Do you remember looking forward to things? Like a night out, or a day by the beach or just an hour off to enjoy some solitude? I love anticipation… at this time of the year especially, anticipation seems hardwired into my life. I start looking forward to Christmas, getting food and gifts ready in advance, planning events and sometimes putting things aside specially to enjoy later rather than rushing to have them then… the idea of saving a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine to enjoy on a special event, or not visiting a city now because I can visit it in December and have a double whammy of the pleasure of an afternoon strolling the sights and it be heightened by a veneer of Christmassy cover.
Sometimes the anticipation of an event is even better than the event itself. In my experience, sometimes an event doesn’t happen: it’s cancelled, postponed to a date I’m unavailable or the reason to attend the event becomes redundant. No matter. Things happen, and I have the happy experience of having anticipated the event instead. It’s not a bad way to be: enjoy the anticipation as much as the event, and accept disappointment if it happens with grace and equanimity. When 2020 cancelled every event I had planned (including seeing Taylor Swift live) there was nothing else to do apart from accept the change with grace, take the refund and move on.
But when a plan comes together, and I get to enjoy the thing I have anticipated so long, then it makes sense to really enjoy the thing itself as well. Tonight is a case in point. I’m meeting up with a couple of friends, the same age as me, the same/similar stage of life and very similar in attitudes and outlook. I’m looking forward to it so much. It will be a couple of hours talking, drinking tea or coffee, and basically sharing fellowship, friendship and support of the best kind.
I already know at least one of the books we’ll be looking at tonight, because my friend has recently started reading it and wants to talk about it: Sophie’s World, by Jostein Gaarder. It’s years since I read it, so I’m hoping to flick through later and remind myself of the book.
I’m hoping we’ll talk about other books we’ve read or want to read. I have a few I would love to read and discuss with them; perhaps tonight will be my chance to initiate a new book group, a less Official and more intimate one.
The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse seems like a great Winter read, probably better after Christmas. The engagement party of Elin’s brother is halted when his future fiancee disappears at an exclusive Swiss hotel at the top of the snow-bound Alps. Definite cabing fever reading!
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig appeals to me so much because *books* and the idea that we could see what life would have been if we had turned left not right…. These are books that I could read as an individual but that I think will be better with friends to talk over them.
The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V E Schwab is a premise I could not resist: it’s like a Dr Faustus but for a woman. What if the Devil could guarantee you immortality, but the cost is that nobody will be able to remember you? Until you meet a man in a bookshop in Manhatten who does remember you….. I think this should be a book like The Time Traveller’s Wife that might have me in bits. We mess with mortality at our own peril.
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White sounds like one to read as a double header with the original Frankenstein. Elizabeth gets adopted by Victor Frankenstein and records his descent into madness, his experiments and the powerlessness of women at the time. It’s a YA book, I think (the author definitely writes a lot of YA) but a good book is a good book is a good book.
What’s good is I know both Lesley and Nik will have a pile of books that they have read/want to read/have had in their sights for a while waiting for a reason. I know this, because I know them both. And we will get together tonight, and enjoy the experience. Then we will book a night next month, or in two weeks time. And we will have a companions circle. Books are an entry drug: we might get all revolutionary and do crafts, cinema, theatre… whatever. We’ve all been too busy with families, children, partners until now. Now, we’re the right age and stage of DGA… funny feeling…. to put ourselves first.
And, yes, I expect some menopause talk to occur as well. I’m wearing my Tenalady just in case.
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 Three: Plants, Naturally
Day Four: A New Magazine that Really Suits Me
Day Five: Autumnal Decor Ready for the Harvest
Day Eight: Life Lessons From the Roadside
Day 11: Autumning Up My Planner
Day 12: A Brief Pause in a Very Busy Day
Day 18: The Return of an Old and well-Loved Friend
Day 19: Late Autumn Colour on the Tree I Love