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December 16: Fika

You didn't think you were going to go through 24 days of this advent calendar without having me mention fika did you?

Fika is the word for coffee break in Swedish. It can be used as both a verb and a noun ("Let's fika!" or "Let's have a fika!"), and it's an important part of Swedish culture.

Fika is the moment that you take a break, often with a cup of coffee, but alternatively with tea or juice for the younger crowd, and find a baked good to pair with it. Fika can be savory too, an afternoon snack calling for a cup of coffee and an open-faced sandwich.

The essential component of fika is that it's not just downing a cup of coffee and carrying on with your day, or grabbing a coffee in a disposable to-go cup. It's about making time to stop whatever you are doing and take pause in your routine. Basically, it's the slow life version of the coffee break. 

Fika happens any day of the week - in fact it's the perfect excuse for a work break - but in my opinion, weekends make for the best fika. It's the time when fika can drag on and on, sometimes lasting the entire afternoon if you're lucky. This is when you have time to sit down and have a long chat with a friend. The time to refill a cup of coffee and keep reading your book. 

At the beginning of this advent calendar, I wrote about adventskaffe, the holiday version of fika. An organized adventskaffe can feel like a little much to take on, especially as the holiday season starts going into overtime. A simple fika is a little easier. Taking 15 or 20 minutes to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee and a little something to go with it (chances are you've got a holiday cookie or two by this point) is the perfect pause in a hectic schedule.

In Swedish we have the expression julmys. Mys comes from the word mysig, which essentially means cozy; the Swedish equivalent of hygge. So julmys equates to Christmas coziness, and I think fika is definitely a part of that.

This weekend, create a cozy, slow moment just to sit and be. 

Call up a friend and invite them over for an impromptu fika, or go visit one of your favorite cafes.

Make an extra French press and read the newspaper just a little longer than you were intending on doing. 

Going outdoors this weekend? Take a thermos of coffee with you and wrap up some cookies to have a fika outside. 

Sit down and ponder for awhile. 

Trevlig fika!
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