Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hygge and a Home Library Update (Christmas Decor Version)

"Hygge" is so hot right now. If you read blogs or participate in social media, chances are good you've heard this term floating around the past year or two. I haven't read any of the currently popular books about this topic (like this one, or this one), but what I've gathered from social media is that hygge is basically that awesome warm cozy feeling you get when you're all snuggled up drinking hot chocolate next to a fireplace. Something like that.

Anyway, whatever it actually is, I am all here for it. I am here for feather down blankets and twinkle lights and cozy scarves and mittens and soup for dinner every night. I am here for slanting winter light and boots and chunky sweaters. I am here for slippers and fuzzy socks and snuggles.

I know some people (a lot of people) who long and wish and dream about living in warmer climates. I mean, there's a reason people flock to Florida and So Cal. But after nearly four years in Houston (which, admittedly, is a sweaty hot house of nasty humidity, and therefore no one's dream climate), I just have to say that nothing has made me happier than feeling cold again! And not just the-air-conditioning-is-too-high kind of cold (which is a perennial problem in Houston, the world's most air-conditioned city), but the actual, see-your-breath, tingly-toes kind of cold! It's exhilarating!

But only for a few moments, after which I love to run back inside to the comfort of that warm bowl of soup, cup of hot cocoa, cozy blanket, and seat by the fire. Yes please!

Right now, the most "hygge" room in our house is the "library." If you remember, the last time I introduced you to this room, it looked like this:

Basically book shelves and a whole lot of nothing else. We've still got a ways to go to get this room "finished," but we have done a few things: painted the walls grey (hallelujah!) and acquired a couple of pieces of furniture so there is at least a place to sit. But then we decorated for Christmas in here, and man, I just can't get enough of this room!

I mean, just look at that!

The tree, in all her fuzzy, over-back-lit glory. As hard as they are to photograph, I sure do love those windows. The light! The light, the light, the light! Also, our tree looks pretty awesome from outside through those windows.

Why yes, we do have TWO Christmas trees in this room. The one in the alcove is our small fake one from the apartment-dwelling days. I alternate between loving and hating that weird little alcove. We haven't found the right piece of art for it yet (maybe for Christmas?), so we keep just putting trees up there. It looks pretty there, at least.

Oh, how I love decorating a mantle! This is the first time I've ever lived in a house with a real fire place (okay, maybe the house we lived in when I was born had one, but if it did, I don't remember it), and mantle decorating is just too much fun. Someday I'm hoping to get a really big, nice nativity for the mantle, but for now I'm making do with my collection of smaller (weirdly international) nativities. I got these two in Germany over a decade ago, and they are still my two favorite.

Guys, I think my chalk art is getting better! Also, my sister gave us this one piece nativity after her trip to Jerusalem a few years ago. I believe it's carved from olive tree wood. It's so lovely (and you can just see a bit of the donkey from our African nativity on the left side there).

And last but not least, this is the little white nativity we picked up in Bolivia two years ago. And that wooden family picture? A Christmas gift from our nanny! She made it herself! Mad skills! (That's not just up for Christmas, it will stay up all year).

These stockings are the best. Have I talked about our stockings before? My mother-in-law hand makes a stocking for every member of the family (can you guess which one is mine?). She hasn't quite finished Baby Lily's yet, so we have the little red stocking as a placeholder right now (with an H on it, because it was originally Baby Henry's stocking until he got his Christmas tree boot stalking for being the first Texas baby in the family).

So yes, I'm just loving this room so much this Christmas. My husband and I spend most of our evenings here on this couch, fire burning, twinkle lights glowing, Christmas music playing, reading our books (or in my case, frantically finishing up my grading so I can wrap up this semester and get on with enjoying the holiday break). Hygge indeed!

(Also, I know I'll be so very tired of the cold a few months from now, when all the charm has worn off and the snow is dirty and I have to scrape ice off my car to get home from school and spring feels like it will never come. But for now, nothing but happy!)

P.S. It's a little late in the season now, but don't forget about the fresh bough wreath tutorial I put up last year! It's the best piece of decor ever! Also, I used my extra boughs on the mantle this year, because you can never have enough fresh bough greenery this time of year (plus, the smell!).