Holiday traditions: Something old, something new

In Holidays, Tonkadale Greenhouse, Winter by tonka_adminLeave a Comment

We’ve been discussing traditions quite a bit in the blog these last couple months – ‘tis the season, after all. This is, perhaps, the time of year when traditions are upheld and honored more than any other time.

Do you find new traditions you’d like to start, or do you stick staunchly to the old tried and true? We like to do a little of both. Perhaps it’s because Tonkadale Greenhouse is a part of so many families’ traditions year after year, but we also see and hear each year that we are becoming part of new traditions being formed (especially annual spruce top pots with Mom, sisters, sisters-in-law, friends. And Christmas trees).

We love our old traditions, but we’re game for something new, especially if it speaks to our hearts, minds and well-being. After all, working with plants and people is personal. We relish being in this space with living things, and we love what we do. In the spirit of “new” traditions (new to us, anyway), we are ready to embrace two new-to-us concepts that are just starting to get their due here in the states: hygge and friluftsliv. Gesundheit!

Hygge (kind of pronounced whooo-gah)

Practicing hygge and friluftsliv at Tonkadale GreenhouseThis is an old Danish term that is relatively new to the U.S. It can’t be directly translated but comes close to “cozy.” In short, it’s anything that gives a cozy feeling and is usually enjoyed with loved ones. Spending time by the fire with family and friends while sipping __________ (insert favorite warm beverage here – chai, cocoa, coffee, wassail. . . .), curled under a throw and enjoying the moment, is hygge. It has some relation to practicing mindfulness, being in and enjoying a moment for the sake of enjoying the moment. And, of course, being cozy while doing so.

Hygge is about focusing on the small things in life that bring comfort. In the middle of the busy holiday season, when often the spirit of joy and giving are intertwined with the stress of getting-it-all-done and getting-it-all-perfect, we could use a reminder about slowing down, enjoying the small things, and getting cozy. So we think hygge is a new “tradition,” or state-of-mind, worth adopting. At least once in a while, and winter in Minnesota is the perfect time to give it a go. Hygge can be the cozy feeling one gets when wandering through the greenhouse, too, enjoying the warm, fuzzy feelings. The smells of damp air and soil are so refreshing and nurturing.

How will you hygge this holiday season?

If you’d like to explore hygge in greater depth, there are several books that were released in 2016 and many more to come in 2017.

Check out this You Tube Video to hear how to say hyyge correctly, and how Danes practice it!


That must just roll off the tongue for some, but whether it’s easy or difficult to say, the concept is simple enough. Friluftsliv translates as “Free Air Life.” This philosophy of living is about being in tune with and living closely connected to nature. In a more manageable sense for those of us who live (and like living) urban and suburban lifestyles, dabbling in friluftsliv is possible – no need to go off the grid.

Practicing and friluftsliv at Tonkadale GreenhouseTo practice friluftsliv, just go outside and do something. Hike, ski, walk, enjoy nature. Minnesotans are well-suited for this – we are a hardy bunch! This is another concept that can incorporate mindfulness, just being in and focusing on nature. All you really need to get started is your will (well, warm clothes help, too). Winter is great time to begin to practice this rewarding philosophy of life. Rather than being cooped up and restless, go outside and be in nature.

Here is a good article about friluftsliv that includes an 11-minute documentary called Finding Friluftsliv:

These “new” old traditions and philosophies are in tune with what we do here at Tonkadale – plants and nature go hand in hand, and a cozy atmosphere shared with friends (all of you!) is one of our favorite things. For traditions to work, they must be passed on. So we’ll start, and pass these on to you.

Happy Holidays – and may you experience hygge and friluftsliv this season and all throughout the new year! Here’s to a cozy new year and living a free air life!

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