How Music Heals and We Need a Little Hygge Right Now

I’ll start by saying that this is not a sponsored post. Remember the days when bloggers just raved about things they liked/loved/obsessed over, solely because they liked/loved/obsessed over it?

I’m about to do that.

You see, yesterday, an album was released. No, not a cd, not a hot track. An album consisting of eight musical tracks, when listened in succession, can heal and uplift a broken heart. Can give your soul a hug. Can lift you out of a fog and make you smile and cry happy tears.

I have tried so hard as an adult to be that person who waits until after Thanksgiving to allow Christmas to explode into my every day life. I turn a blind eye to the shelves in the stores. I ignore the twitch to start moving furniture and decor around to prepare for the bins of stuff I keep in storage to deck my halls.

But this week has been different.

This week, I’ve had a hard time laughing or smiling. I’ve had a hard time allowing myself to enjoy simple things, because little things seem insignificant compared to the deeply upsetting and horrific things happening in our country.

So yesterday, I made a decision to do something to take care of myself. I lit a warm, delicious smelling candle on my desk. I put on my cozy warm slippers and wrapped a blanket that my grandmother knitted for me around my legs. I hung a couple pictures of Sean and Lily on my bulletin board next to my desk, and I sat down to work. I made myself a fresh cup of hazelnut creme coffee.

And here’s the important part: I went to iTunes, dropped 7.99 on Leslie Odom Jr.’s new album, Simply Christmas, pressed play, and let the warmth and coziness of my little office nook and music wrap me up in a hug full of hygge.

Huh? Hygge? What’s that?

Hygge (pronounced ‘hooga’), essentially means a feeling of coziness. The Danish practice ‘hygge’ by creating an atmosphere of comfort, warmth and love amid an otherwise chilly, bleak season. Hygge is good for the mind, body and soul and typically entails surrounding oneself with the warmth of candlelight and cozy blankets, good food, and the love of friends and family in the home. There are things that you can do to help practice hygge, but the important thing to remember is that hygge is a feeling. It’s peace, and goodness. It’s nostalgia of childhood.

It’s happiness.

(More info on hygge here and here.)

So why is a new Christmas album so important? I needed some comfort, and for me, music heals my soul. It helps me feel less broken. And this album? It is comfort, healing, soulful music that let’s me sit and listen and feel all the feels, including happiness.

I imagine what it must’ve been like to be of the generation to hear Nat King Cole sing for the first time. The smoothness of his voice, the ease at which he sung a melody or phrase, so beautifully, so simply, so elegant and classic. It moves you. It embeds itself into your heart.

Photo Credit: Susan Stripling

Photo Credit: Susan Stripling

The same can be said for Simply Christmas. Familiar songs you know all the words to, with a smooth jazz style, with LOJ’s vocalizations, brings a feeling of warmth a comfort. It’s not just one or two tracks. It’s listening to the album from start to finish that unleashes good feelings.

Whether you’re an avid Hamilton fan or have never heard of Leslie Odom Jr, now is the time. If you buy one thing for yourself this season, treat yo’self to some musical chicken noodle soup for the soul.

As Dumbledore said, “Ah, music, a magic beyond all we do here!”

Simply Christmas will be in regular rotation for me this season and probably for the rest of my life. Here’s the track list:

  1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  2. First Noel
  3. My Favorite Things
  4. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
  5. The Christmas Song
  6. Merry Christmas Darling
  7. Winter Song
  8. Ave Maria

My personal favorite? Winter Song. I didn’t expect to feel so moved, but by the time I reached the 7th track, my heart was ready to emerge from my chest, get a bear hug from this melody, and be safely tucked back into my chest as a lump slowly rose in my throat.

To my husband, I’m sorry, Christmas come early this year. And it’s not a bad thing.

To Mr. Odom Jr, thank you for this beautiful gift and sharing your talent with the world. If you make another holiday album (is next year too soon?), please consider River, Silent Night, Oh Holy Night, Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy (duet with Chris Jackson?), and White Christmas.

So if that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will, but if you come to my home this holiday season, you’ll likely be listening to this album. I’ll give you cocoa and a warm blanket and we’ll soak up some happiness together.

Happy hygge.

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