Right now I’m curled up in my parents’ home in Gig Harbor, which just lost power in the wind storm. Because the house’ sits in a secluded spot in the woods, they lose power several times per year and never know if electricity will return in a few hours or a few days. One Christmas, we lost power for a full week.
However, despite the fact that the wind storm has just plunged my family into darkness for the unforeseeable future, the holidays in our home remain infused with hygge. We have a wood-burning stove, a pot of coffee, stacks of reading material, and plenty of candles.
Recently, I read about an adorable tradition in Iceland called Jólabókaflóðið (“flood of books”), where loved ones gift books to each other on Christmas Eve, then spend the rest of the evening snuggled up at home reading and drinking hot chocolate. To celebrate tōji, or the winter solstice, people in Japan take hot yuzu baths to warm up, lift their moods, and soothe chapped skin.
I’ve learned over the years that homes feel the coziest when you choose a space that feels true to your needs and when you maintain social connections and a healthy gratitude practice. How do you keep your home feeling snug and festive? (Psst: if you’re interested in buying a new home this winter—or any other time—reach out to Pickett Street at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-502-5397!)
This week, I chatted with the Pickett Street team about how they keep the hygge flowing in their homes this holiday season. Here’s what they told me:
Jesse Moore (Owner/Lead Listing Agent)
“I love starting a fire in our wood fireplace, and teaching my kids how to do the same. Jill and I will sit next to it and play a game of cribbage, while the kids take turns placing albums on our record player.
All of the events in the area can be a little overwhelming to me, with the weather, traffic, congestion, waitlists at restaurants, etc—so I limit myself to getting a real wreath at a tree farm and finding the Christmas spirit in the warmth of our friend’s home, rather than a big excursion to some production.”
Margaret Smith (Director of Operations)
“I always have a real Christmas tree. In my last duplex I had three LOL! This year I purchased a Nordman tree from Stocker Farms in Snohomish, WA. These trees are sturdy, can hold up to a 10 lb ornament my grandmother made (so says the 15-year-old kid that was helping me), and retain their needles. It’s the best when it comes to filling your home with yummy smells.
When I get home at night I like to flick on my tree lights (multi-colored, old-fashioned large bulbs), light my gas fireplace, light my candles, and sit in silence for at least 10 minutes. It’s the best way to decompress.
The Seattle winters have never put a damper on my mood. There’s too much to do and explore, and it’s just another reason to cozy up inside my warm home or a coffee shop! I went with my family on Saturday night to view the Woodland Park Zoolights—I highly recommend if you’re looking for something to do. I also love Snowflake Lane in Bellevue, WA- they have a parade every evening at 7pm and it’s truly magical. Anything that adds more magic to my life is an instant ‘yes.’”
Nicole Leong (Buyers Agent)
“I grew up getting a fresh Christmas tree each year, and I’m still a live-tree advocate. I will usually make a new wreath, garland, or ornament to add to our growing Christmas collection each year. Having the tree lit, Christmas lights on the house, and the fireplace on definitely makes the house seem happier and cozy.
I’m originally from Hawaii, and not a huge winter sports person, so the first couple years I definitely did get a little down with Washington’s winter weather. However, Seattle offers so many seasonal activities to check out—tree lightings, zoo lights, the downtown gingerbread displays, the Seattle Boat Parade, the entire town of Leavenworth. If I need a quick pick-me-up, I’ll walk around our neighborhood and look at everyone’s holiday decorations and Christmas trees in the windows. The short days provide an excuse to have people over and watch a movie, play boardgames, and spend quality time together.”
Sarah Troske (Team Admin & Transaction Coordinator)
“With the cold, dark, and damp winter nights, I like to cuddle up on the couch and watch holiday movies! I enjoy classics like Holiday Inn, White Christmas, and It’s a Wonderful Life. Nice smelling candles are a must as well.
As the years pass and I grow older, the feelings around the holiday change. It’s less about receiving gifts and more about spending time with our loved ones. I am really looking forward to spending quality time with my family, especially with my almost two-year-old nephew, Aiden. Experiencing Christmas through a child’s eyes is so special.”