When the temperatures fall and the light fades, staying in and bundling up feels natural. In the parts of the world that are blanketed with snow for most of the year, residents know how to utilize time outside in the cold winter months.
Outdoor living is such a large part of the Nordic culture, that Norway even has a word for this cultural phenomenon, friluftsliv [FREE-loofts-leev]. This concept is about connecting with nature and fitting into the natural rhythm of the world around us. Skiing, sledding, walking, and bathing (brrrr) are common winter pastimes in Scandinavia and are all a part of this “open-air life” (friluftsliv).
This year is different. Finding ways to spend time outside has never had the weight that it does in 2021. For a lot of people, it is the safest way to see friends and family. We can all take a cue from Nordic culture and not only find balance and rejuvenation in connection with nature but a way to connect with others during isolation.
You don’t have to be an outdoor sports participant to take advantage of winter activities. Although, it is a good place to start if you are wondering how to get outside. Cross country skis and snowshoes are typically available to rent in areas with regular snowfall and many parks have free trails for both! If you plan to head out, check snow conditions online, bring a buddy if possible and make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks (plus a thermos filled with a warm drink for when you’re done). Look up local sledding hills if you are more of thrill seeker!
Many of us have heard the saying, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing,” that hails from the Nordic countries. This philosophy is critical to the outdoor lifestyle; emphasizing that with the right gear, there’s no need to stay inside during the winter months. Wool is your best friend for staying warm and dry. Naturally moisture wicking, wool will insulate and help your body keep a steady temperature.
If you are not into the idea of a ski day or a polar plunge, a bonfire might be more your speed. Gathering around with a nice cup of tea, or something stronger, in a naturally social distanced setting, is a great way to socialize safely.
With a hot drink, a wool blanket, and one of our outdoor rugs, you can fully transform your outdoor space into a comfortable meeting spot.
Want to recreate our bonfire at home? Here’s what you’ll need:
Set the scene – Eco-friendly plastic products are a great option to withstand the elements. Carry what you need in a Hinza tote, in any color, to protect against moisture. These bags stand on their own, making them ideal for toting food and drink – plus they are easy to spot against the snow!
We’ve also repurposed the Horredsmatten plastic rugs to create more comfortable surfaces outside. These rinse clean and are machine washable.
Warm up – Make it easy with Soltickan firestarters and matches from Sweden – always handy to have around. Utilize next level tips and tricks with the Norwegian Wood book on all things chopping, drying and stacking. Hot drinks are an essential part of staying cozy outside. Whether you are more of a coffee or tea person, we have you covered with our Biking Viking roast from Peace coffee or any variety of the Tea Centre of Stockholm teas! And don’t forget the wool. From blankets, to wool wrist warmers, and of course a classic sweater, you’ll be warm from the inside out.
Essential Snacks – Mix up your snack offerings with individual skewers for roasting! You can’t lose with crackers, like the sea salt Knekkebrød, and cheese over the fire – a savory s’more that can be customized to your liking. Any cheese with a high melting point will work (a firm farmer’s cheese, halloumi, paneer, queso blanco, even curds!).
Make it fun – Whether you host a knitting circle, have a chat, or play kubb outside on the lake, there are plenty of options for outdoor activities. Bird watching, snowperson building contest, food coloring snow painting, the list goes on!
Friluftsliv, at its core, is open and available to anyone. These are just some of the hundreds of ways to be outside this winter. We are here if you need anything to help you along the way – Ingebretsen’s online store is open, and curbside pick up and in-store shopping are continuing as well at East Lake Street.
Stop and see us virtually or in person!