During a hazy, post-Christmas Facebook trawl, I came across this piece on a delightful concept called ‘Romjul’ that we Brits need to culturally appropriate post haste!
Lauren Laverne (yes, cool Lauren Laverne off the telly) explains that instead of enduring the oh-so-awks time between Christmas and New Year with Ferrero Rocher salads and mince pie on toast*, the Norwegians have another way.
Enter, the period of ‘Romjul’ – a time for rest and recuperation. Getting air and the opportunity to breathe – but not in a boring, middle-class ‘oooh lets go for a jolly’ way. Oh no. This is the Norwegian way, and is therefore stylish in that inimitably effortless Nordic way. Less Hunter wellies, more hipster hikes.
Effectively the celebration is about hibernation – yippee! And loving yourself – double yippee! This is a time for reconnection. With family, the earth and yourself. And maybe a little Instagram. Seriously check out the 21,386 posts about it. You’ll lose a day of the period drooling over babies, puppies, lust-worthy décor and actual, real winters. You know, the ones with snow. Sigh.
Technically it isn’t about possessions but for those of you who simply can’t survive without shopping, the tradition does make room for retail – apparently the Norwegians have quite specific etiquette rules around returning gifts and even special ‘Romjul’ sales.
This is something my family and I have done without having a name for it, albeit in a more ‘jesus my jeans won’t do up, get out of the house now, go, go, go’ kind of way, as opposed to anything this deliberately planned, and it’s something I love.
I suppose, you could describe it as Christmas done mindfully. Rather than just survive the period till you haul your ass back to the office, you choose to use the vacation time to recover from the previous 12 months’ exertions and get ready for the next 12, and give yourself permission to work with your circadian rhythms – something good for us all.
So in the interests of being on-trend, go for a traipse through the forest with the dog, get muddy and chilled, then get in the bath doused liberally with the ‘best’ oils, light the Jo Malone’s and sink into the sofa in your new PJ’s with a cocoa – it’s the new British way don’t you know!
One should have been four years old in Romjula
when the Christmas lights were shining all day long
and the world was a house with four walls,
where the very bliss was a grandmother’s lap.
See you in the New Year all – have a good one!
P.S. if you have some time in between dress hunting and new year smooching, take a look at The Pool. Founded and written by Britain’s very best female writers and editors, it’s my favourite place to visit for informative, funny and clever content. It’s my 2016 mission to (probably get drunk first) pitch them, when I think of something clever enough to say!
*NB There is NOTHING wrong with Ferrero Rocher salad and mince pie on toast and as far as I am concerned they need to be enshrined in law as part of the annual festivities