Q; Britain is a nation of individuals, as opposed to Denmark where Janteloven keeps a degree of sameness about the Danes (no bragging, no excessive consumption). Is it possible for such a diverse nation to achieve hygge together, or is hygge easier in a ‘tribe’ of people who think the same? (there’s been a lot of talk about Brexit and Remainers vs Leave voters causing strife even in families; how could hygge help them?)
Meik; The Little Book of Hygge includes a manifesto and one of the ten points here is Truce: Let’s discuss politics another day. I don´t think diversity is a barrier for hygge. We may have different values, beliefs and opinions, but that doesn´t mean we can´t enjoy spending time together.
In fact, doing so might help us tackle our differences once we need to resolve them.
I’m an apolitical beast; I’ll stay neutral, please, but I am writing a special Saturday post purely to say;
In the wake of the UK Brexit Referendum and the High Court Judgement on November 3rd which brought all the leave/remain bitterness back again, and given the state of politics in the USA with the bitter election campaign, politics has shown its cruel and cynical side this year. My Facebook feed has shown people who were happy friends together before one vote or the other and now stand on opposing sides and capable of great invective against each other. (some have said that they would defriend those they see as voting ‘the other way’; that’s their choice: I say let’s leave politics out of friendship)
And I say enough. Whatever is happening politically and whatever people think, if they were friends before they can be friends now. Even more so if the split is in families. Whatever problems have happened in the past 10 months, now we’re entering the Season of Joy and Jollification and differences need to be set aside. If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you *love* hygge, and that’s how you’re here. Then I have sad/glad news for you;
It’s your job to act as Hygge Ambassador in your house.
If your immediate family know about hygge (and they should do by now; you have used the word every chance you get, haven’t you?) then saying something like, “We agree that when we are together we don’t say anything that might upset anyone else and if we do, we apologise.” sets up family time to be smoother. Introducing the idea of a Hygge truce before the family occasion also prepares extended family, so that their agreement to be hyggelig can be given as well. Be prepared to explain it again. And again.
When the arguments start (and they will) you need to be able to pull them back and say… kindly but firmly… this is Christmas and a season of peace. Leave the politics/religion/sex outside the door. Respect each other, and the group. And then no more. No discussion, no retaliation, no trying to get the last word. Shrug off any further negativity and walk away. Do Christmas with peace. Here’s a 4 point plan to help you;
- Consider your grouping for hyggeligness. If you know two or more relatives won’t be able to resist baiting each other, either invite them at different times or sit them well apart.
- Don’t react. Most families have an Uncle Arthur who will say things just to wind you up. Don’t react, walk away. You’re the adult here.
- Scale back your stress. Share the load by delegating cleaning, preparation or cooking so that you don’t go into a situation knackered and unfit for purpose as a UN peacekeeper.
- Don’t aim for perfection. Good enough will always do. If the discussion starts, try to stop it but be prepared to accept that there are some people for whom a good argument is what life is about. Your best bet there is to invite two people like that, sit them together and let them slug it out in the front room, while everybody else watches TV or plays a game in the back.
The larger the grouping, the more chance of arguments happening. It’s why the peak Hygge grouping is usually around 3-4. If you’re having a Walton Christmas of over 10, and you have the space, set up distinct seating areas so that you can split the numbers up. Or rationalise who you really need to invite or to visit over Christmas. Why do we cram all our duty visits into a small space in the winter, when we could just as easily space them out over the year?
And finally, advice from Relate about avoiding arguments this year;