How Do You Create The Magic of the Season?
‘Tis the season to enjoy simple pleasures. For the past two winters, I've enjoyed learning about the Scandinavian rituals of Hygge (pronounced Hue-ga). Neither French nor English has a single word for embracing this concept of enjoying the simple pleasures of life. In my childhood language of Dutch we had a word woven into the cultural fabric of embracing enjoyable simple, social exchanges. The Dutch celebrate the concept of Gezellig. An Ottawa chef, who lived in The Netherlands, opened a restaurant named Gezellig. He felt Canada's Capital needed to embrace the concept of enjoying the “warmth of friendship and contentment to simply be”. 'Cocooning' is the closest we come to expressing this concept in North America.
While the feeling of hygge can be created at any time of year, winter more naturally lends itself to the glow of candles and fireplaces, hot beverages sipped without haste and fuzzy blankets. Together or alone.
Over the last year, I've distilled the meaning to be 'the permission to take time out for ourselves to enjoy the simple pleasures of life’. For me there is nothing better than curling up with a good book, flanked by my two dogs and a steamy cup of tea within arms’ reach.
So having given this more thought, it occurred to me that we Canucks DO have traditions of creating comfort. Each fall, as temperatures dip, a collective tradition begins with a migratory path to the cupboard where our crock pots have spent their summer holidays. This unleashes a season of stews, spaghetti, casseroles, one-pot meals - you know what I'm talking about. This season of comfort coincides with inviting friends and neighbours to break bread with us, uncorking that special bottle of wine we have been saving, and basking in the warmth of those we share time with. We know and embrace the concept, we just leave the word for it unclaimed, satisfied with the feeling deep in our hearts.
Wishing you warm, fuzzy, cozy greetings for the season!
PS. Here is a link
on Pinterest which will give you images of how to create Hygge in your life.
TOP 5: “GIFTS”
As we welcome the month of giving, receiving and celebrations, we wanted to explore the word “GIFT”. We are always grateful for our partners and suppliers who give us incredible gifts like trust and collegiality. Seated in my office thinking of what I most cherished this year, I realized only a few treasures were wrapped gifts. What I really considered important are people and experiences made so personal that I will cherish their memory for years to come. So, in that light, here are my Top 5 “GIFTS” you can give this holiday season and well into 2019:
- Recognition - The trainer at a recent session on memory said the human brain responds to hearing our name in the same way we do to love. So, I LOVE it when a hotel greets us with our logo on the wall or personalizes a water bottle. Another example can be as simple as having my name spoken correctly at Starbucks. It’s nice to be recognized. Most of the time recognition costs nothing.
- Recommendations or Referrals – If this isn’t the ultimate ‘gift” then I don’t know what is. When a client or partner recommends or refers business to me, it’s truly giving me their stamp of approval and trust. To me this speaks volumes for why we do what we do everyday. Simple things like LinkedIn endorsements or recommending us to other planners is an honour. Again, this is a FREE gift.
- Time – “Busy” is an often over-used and abused word. We all have demands on, requirements of and people who need our time. However, if you do give someone your time or they require your presence, give the gift of being on time, showing up to things you’ve committed to and for others who have counted on you (and likely paid for!), and give your time only when you can do so completely. If you can’t give your time and full attention to something, then give your regrets with a promise of another time.
- Experience – To me this has been a total gift this year. More and more I have been giving the gift of experiences to my children, and also have been honoured to have received some incredible experiences from destinations across Canada. One of those experiences gave me a gift of a lucky rock. Legend says if you find a rock with a full ring around it on a particular beach in Newfoundland you’ll have luck for a year. I found one with six full rings! Here’s hoping! It sits on my desk. My rock was free, but the experiences came through partnerships. Partnerships and partnering are the important business gifts.
- Personal and Thoughtful – this carries over from experiences. There are things I have been given that - whether or not they had an associated commercial price - were so thoughtful, so personal that they were elevated to the status of extra special. Like finding a photo of my family in my hotel room or being given a bottle of my favorite wine after a host quizzed colleagues about what I liked. Sometimes, it is the smallest gesture, like a hand-written thank you note, that you hang on to for years because the thought behind it was so special.
In the end, the greatest gift is you. And your time.
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