After the excitement of the holidays subsides, we’re left with cold days and long nights– that’s right, the dog days of Winter are here. While you patiently wait for the sun to return, we’d like to introduce you to hygge: your new best friend that won’t just make you tolerate winter, you’ll love it.
Let’s go over the basics
What is “hygge”? While there’s no direct translation to English, it’s a Danish practice that prioritizes coziness, togetherness, and general contentment. If you’re thinking this sounds quite similar to the holiday season, you’re onto something! The core principles of hygge are often associated with Jul (or Yule, the old Norse Winter celebration), and continue all throughout the season. The idea is that you’re slowing down and adding light to an otherwise dark time of year, emphasizing the importance of self-curated joy.
Now that you know the very basics, you can start planning a winter inspired by the happiest population on Earth!
So, what does it look like in action?
There are many ways to incorporate hygge into your life. Broken down by category, here are some of the most common hygge elements and activities in Denmark.
Hygge for the Household:
- Warm low-lighting lamps, candles, or twinkle lights– no overhead or fluorescent lighting
- Simmer pots/potpourri with seasonal ingredients like cinnamon, cloves, cranberry, and orange
- Comfy seating with plenty of blankets and pillows
- Plant life all around! (You can get a low-maintenance plant if you don’t have a green thumb)
- Music that makes you feel at ease; this could be music that makes you feel nostalgic, slow acoustic ballads, symphonies, anything you want!
- Visit a park, local woods, or other outdoor space (yes, even in the cold! As the Scandinavians say, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!)
- Winter staple such as sledding and ice skating
- Make your favorite comfort foods
- Indulge in warm beverages like hot chocolate, tea, or gløgg
- Take a social media detox
- Read that book you bought 6 months ago and never got around to (we’ve all done it!)
A hygge winter with kids
Slowing down is an essential part of hygge. When your kids are used to a fast-paced schedule between school, extracurricular activities, and playdates, this can be a tough adjustment. Will you get “I’m bored” complaints? Probably, but the good news is, you can slowly introduce hygge into your household and tailor it to your family’s needs.
Here are some hygge activities that your children will love:
- Limit screen time, utilize sensory bins instead for imaginary play
- Fill a bubble bath with colored and scented bubbles
- Build a hyggekrog, which is ultimately a cozy fort, with blankets, plushies, and soft pillows
- Family reading time with seasonal books
- DIY hygge crafts to use all winter, like bath bombs, candles (with supervision!), and cozy playlists
- Play in the snow
Don’t feel the need to rush to the store and stock up on hygge-like items. Hygge is a spirit felt, an atmosphere created; not something that is bought. You can make hygge in any home. The point of the practice is enjoying its simplicity.