A Lesson from Norwegians About Cozy

Koselig (pronounced koosh-lee) is a word that doesn’t translate easily into English. It’s a Norwegian concept that means cozy but also includes social interaction during the cold and dark winter months. Ingrid Opstad of That Scandanavian Feeling, describes koselig like this:

“Koselig is a concept which is deeply rooted in our Norwegian culture. I would describe it as the feeling of coziness and being comfortable, but it often involves being in a social setting with others rather than being alone. It is about being content and creating a pleasant environment. it is about intimacy and warmth.”

Adjusting to January after the lights and festivities of December can be a shock to the system. It is for me anyway. The house goes from being beautifully decorated, full of lights, my favorite people and my favorite smells, to pretty much empty. Opening the blinds makes it worse. Outside is grey, dark and cold.

There is some satisfaction in having all of the decorations put away and the house nice and tidy, though. By the end of December, I’m ready for less “noise”. But I feel like there needs to be some transition in there before I go into full on Valentine’s Day mode.

That’s what made me turn my attention to countries like Norway. What I read made so much sense that I was almost embarrassed that it never dawned on me in the first place.

It went like this. “Winter is cold and dark. Candles, warm fires in the fireplace comfy blankets, good food and drink and social connection help a lot. Do that often.”

Turns out, it works. The social connection is a challenge right now because of Covid, so I’ve turned to apps like Marco Polo to stay connected to my friends and family. FaceTime and Zoom are also a regular part of my week.

But just by adding candles, a few more fluffy blankets and winter-inspired decor (like pine cone-filled lanterns), I can tell a big difference from years past.

We’re still in the thick of January, so I encourage you to give koselig a try. I guarantee you that winter will feel a lot different than it has before.