I was Skyping with a friend who lives in London earlier this year and we discussed some of the magazines she had sent me. We were on the topic of Hygge — something she learned while dating a cute Danish boy — and it being mentioned more in press. It is something we both knew we want more of in our lives and are determined to have this winter.
What is Hygge?
Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah or hue-gah) is a Danish term that doesn’t have one translation — but is used to describe warm feelings of happiness, comfort, and coziness — image the feeling of the holiday season all winter long — minus the mind-numbing stress.
Winters in Denmark are long and cold. It’s like you’ve been dropped into the Lord of the Rings and are heading off to visit Mordor long and cold. The sun sets around 3 pm every day. 3 pm, y’all. I don’t do well with the shorter winter hours and tend to do a little stir-crazy after being cooped up for long periods of time indoors. I can’t imagine what I’d do if I lived in Denmark and experienced those days.
Yet, I find myself near the end of a long, arduous election year ready for my own immersive Hygge experience. Now. I’ve strung fairy (Christmas) lights throughout the house and have been putting out blankets, scented candles, and have been stocking up on different teas for warm soothing pots of liquid comfort anyone can enjoy.
Bring Hygge into your home
1. Spend time with loved ones. Friends and family bring out the best in us and when they leave you’re left with warm feelings that will fill your days during the frigid days and nights.
2. Eat tasty food. During the late autumn and winter months, we eat a lot of soups and stews and roast everything. Bitter cold demands a warmth only a hearty broth or a roasted pan of veg can deliver.
3. Candles. Use candles everywhere. I use soy and beeswax candles to bring to bring a soft, warm glow that are lost with our LED bulbs. If you have small children or pets, consider using warm incandescent bulbs or battery operated candles.
4. Warm drinks. Coffee is my every day go-to. When the days shorten and nights grow colder, I reach for hot tea. Green and black for afternoons, and homemade chai and hot chocolate for an extra treat. If you need something with a little more oomph, try a glass of mulled wine or a hot toddy.
5. Cozy textiles. Now’s the time to use those gorgeous throws and plush blankets. Drape the back of sofas and chairs with blankets to snuggle under. Family and friends will be all too happy to take full advantage of their cozy warmth.
6. Take care of you. Self-care is a trendy topic, but it’s also essential. Add a richer moisturizer to your skincare routine. Don’t feel guilty about curling up in bed with a book soon after sunset. Ignore the alarm clock. Write in your journal. Do whatever it is that you have to do to help that lift that weight off of your shoulders.
7. Update your home design. Add items to your home that you love and bring nature in. I like playing with textiles, my brightly colored Haitian paper vases and whatever fresh flowers my local market has on hand.
8. Spend time in front of the fireplace. Wear your most colorful woolen socks, prop your toes in front of the fireplace and say ahhhh. Bonus points if you have a book and a cup of your favorite warm beverage. If you you don’t have one, a firepit in the backyard will work wonders, but I’d suggest leaving your shoes on.
Some of favorite proprietors and products for Hygge:
TeaRex Tea — I’ve known the owner, Wayne, for many years and his products are top of the line. If you order from him, tell him to bring back the Palm Court blend: http://tearex.com/ (Not an affiliate link.)
Books on Hygge: