Hygge– pronounced (hue- gah) is the trendy Danish word/concept for creating a cozy space/or a warmth of feeling through one’s surroundings. However, hygge is so much more than cozy. It’s a word that has no direct translation to English.
I have always dreaded winters–the increase in darkness has always been depressing to me–until this year when I started researching and applying hygge concepts to my life and started researching how the Danes and other Nordic countries (who are among the happiest people on the planet), enjoy their time at home through all of the seasons.
Among my reading list was the book “The Little Book of Hygge.” I highly recommend this book; it is a quick read that gives insight into the Danish culture and offers ways in which one can make the spaces we occupy both internally and externally a space of graditude, comfort and peace. I love this book so much, I’m buying a copy of it. It’s a worthy addition to my bookshelf.
After reading this little book, I invested in a few items to survive the winter: fuzzy slippers, textured blankets and throw pillows, an electric kettle, assorted teas and hot chocolate mixes, board games and soothing lighting throughout the house. In essence hygge is like nesting.
My children (and husband) initially thought I was crazy when I brought home a bunch of throw pillows and blankets from the store. But then they started fighting over the blankets and pillows– and now they love the feel of the different textures and all want the corner nook of the couch.
Even my dogs are getting into the hygge spirit
After Dinner Teas/Hot Chocolate
An evening ritual I have begun after dinner is serving tea and hot chocolate to anyone who wants it. This nightly cup of tea is a wonderful way to spend a few moments with my children. My teens love the tea and love having a little tea break from the demands of homework. And I love sitting at the kitchen table with them in an atmosphere that is relaxing.
Another ritual my family has started since the new year is nightly card games, board games or puzzle building. Not everyone in the family participates for every evening or every game, but it is instead a fluid game night. The little ones love playing cards or candy land or memory and the older kids like sequence or card games as well.
Lighting is so important to creating a welcoming atmosphere. Houses in Denmark omit overhead lighting and instead use lamps to mimic the lighting of the sun an hour before sunset. Danish households avoid bright or fluorescent lighting.
Additionally the Danes love candles and anything to do with the a lighted hearth. With having small children in our house, I use electric diffusers with essential oils or small tea lights. Also I have seen flameless candles for sale at various craft stores that I may invest in.
Danes love their sweets and chocolate. And well– I love my chocolate (although I am trying to cutback on my sugar intake), a piece of dark chocolate on a winter’s night really hits the spot…or a homemade cookie 🍪
I hope these tips help you to enjoy your home space this winter. I have come to appreciate seeing the sunrise this winter as well as the beauty of the snow on the trees. Hygge has helped me to appreciate and find the beauty in my surroundings.
I would love to hear any tips you may have as well. 😊