While browsing through Instagram, I saw a woman post about a class on hygge. “Is that a new kind of yoga?” I thought. My interest was piqued, and I wondered why a bustle of busy moms would flock to such a class. I googled it and instantly became fascinated with this Danish way of life called hygge (pronounced hoo-ga).
Hygge is a lifelong (not just winter-long) pursuit of creating a cozy and comfortable way of life. It’s a defining characteristic of the Danish culture and is centered on bringing a feeling of contentment. It’s hard to imagine, but the Danish don’t wish winter away. They soak it up and enjoy it. What a novel idea!
Picture yourself clad in a chunky wool sweater, cozy knitted socks propped up on a plaid, tufted ottoman, the roaring fire mere inches away. You’ve got your favorite mug in hand, candles lit, and warm soup bubbling on the stove. The smell of pine, oranges, and cinnamon waft through the air. The thermostat is cranked up, and your favorite classic, Wuthering Heights, is propped open next to your gooey cinnamon roll, the throaty voice of Billie Holiday softly plays in the background. Winter suddenly sounds dreamy!
I’ve collected a few of my favorite tips to help us all stop whining and start winning this winter by embracing hygge.
- Ambiance is all about lighting. Switch out your bright white bulbs for warmer tones.
- Add battery-operated LED flickering candles that can be remotely turned on right at dusk (and prevent house fires).
- Pick up a scented or Woodwick candle (because they actually crackle).
- Add in textured layers such as a wicker basket with a cable knit blanket spilling over.
- Toss in a few extra throw pillows, and dust off a few classics to place near your favorite reading nook.
- Host a book club. Remember that classic novel propped in our scene above? What if you and your favorite intellectuals sat around said fire and had deep conversations about if Bronte meant to depict Heathcliff as merely a victim of evil or a force of it.
- Write a letter. Tell me one person on earth who isn’t completely enchanted with getting a personal letter in the mail. I’ll wait. Buy beautiful stationery and surprise your grandma, sister, brother, or old friend with a personal, handwritten letter.
- Host a winter brunch. Remember in the summer when you invited your gal pals over to a summer soiree? The kids ran through the sprinklers and you sat in the shade sipping lemonade while catching up. It’s the same concept, but a winter version. Think Jazzy music in the background, candles flickering, warm decadent dishes spread across the table. The kids playing in a fort downstairs while you sip hot cocoa in your slippers and leggings. We think this fort is a must-have.
- Get the whole neighborhood together for a night of sledding. After, gather everyone around a bonfire and cook s’ mores and hot dogs.
- It’s no wonder we all crave a little comfort food in the chill of winter. Bless the inventors of scones, cinnamon rolls, brownies with hot fudge dripping down the side, and fresh homemade rolls dipped in honey butter. If you’re serving up any of those, add me to the invite list.
- Go big on breakfast. There’s something so inviting about a steaming hot waffle drenched in buttermilk syrup. Add crisp bacon and a fried egg, and you’ve got an enticing reason to feel the true comfort of food.
- Who doesn’t love a piping hot soup on a chilly winter night? Taco Soup and Baked Potato Soup are some of my favorites. Want the recipes? Subscribe below!
- Snowcream: A fresh snowfall can mean more than backbreaking shoveling. It can also mean a sweet treat. It’s is all about embracing and utilizing the elements: snow. Snow, sugar, cream, and vanilla is one common recipe. Or change it up and use snow, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla. The kids are going to talk about this new family tradition for years.
While winter often feels like throbbing raw fingers as you numbly scrape your ice-crusted windshield, it could also feel like a warm fire and friends gathered close sipping cider. Let’s be like the Danes and create a hygge way of life this winter.