Is it still only August? I don’t know about you, but I find once I’ve been away on holidays then my brain naturally turns to thoughts of Christmas and my favourite seasons, Autumn and Winter.
I love hygge as a principle because it aims to take little moments in life and make them pleasurable. It looks for the small details and covers them with love and joy. For me, hygge is like aiming to celebrate Christmas every day. It really is trying to live by Scrooge’s words.
My second brother used to call me The Christmas Fairy. He said he had never met anybody who celebrated Christmas quite as much or as long as I did. I’m sure it was a compliment, as was comparing me to the Ghost of Christmas Present in Scrooged (a perennial family favourite).
Let me set out my stall straight away: I am always in a Christmas mood. There is never a month when I wouldn’t happily read a Christmas book, find a new recipe, buy a present or watch a Christmas movie. My countdown starts on 1st September, but my whole year is passed in a warm and cuddly feeling of love. Now, let’s talk about the book.
Scandi Christmas is written by Christiane Bellstedt Myers who is a Canadian of Scandinavian ancestry and living in the UK. She runs The Cozy Club, which invites people into her home to craft together and shares scenes from her life on Facebook and Instagram. I have to come clean and say that it was a post from someone I follow on Instagram that brought Scandi Christmas to my attention, but since then I’ve become a bit of a fan boy. Christiane’s style is beautifully homey, cozy and hygge. When you’ve read the review, just click on the social media links and see what I mean. It’s like a hug on a cold day, just what we need. After reading about it on Instagram, I ordered a copy whilst I was away and it was waiting for me on the mat on my return. Post-Holiday hygge in a parcel.*
At 127 pages long, Scandi Christmas has over 45 projects and quick ideas packed in. It’s roughly A4 size, so a good size for handling and the pages are beautifully heavy and smooth. A pleasure to handle, in fact. The book is illustrated throughout with photographs by Caroline Arber (big shout out to her: they are beautiful and make the book absolutely a delight to look at) and the whole aesthetic is of a red and white Scandinavian Christmas.
Christiane says in her introduction that “Old-fashioned, handmade, home-baked and homespun are all words that describe my perfect Christmas.” I like it already. She explains that the key is to keep everything simple (big nods over here) and to involve everyone. The description of her Cozy Club workshops makes me positively green with envy. I want to go on one!!!
I like to make my workspace as comfortable as possible, which is what I do at meetings of the Cozy Club (workshops where I invite people into my home to make seasonal crafts). It not only adds to the ambiance but also encourages creativity. I light tealights here and there and I make sure that the kettle is ready to go. Christmas carols play softly in the background and a selection of cinnamon-spiced goodies are temptingly laid out. The chair I sit in must be plumped up with pretty pillows and all my materials are ready to be used.
See what I mean? Actually the book would be a good resource for anybody wanting to start up their own version of a Cozy Club (imagine a franchise business called that? A chain of Cozy Clubs across the country, with plumped up cushions and apple-cinnamon cake for all) since many of the projects are easily adaptable to different skill levels. None of them require fancy equipment and a lot rely on using a hot glue gun.
They are all homely crafts. The book is split into four chapters: Paper and Glitter, Natural Christmas, Homespun Fabrics and Cinnamon and Gingerbread. With templates and a simple glossary of sewing stitches, it’s not a hard read but it is a book to dip into and look at again and again. The photos (as I’ve said) are gorgeously staged, with white, red and green used so effectively I just want to move in and live there, wherever there is.
I’ve found myself browsing the pages when I’m sat idly thinking, but there are several projects I really will be making this year. The Star Anise Wreath (see montage above) looks easy enough to decorate my kitchen doors with, while the mittens advent calendar has me enchanted. I might not make 24 mittens, but a couple strung together on my internal doors should be doable.
Sometimes the sign of a good craft book is not that you want to slavishly follow the patterns, but that you want to adapt them to suit you. There are a few projects that I’m feeling inspired by, and wondering how to adapt it to suit. I love the Nisse…
The papercraft Christmas Trees….
and the cinnamon wreath.
Enough to keep me busy in between my day job, my other day job, my night job and the crafting I do for fun anyway. I’m pleased that the book isn’t all either sewing or papercrafts: the blend of crafts means that I can give it to my daughter and know that she can find a project to suit her as well. I’m aiming for a quiet weekend afternoon in November, where we invite her friends along, set up the glue gun and a sewing station and get on with making something together. Like a Cozy Club, but for teenagers. With tea and hot chocolate.
All in all, Scandi Christmas is a book I can thoroughly recommend to beginner crafters or experienced crafters who love Scandinavian style. It’s full of simple but beautifully effective projects that aren’t expensive, and it just feels so hygge in and of itself. Christiane’s introduction is beautiful, and I will be keenly following the Cozy Club on Facebook and Instagram for more inspiration.
Enjoy the writing? Want to read more about hygge? If you’d like to read more about how hygge has made my life happier, my first two books are available now: 50 Ways to Hygge the British Way is available in Paperback and Kindle version and so is How to Hygge Your Summer, again in Paperback and Kindle form, from Amazon. If you purchase through the links on this page, I get a couple of pence extra per copy, and if you’ve already read it and enjoyed it, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. I have a Goodreads Author’s Page!
****How to Hygge the British Way Blog isn’t monetised. I have taken the decision that I want to remain neutral and not to promote things just because. I will only ever review items that I have bought myself, or that I think will help to promote hygge in a busy life. To do this, I need support. Even just the price of a coffee adds up to a book over time, and it means I can stay independent. Would you help? Please consider clicking through to paypal.me/HyggeJem and leaving even a small amount. I’d be very grateful. Thank you.***
*I ordered and paid for the book myself. It wasn’t sent to me to promote. All thoughts are my own and freely given.*