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Hearty Blogs The Magic

Mary Poppins Meets Hygge: Let Warmth and Light Be Their Medicine

children candle hygge martinmas parent by magic

A certain magical soul-nourishment happens when you give a child a floating walnut shell candle….a glowing lantern….or a luminous den! 

Little gestures of warmth and light do for the soul what vitamin D does for the body: remedy the lack of sunshine, counter the chill and soften the extremity of winter.


Deeper yet…these small heartening moments of Glow enter into their little bodies as heralds of good news:

“Life is Good” the candle whispers in the child’s mother tongue of simple absorption and sensory experience.

The gift of radiance goes straight into their hearts…as subliminal, immersible, manifest proof that all is well. 


So all winter long we like to be gratuitous with bringing the glow indoors, lingering within the adventure of plain, pure, simple light and the richness it brings to our home.


Here are some ways we bring in the warmth and light…


When early nightfall creeps in and crankiness abounds…it is the perfect time to pull out the lanterns and signify the victory of light!


Soon the childrens’ hearts mirror the soft, warm glow.


Lanterns beckon and invite a gentle, reflective atmosphere for play as well.


My 10 year old would set up her little toys around these “walls of light” and play in the reverent hush.  (always supervise!)


The sense of wonder that accompanies dinnertime is palpable as favourite lanterns become our centrepieces…


We take in the winking red embers of autumn’s last breath as a fire-seed, to tend the hearth of our own hearts through the whole winter.


There is a beautiful tradition in the Waldorf community, where families join together in a parade of light!  This magical in-breath is known as Martinmas, when lanterns are lit and songs are sung to store up ethereal warmth and strength for winter.  


In the rush towards Christmas most people don’t even know about this festival, but you can easily begin a tradition of hand-made simple glass jar or paper-mache lanterns for your family.  Just google “waldorf martinmas lanterns” for ideas, and enjoy the sacred buffer that hand-held beacons of light bring to your November.


This is one of the magic wands in our lives!

Ever since the first day of grade 1 all my kids have risen willingly to face the dawn, no resistance.  Simply because —


they so relish this soft whispering warmth we call call “the heat” — a gift from the hot air register each winter morning.


5 more delicious minutes of roasting their toes and closing their eyes!

Just that extra little gratuity…

for me too!

When my 3 year old drags me out of bed we head straight to the Heat for a bonus snuggle 🙂

It really is quite magical, the power & beauty of ‘hygge.’


So many hassles and battle zones can be melted away

with a bit of warmth or light.

A hot bath,

a warm hug,

a cup of tea,

fresh baking,

hot water bottle,

cushy blankets,

the sunny spot on the floor,

and —


Another bonus way to soak up some warmth….

When my guys were little I would fill my arms with hot laundry the minute the dryer dinged and shout, “Hot Laundry!!!” 

They would come screaming and running and we would all tumble around in one big heaping, generous nest of sheets and shirts.

The fresh and cozy embrace of our whole family’s clothing all intermingled in one happy load — this is what memories are made of!


And then we would sort and fold it together!

Adding a measure of warmth is like a spoonful of sugar — it helps the medicine go down so chores can be accomplished in joy.

These are the small daily gestures that strengthen and lighten the family atmosphere.

So much quality of life is generated with this verb, “warming.”

Heat kindled in unexpected places

mirrors warm eyes and generous hearts…

So many little havens of comfort we can offer one another.

What simple pockets of hidden warmth can you unearth in your home?

Start a new tradition to infuse winter with even more glow!

One last spark we dearly love:

Have you ever made walnut shell candle boats?

It is a most magical way to end Christmas Eve in shared reverie.

(Cracking walnuts is half the fun….)

  1. Take a perfectly split walnut half and drip wax in the centre.
  2. Nestle a short, narrow birthday candle (you can get beeswax ones that are soooo lovely).
  3. Float in a bowl of water and enjoy them as they swirl about…

This is a great opportunity to teach candle etiquette and safety. Encourage observation over touch. Notice how the boats all seek each other’s company. Perhaps soft breath will blow the boat without extinguishing the flame. Maybe a story will present itself as you all watch in wonder…and soak up the nutritious glow.

If you enjoyed this post you might like Gigi’s facebook group, “Playing the Ramshackle Way.” Gigi is the author of the children’s book A Whole Other Magic, available on Amazon.




  • charlotte lusson

    Love the glimpse into the coziness of your loving home….

  • Alisa

    Love all of this ❤️ Magical!

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