The fun and festivities are over for another year, the mince pies are all gone and all that’s left to contemplate is three months of cold, wet misery until the sun peeps out from behind the clouds again.
But is it really so bad? The British winter might be wet, cold and blowy but, in some parts of the world, these are considered to be virtues.
In Denmark, for example, hygge is a national phenomenon, a lifestyle trend all by itself. It’s been replicated in Germany, with gemütlichkeit, and in the Netherlands, with gezelligheid.
Hygge, pronounced ‘hoo-ga’ doesn’t really translate into just one word. It’s more of a feeling. ‘Cosy contentment’ might be a good description.
It’s that feeling you get when you wrap up in your favourite jumper and sit by the rain-spattered window with a good book. Or that time when you took a bracing winter walk and came home to a roaring fire and a cup of cocoa.
Hygge is now tied up with the Danes’ national identity – as much as sunshine is to Australians. You could call it making a virtue out of a necessity. But it seems to work: Denmark is always top, or close to top, of the list of the world’s happiest nations.
There’s even a Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. Its CEO, Meik Wiking, who’s written a book on the subject, says that hygge is "a defining feature of our cultural identity and an integral part of the national DNA".
Fancy a little bit of hygge in your own life? Did you know we have a day dedicated to beating the winter blues and making us all feel a little more cosy and content?
National Cuddle-Up Day, which takes place on 6th January every year, gives you a great excuse to get out for a walk with your dog and come home to a warm fire and a hearty snuggle on the sofa.
It could do you some good as well. Cuddling releases oxytocin, which promotes a feeling of wellbeing and can reduce pain. Research shows that it can even reduce the chance of heart disease and help with blood pressure and anxiety.
And if you want your pooch to stay just as cosy during those winter months, check out our great range of thermal dog coats, fleece jumpers and warm blankets.