Day 8, Story 8: What the Gnome Knows

In a far-northern birch forest lives an old gnome,

Who’ll tell you his secret, if you hike to his home.

On a grand red-capped mushroom, he’ll ask you to sit,

As he gets ready to replay his signature hit.


It’s a patented blend for something called hygge—

I’ll define what that is, so please don’t get shook up.

This content, cared for feeling, it’s really quite snug,

Like post-sledding cocoa, in a favorite mug.


His recipe comes from a century of tinkering,

A perfectionist streak, and much wishful thinkering.

This talent, it seems, is quite common in gnomes,

With their keen nose for color and ear for palindromes.


Just when it seems that he’s ready to share,

He’ll solemnly pause, for a true pinky swear.

“You must cultivate hygge in the spirit intended,

Never coercive, cajoling, or offensive!”


Hygge, he‘ll explain, calls for kindness and ease,

Like tea from a friend concerned by your sneeze.

“To sit still in this world, you have to stand tall,

All the rushing and fussing—that’s not hygge at all!”


Once he’s convinced that you do understand,

He’ll begin to disclose, and make no demands.

As the knowing gnome gets going, his monolog flows,

Are you getting impatient? Fine, here’s how it goes…


“Take fresh-fallen snow from the top of the world,

Two shakes of a pug’s tail, naturally curled.

Add sweet swirling steam from slowly mulled cider,

Carefully poured from Grandma’s prized china.


Plus a dash of a crush from someone quite smitten,

Mixed with three hairs from a curious kitten.

If that kitten’s grandfather is an eighth taco cat,

Throw in ten chipotles, extra potent at that.


From the silk-lined pocket of a queen’s cashmere coat,

Get a golden goose feather, and child’s thank you note.

The charm of a dolphin is also essential!

Along with the blue of a spring robin’s eggshell.


The last on the list, you can easily source,

Just a laugh from a fairy, and a neigh from a horse.

Oh and on New Year’s Day, catch sun through a window—

Holiday candlelight will work in a pinch, though.”


That’s it, hygge seeker! That’s all that you’ll need,

The life’s work of a gnome, impressive indeed.

Yet I can’t help but notice, you look quite concerned,

Your brow is now furrowed, your smile downturned.


You think this formulation is too complicated?

I’m glad you are honest, so the truth can be stated.

I shared that same worry, then a smile lit his face,

Because up the gnome’s sleeve lies a glorious ace.


What he said next was a whale-sized relief,

To you this rare knowledge, I shall now bequeath.

These are the words that danced from his mouth,

Giving me peace for my long journey south.


“You’ve listened intently, to preambles and whatnot,

So I’ll tell you, dear friend, that there is a shortcut!

You’ve shown that you want to live wisely and well,

That’s a wish I respect, as you no doubt can tell.


The quick route to hygge is frankly the best,

All it takes is good care, perspective, and rest.

It’s something you and your loved ones can easily make,

Just spend time together, read a book, perhaps bake.”


That’s magic of hygge—it’s all in your hands,

No ingredients needed from faraway lands.

The gnome’s gift to you is a truth you can use,

To create peaceful moments, however you choose.


From a small man of myth, it’s a lot to take in.

Your expression is thoughtful, your mind awakened.

Congrats and be well, may joy touch your days,

I hope you find comfort in the gnome’s hygge ways.

The end

(Note: Remaining holiday stories can be found here as they are released each day through 12/24, and ever after.)

12 Christmas stories for 12 days!

You are invited to read 12 festively original stories in the 12 days leading up to Christmas.

I was eager to do some creative writing, and the holidays provided plenty of inspiration. You can find the stories posted here each day, December 13th through 24th.

These tales will vary greatly in tone and topic. Hoping it will add some fun to your holiday season!