11th November 2022
The Danish practise of hygge – roughly translated as ‘cosiness’ – has swept the world in recent years. We think hygge’s Cornish cousin, klys, merits equal attention this festive season. What does making a klys Christmas mean?
Though the Cornish word klys means cosy or snug, enjoying a klys Christmas isn’t just about cocooning beneath blankets indoors. Nothing makes time spent inside feel cosier than having made the most of winter’s daylight hours with invigorating outdoor activities, enjoyed together.
To make the most of your klys Christmas in Cornwall, wintery walks could be top of your to-do list. Wandering windswept landscapes offers a bracing contrast to time spent on the sofa, making your retreat back inside all the cosier. And by visiting in winter, you’re likely to enjoy even the most popular beaches and clifftops to yourselves.
With Cornwall famous for its mizzle – a combination of mist and drizzle – it’s worth remembering the old rule that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. Wrap up in warm, waterproof clothing and bring along a hot thermos to maximise your enjoyment of the great outdoors.
Struggling to get the family out of the house? Try giving your walk a focus, such as foraging for ingredients. Yellow, coconut-scented gorse flowers make a tasty tea that’s prized as a digestive aid – which may well come in handy come Boxing Day.
To make tea for two people, pick two tablespoons-worth of yellow flowers, bruise a little to release their scent, then infuse for 7-10 minutes before serving. As the plant is notoriously prickly, protect your hands with a thick pair of gloves while picking.
Otherwise, why not don a pair of binoculars and try a spot of seal-spotting. Cornwall is home to two species, the grey seal and the common or harbour seal, and there’s plenty of seal hot-spots to be explored along the Cornish coast. Top choices include the sheltered Mutton Cove at Godrevy Point and Porthgwarra and Gwennap Head, near Penzance.
Be sure to keep a respectful distance – especially as grey seals give birth during the winter months – while you enjoy seeing these beautiful creatures in their natural environment. Read our Out in the Wild blog for more about safely spotting coastal wildlife.
If you’re feeling brave, why not start a new tradition? Though they are not for the faint-hearted, Christmas-day dips in the sea have long been popular in Cornwall.
These days, the wellbeing benefits from a quick plunge in cold water – not least an exhilarating rush of endorphins – are better understood. And there’s nothing cosier than warming up afterwards. Make sure you prepare for a dip to stay safe and sound. The RNLI and Outdoor Swimmer magazine both have some further reading to aid your preparations.
Away from the coast, there’s plenty of outdoor heritage sites to be explored. Ancient ruins abound: from ancient hillforts and villages such as the Iron Age site Carn Euny in Penzance, to the Bronze Age stone circles and monoliths found from West Cornwall to Bodmin Moor. But if wet weather puts a dampener on things, there’s still plenty of ways to enliven your stay.
Christmas markets abound with handmade gifts, and food and drink produced in the county. The Made in Cornwall Christmas Fair in Truro exclusively hosts traders awarded Made in Cornwall status. We’ve written a festive list of other markets taking place this year.
Give a klys flavour to your festive table with supplies from farmers markets or farm shops. Try a wedge of the unique nettle-wrapped Cornish yarg on your cheese platter, or adding a Cornish label to your list of usual tipples.
Pictured: Padstow Christmas Festival
In Penwith, west Cornwall, the team at Ninemaidens use the fine honey gathered from their hives to make their mead. Or for a non-alcoholic locally-sourced option, Adrift by Rock’s Pentire is a botanical spirit made using coastal rock samphire and sea salt.
Christmas can all too easily become a stressful time of year. Making the most of the daylight hours in the outdoors, focusing in on what’s around us, discovering, creating traditions or stocking up on local delicacies, can make time spent indoors together all the better. Why not try a klys Christmas by the sea?