In Defense of Spring Hygge

As I pen this post from my New Hampshire kitchen, it is a quiet Easter morning—sunny peacefulness broken only by muffled sounds of cursing outside the window. Yes, over my pitiful objections, my husband is taking down our outdoor Christmas lights from the roof. And yes, I know what you’re about to say, dear readers. APRIL? The Shock. The Horror. The Disgust. But wait, hear me out…

Some of you who know me well may have noticed I haven’t posted any beautiful spring photos to my Facebook page. Those first hints of daffodil. The brave crocus poking through the snow. Potted flowers of every hue bringing cheer to newly-opened patios. And heaven forbid, my friends in more tropical locales with their gorgeous climbing hibiscus or whatever (looking at you, Chick Leslie Karst). That’s because it is Mud Season, that fifth, inescapable season we love to hate here in New England. We have no flowers now. Maybe a few tree buds down by the Mass border. Official State Opening Day for planting? Memorial Day, I do not lie. But in the good news department, I was overjoyed recently to glimpse our First Robin. Here he is. Yay.

He looks hungry. Cold. Alone. I bet he appreciated our welcoming holiday lights, after his long trip from Southern Paradise. He has guts, I tell you. A pioneer spirit.

Further confession: Our holiday lights are not confined to the outdoors. I may have strung just a few inside, too. My hubby has gotten so used to them, he hardly notices them anymore (shh!). They go up each year around Thanksgiving, due to full-out dark of night by 4 pm. Usually they’re gone by Valentine’s Day or so, but this year I got a pandemic reprieve. These lights are not garish, multicolored, flashing disco orbs, mind you. They’re infinitesimal, fairy-type lights, entwined with extremely fake but fire-retardant evergreen boughs, in just 3 rooms: living room, kitchen, and my office.

But whyyyyyy, you ask? I guess, for me anyway, these little lights extend the deep-winter hygge inspired by Scandinavian climes. You know, the cozy, comforting concept of “let’s all wrap up in a blanket in front of the fire with marshmallowed-cocoa and a good book, or at the very least, Netflix. Maybe even that WIP.” According to 23 and Me, I am of nearly 100% Irish descent…but I may also be the teensiest bit Swedish. I have to admit, I don’t think the practical, minimalist Swedes would be impressed by my tardiness in bidding holiday lights farvȧl. And the Irish would be downright disgusted.

But the lights do serve a purpose: schedule management, in this work-from-home era. They’re timed to announce important daily appointments: 5:40 in the kitchen for “cocktail” hour; 6:30 in the living room for the Gloom and Doom Report with David Muir; 8 pm in my office for that key slot: Catch up on Work/Writing Not Accomplished Today. Later, when the lights extinguish themselves in staggered fashion, it means it’s time (or past time) for bed. If the office lights zonk out before I do, I’m beyond hope.

The lights could also be viewed, with just a bit of stretch, as harbingers of spring. I strung shiny paper shamrocks below the evergreen in the kitchen, for Paddy’s Day. Green, right?

For everyone still horrified: I have ordered spring doormats. Summer, too, while I was at it. Lobster-themed. And more up-to-season wreaths will be in place as soon as I finish typing this, I swear. Baby steps, folks.

I will do better. By Fourth of July, I should be completely caught up. Happy Spring Hygge to All!

Readers, we won’t ask when you take down your outdoor lights–but what do you consider the first sign of spring in your neck of the woods?

36 thoughts on “In Defense of Spring Hygge

  1. Lisa, I totally understand re: flowers. Our official safe planting date in Ottawa is Victoria Day weekend (May 24 this year), so just 1 week earlier than Memorial Day. Green shoots and tree buds are starting to form but it will be several weeks before we see anything spring blooms.

    For me, the first sign of spring is the melting of the ice on the Rideau Canal which happened this week after a week of record-breaking warmth. The Rideau Canal is the world’s largest natural ice-surface at 7.8 km/5 mi long, and the ice has to be 30 cm (1 foot) thick for skating in the winter.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. We’re on the same schedule, Grace! I signed up for ice skating on a lake trail and they canceled it exactly 2 days later due to ice out. I was so bummed–too warm to skate, but not spring either, ha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m definitely not an ice skater, but I saw a story on the news where a family with hockey players made up a skating ribbon to keep in shape during the pandemic, then adjoining farms kept asking to join up with them and before long, the town had this gorgeous skating ribbon everyone was welcome to use.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I love your decorations! I guess the first sign of spring here would be when I need to turn the air conditioning on. Unfortunately, that happened a few days ago, much too soon for my tastes. But at least it’s still nice at night.

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    1. Marla, very few houses here have air conditioning–but we always endure a 3-week or so stretch in July where we lie around on the floor and gasp like fish from the humidity.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It was the same way when I lived in Seattle, where there was no air conditioning at my apartment or in my office building. There would always be at least one week in the summer with 90+ temperatures that made it impossible to do anything.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, forsythia! (The forsythia wreath is now firmly in place on one of our doors.) Please don’t let your hubby hang out with mine at any conferences, lol, or I’ll be lightless for sure next year.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Lisa, love your honoring of everything in its own time. So your lights time goes until April? I think that is *very* cool. I would keep ours up year round if I could!

    Looking forward to seeing your new doormats, wreaths, etc. 😀

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Just this year, I think, Cynthia–usually they’re gone byFeb. (or maybe even Paddy’s Day). I just heard from Wayfair that my ladybug doormat has been delayed. Is that a sign to keep the snowy city one?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m trying to think what a first sign of spring here in L.A. and honestly can’t. Wait, I know! When the poppies in our front yard bloom. With our four seasons these days being fire, earthquake, drought, and drought, we don’t have to worry about hygge. Just everything else I listed.

    We do have white lights outside all year round. I love the festive glow of it. I’m impressed by how your indoor lights are timed! And love the photos.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Poppies!! Love. (Did you know that they used asbestos for the poppies-in-the-snow scene in the Wizard of Oz?) And I don’t get any credit on the timing. I think I fumbled onto it somehow when I was trying to work the switch.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I also think it’s neat that your inside lights are timed, Lisa. One of my kids strung up fairy lights, and I must admit that it makes things more cozy!

    As far as holiday lights, our neighbor still has theirs up–and we’ve got a wreath displayed on our door.

    The signs of spring for me here are when the cherry blossoms come out and the jacaranda trees are in bloom.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Ooo, I am not alone! I have a season-blind twin on the West Coast! And I adore cherry blossoms. (I don’t think jacaranda trees would make it here, but I’m no expert.) I always loved the kids’ fairy lights in the tent in The Holiday.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I actually had Christmas down and put away by mid-January, which is a record of sorts for me. But I bought some green and red lights to put up for Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. The green are still up. They are up for Spring. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

    Nothing big. Just a string of lights hanging from the balcony above mine to add a little festive to my condo complex.

    And I have three strings, red white and blue, that I will weave together to have up this summer between Memorial Day and the 4th.

    I really need to figure out something to do in the fall before the Orange lights I bought are appropriate for Halloween. And I’d love to find some pastel lights for Easter.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Mark, so pleased you also enjoy festive lights! My trick is to keep the red, white and blue going from Memorial Day all the way through Labor Day. (Maybe even a little longer, ahem, since it’s still sunny and summerish here.) Then it’s straight on to Halloween, because Pumpkin Spice lattes and beers are already in the stores, so…

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  7. I firmly believe that it’s a-okay to keep your fairly lights up year-round. But, alas, Robin insists on taking the ones on the front porch down by the end of January. She says it gives us something to look forward to when we restring them the coming November. Perhaps she’s right. And since the daylight remains fairly constant year-round here, being so close to the equator, they aren’t as important as elsewhere. But they’re so FUN!

    As for signs of spring here in Hawai’i, yes, they are less pronounced. But we do have them: the cherry blossoms up in Waimea, the Jacaranda screaming out in purple, and the end to the rainy season. (Though we had at least 2 inches last night, so the rainy season obviously extends past winter in these parts. Okay, so it lasts pretty much all year. But we do have MORE rain in Feb. and March. A lot more…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Robin has a good point. That is true about looking forward to stringing lights up.

      I feel like the rain in Hawai’i is so nice. From what I remember, whenever I got caught in the rain there, it was pleasant and warm. (Or maybe I’m recalling things through a rosy lens?)

      Liked by 2 people

  8. March and April are our snowiest months in Colorado, so I always look forward to the huge, wet snowfalls that melt away to reveal the crocus, grape hyacinth, and daffodils valiantly reaching toward the sun. And, of course, the grass that immediately turns green as soon as the sun shines.I always wonder which of the storms will be the last of the season.

    I think year-round twinkle lights seem cheery in every season. Keep ’em up, Lisa!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Like New Hampshire, our first sign of Spring is mud. But, we’re up in the sixties today, so I’m not complaining!
    Lisa, there’s no reason you shouldn’t leave your lovely fairy lights up year round. After all, it gets dark every day at some point.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Ah, spring in Central Oregon. As we like to say around here, “I remember that day.”

    We don’t have much of a spring, and it’s not unusual to have random snowfall as late as Independence Day. I look for longer days, fewer freezes, and brave bulbs peeking out of their earthen homes.

    And I love the lights, Lisa, no matter what time of year! Cheer is always in season. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I knew I could count on you for cheer, Kathy! You’re right–always in season. Maybe we can have a contest this year to see who has the latest snow. Ha?

      Liked by 1 person

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