If you ask me what I like most about the holiday season, I’d be hard pressed to give you just one of my favourite things. There are raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens . . . oh wait, those are someone else’s favourite things. If I have to pick just one, I’m going with “warm feelings.”
The Dutch word, Gezellig, sums it up quite nicely. I wish there was a literal English translation, but unfortunately, there isn’t so I’ll do my best to explain it. The closest thing would be feeling cozy or snug, but not in a Danish Hygge lifestyle sense where one creates an ambiance of “extreme” warmth, comfort and coziness in your environment. Hygge is more about the cozy atmosphere to create a sense of calm. For example, it’s a picture perfect living room, decorated with just the right amount of plants, soft lighting, warm neutral tones and a mix of plush textures added in just the right places. Hygge can also be about being wrapped up in a blanket (or even better, a wearable blanket), toasty reading socks on your feet, sipping hot cocoa while sitting by a crackling fireplace—maybe alone or maybe with friends. Sounds fabulous and I definitely see the appeal.
Gezellig, while similar, is also quite different. It is more about the connections to a place and the people who are in it. It’s the warm feelings of cozy and snug that happen when you are surrounded by your favourite people who make you feel like a million bucks, and you in return them. It’s conviviality. It’s about laughter or good cheer, a sense of ease, feeling relaxed in your own skin, in the moment, where you are and the companions you are with. It’s also about having a good time and socializing together—time forgotten. Do you see the difference? One is about creating or manipulating the atmosphere to create a feeling of cozy and snug (which can unfortunately be that manufactured feeling that people sometimes negatively associate with the holidays), whereas the other is about the warm and fuzzy feelings that happen organically when you are in the right setting with the right people at the right time. That, to me, is what I love about the holidays—the warm feelings of Gezellig—but I’m not exactly opposed to adding in a sprinkle of Hygge as well. Sparking joy!
There is a lot that I love about Christmas and the warm feelings that come with it. For me there is the countdown, the advent calendars (including ones for the dogs). There’s the sparkle, the lights and the outdoor decorations—both tacky and tasteful. It’s about chunky snowflakes falling from a winter’s sky, and even chunkier sweaters with a Christmas-y Fair Isle flair to keep you both looking cozy extremely huggable too–Hello Gezellig! And couldn’t we all use a hug during these never ending days? It’s about holiday music and holiday movies. And I will stand by my words that you are never too old to watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. That movie puts a gleam in one’s eye that is worth its weight in silver and gold. I also love The Holiday, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, Scrooged, Die Hard (it counts!) and the piece de résistance, Office Christmas Party—you know, the classics.
Most importantly for me, however, is spending time with my family, friends and two dogs, having time to breathe, but simultaneously embracing a more hectic social pace that comes with the season. I love fancy holiday cups filled to the brim with warm beverages, perhaps with a hint of peppermint or allspice, definitely topped with whipped cream and don’t even ask me if I want extra sprinkles. That would be a resounding, YES! I love to feast and have no regrets doing it at this time of the year, but know that the New Year follows with its own set of resolutions to guide me forward. Most of all, I love my tradition of picking up a David’s Tea advent calendar, with 24 fun filled holiday inspired flavours that I share with my friends, family and co-workers (in normal times) for a daily tea party throughout the month of December. It offers an opportunity to take 5, connect and allow Gezellig to work its magic.
While this blog post is about memories, inspiration and hope to find those incredible warm feelings of Gezellig that we long for these days, this really is a fashion blog and I’d be remiss if I didn’t throw in a few of my holiday favourite looks for 2021. Wherever we land (again!) this year, here’s a little inspo for yas!
You can never go wrong with plaid for the holidays. While we were dipping our toes into being a little more fanciful this year, I think we’ll stay the course of the last 22 months and continue down the path of a little more of a casual, cozy Gezellig-y plaid for the holidays.
Red or Green
You know you’ll feel ready for the holidays if you pull out anything red or green–even a Snuggy. There’s the easy options of a blouse (ruffles and billowing shoulders are going strong), a sweater (cable knit is where it’s at this year) or how about some colourful pants in a holiday inspired hue?
Silver and Gold
It’s not just a Burl Ives song brought to stop-motion life by Sam the Snowman in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Adorn yourself in a splash (or a bar) of silver and gold. Layer on some silver and/”d’or” gold jewelry or if you have a full wardrobe, throw on a gold top or pants like this favourite gold cable knit sweater below. Love.
This year’s sweaters of the season are Fair Isle, cable knit and knit vests. Sweaters are oversize this time around so go big or go home. or both these days. It\s pretty cuddly-looking, no? Like being hugged by a pink rabbit or silkie chicken.
While the skinnies are not quite as “on trend” this go round, I remain Team Skinnies because they are easy to wear, work with pretty much everything and look good on all. That being said, to be cutting edge this year, the waist needs to be high and the cut is a little looser, wider and more comfortable. But wear what makes you feel best, I say. And I think what I’m also saying is there are a lot of options, from the skinny to the slim to the mom jean to the bootleg to the extreme-wide leg. You get to pick. But do keep the waist high.
New Year’s Eve
And just like that . . . it was New Year’s Eve. . . It’s a New Year, a new day, a new outlook, new times . . . here’s to living the dream.