You can tell that the days are getting shorter again now. The Autumnal Equinox is only a week away, on 22nd September, and after that the days will decrease even more. We’re moving into the dark half of the year.
Bring. It. On.
I love the autumn and winter, especially the Ber months. It’s prime Hygge season, so why would I not? You can put on your fairylights, light your candles and nobody looks askance. Of course, proper hygge lovers have been turning on their fairylights and lighting candles all the way through the summer, because hygge is not a seasonal thing. But some people seem to need darkness to feel the need for living flame, and I won’t tell them they’re wrong absolutely.
I know the day length is getting shorter because sunrise is beginning to get closer to my wake up time. I wake up at 6am, and get up around 7. By December I will be rising in the dark, and waiting for the sun to catch up, but at the moment we’re pretty much together. And on a glorious sunny day like today, sunrise and the first few hours of sunshine are a real gift.
I sat and enjoyed the light on the trees in the back garden today. The sun was not far up in the sky: see how the shadows go a long way across the garden from the trees at the Eastern end. The shadows at this end of the garden were driven away: there was a light breeze rustling the leaves which are still green and creating the shadows although I know in a few weeks, by Halloween at the latest, they will be yellow or orange, gold or brown and hanging on by their leaftips until a decent wind or a storm drives them off the tree.
The trunk was luminous in the reflected light: that white stripe down the centre was a positive line of silver gold on the bark. The photo doen’t do it justice, nowhere near. Everywhere was bathed in a golden light that hummed with energy, a quiet, warm, uneffusive energy as different from the mad heat of summer as an elephant is from a rabbit. And I sat and sipped my turmeric tea that is my new morning cuppa of choice (the anti inflamatory properties have stopped my ankles hurting as I wake: I’m working on finding an anti-bloating tea fo rmy evening ankles as well) and watched the sunshine for just a few moments of calm.
That’s the gold at the edges of life, the small moments we let slide past us. It’s the treasure we miss in getting and spending, when we rush to achieve and acquire rather than stop, and breathe and be. That’s the reasoning behind September Small Things, or keeping a Gratitude Journal. It’s a reason to stop, to breathe, to pause and to remember. And remembering is the real gift. Good or bad, our memories are what makes us who we are. Especially if we can remember the bad without judging ourselves or others unfairly.
I’ve decided to have one header for the whole season of small things: it’s one of my favourite pictures by Alex Geerts on Unsplash. I love the whole colour scheme, which just makes me feel so autumnal. I love the socks, the book, the blanket, the tea, the leaves and pumpkin. There are so many small pleasures in the picture, it’s like my ambition for this whole series in one simple shot.
How to Hygge the British Way is my gift to the world. I don’t get paid for writing it, I’m not in it for the kudos, financial rewards, to become an influencer, work with brands or otherwise make any money from the blog. That’s why there are no ads, and any products I mention and recommend have either been gifted to me or bought by me with my everyday wages or donations from supporters. Every book I review has been bought and read by me, unless stated otherwise.
I do get a couple of pennies each time someone buys from the Amazon links on my page, as an Amazon Affiliate, but otherwise if you’d like to support me, I like to give something back in return. That’s why I write books. It always feels good if you get a book back in return for some money. You can find a full list of my books at my Author’s Page on Amazon, but especially recommended for this time of year are:
Cosy Happy Hygge: Setting up a rhythm to life and rituals to enjoy it to make for a more balanced life that handles waves and storms better. August is like a pause before real life begins again in September, so it’s a second chance to set up rituals and rhythms that boost happiness and work for you.
Happier: Probably my most personal book, it’s the story of how I used hygge and the little things in life to help boost my happiness. I still go back and reread to remind myself what I need to do to be a happy human.
On the principle that it’s never too early to start thinking ahead, really, and that Christmas is always on us before we know, how about Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas? Christmas is about the small things in life, much as hygge is, and establishing what you want from Christmas and then being able to say no to the excess is important. The book has hints and tips that hopefully will help you enjoy what is, too often, a frantic season.
Available as just an ebook, and a short, sharp read, is Enjoying a Self-Care Christmas: Easy Ways to keep the Joy of Christmas, and your Sanity, intact. It’s an easy read, with ideas and hints to keep you sane through the season. The self-care advent calendar is one I’ve followed for a few years now, and it really is a small daily dose of calm in a manic month.
And on the basis that we may well find ourselves in Lockdowns or unable to enjoy an absolutely normal Christmas under Covid regulations if numbers spike, why not read and plan alternatives? Celebrating a Contagious Christmas was written in response to the pandemic last year, and will need updating soon, but it is about celebrating whatever the situation, and does have good advice on stocking up an emergency cupboard, celebrating when travelling to relatives is impossible and putting the heart of Christmas back into the heart of the celebrations.
If you’d like to support me, but don’t want to buy a book, I have a Paypal.Me account as Hygge Jem. Every little helps, so even a few pence goes towards the books, goods and courses I use and recommend on the site. I’m grateful for every little bit that brings me closer to my dream of full-time writing, and I know I couldn’t still be writing if it weren’t for the support of many readers and friends out there. Thank you all for every little bit of support, emotional, physical and financial, you give me.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it or save it so others can enjoy reading, thinking about and living hygge as well, and read the other posts in the series, too.
My September of Small Things:
Day One: A New Book on the Kindle and a New Tea
Day Two: Five Minutes Crochet and a New Place to Visit
Day Three: Plants, Naturally
Day Four: A New Magazine that Really Suits Me
Day Five: Autumnal Decor Ready for the Harvest
Day Six: Planning in the Golden Afternoon Light
Day Seven: When Every Day Smells Like Your Favourite Coffee Shop
Day Eight: Life Lessons From the Roadside
Day Nine: Stacking Up My Autumn Reading List and Finding I Had Already Bought Several That I Wanted
Day 10: Sudden Inspirations That Are A Mad Idea But Really Fun to Think About
Day 11: Autumning Up My Planner
Day 12: A Brief Pause in a Very Busy Day
Day 13: Watching as My Favourite Tree Shows Her True Colours
Day 14: The Moment You Realise that a Movie is a Time Machine
Day 15: Gold is Found in the Edges of Life