Have you heard of the Danish concept of ‘hygge’? No? Well, a hygge home is part and parcel of Danish culture. It’s the Danish way of getting through the winter, fighting off the cold, combatting the dreariness of long, dark days. It’s all about feeling warm and comfortable, about creating the kind of atmosphere where you feel happy and content, about feeling joy in a little moment of everyday life.
Before we begin, let’s get comfortable with how to say it. Here’s how you pronounce ‘hygge’!
Ok? Right, now we can snuggle down to warming up our winter and making our own hygge homes.
When to Practise Hygge
Winter is the season for hygge and Christmas is the best time to practise. We got a wonderful introduction to a hygge home when we spent one Christmas with my son-in-law’s family. His mother is Danish and they celebrate Christmas in true Danish style. (They start the Christmas Eve meal with rice pudding!! But it does have a special, hidden coin in it for one lucky person around the table.)
Hygge is not only for Christmas: it’s also good to practise at any time during the winter and especially when you’re feeling down. It’s about giving yourself self-care to soothe your soul. Maybe you could make a bit of a hygge effort when you get home from work, tired and dispirited.
Or maybe you’re disappointed that you didn’t get something done. That’s the time to lift your spirits with a nice dose of hygge.
Hygge is about home comforts. So naturally, your home expresses your hygge lifestyle. You don’t need anything special to create hygge but here are some ways of bringing some hygge into your home. Let’s start looking at how you do it.
Lighting Up Your Hygge Home
A hygge home has warm lighting. Change your cold white light bulbs for warm white ones. Turn off any bright central lights and allow your side lights to glow from the edges of your rooms. It’s the quickest way of turning them into warm cosy welcoming places to relax.
Fires give both light and warmth and the flickering flames feed warmth and relaxation into your tired body. If you have one, light a fire so that the flickering of the flames soothes you into a refreshing doze. Don’t have a fireplace?
You can warm up your space by lighting candles, preferably ones that release relaxing fragrances like lavender or warm spices. If you’re worried about fire risks, try electric candles. We have a nice warm white light made to be like a big white candle. It flickers very gently (and not enough to be annoying), creating that pleasant feeling of candlelight.
The Warm Smells of Winter
How about roasting chestnuts on your fire? You could always roast them in your oven and put them into a bowl to make your living room enticingly fragrant.
Burning oils make your home into a fragrant bower. Use one of the candles under a diffuser. Or use an electric diffuser to waft the scent through the air.
You could try a salt lamp. A lamp like this is where you place a candle into a large lump of salt. Pink Himalyan salt makes for the best warming glow. You can also buy electric ones. The warmth releases negative ions from the salt which soothe your stress away.
Your Christmas tree should add the smell of real pine to your room. But how about a wreath of it on the table at other times? Or a vase filled with twigs of it instead of flowers?
Sitting Comfortably is very Hygge
You can designate your favourite chair as your hyggekrog (your hygge place). You curl up on the chair and enjoy the warm ambience.
Collect some comfortable cushions to squish around you on the sofa.
Fleecy throws or blankets are great additions. Maybe a fluffy rug thrown over your legs would delight your toes of just leaning back into a soft throw folded over the back of the sofa.
Hygge Clothes are Cuddly
Fleecy pyjamas or a lacy cardigan made of baby soft cashmere are both excellent ways of making yourself feel hygge
Nice warm socks and slippers are good to slip on your feet. Maybe you’d like some of those beautiful, knitted slippers with their intricate Nordic patterns to keep your toes cosy and your eyes bathed in warmth.
If you go out in the cold, wrap up in a warm scarf, topped off with a bobble hat. Walk briskly, admiring your frosty breath as you breathe out. When you return glowing from the cold, enjoy the warmth from your home even more.
Hygge Things to Eat and Drink on Holiday
For breakfast, make yourself a nice plate of porridge. (Apparently porridge is very hygge and it certainly gives your tummy a warm glow!)
Any time you need a break, make a nice warm drink, hot chocolate, tea or coffee and drink it snuggled up on the sofa in a nice soft sweater.
Curl up in the evening with some warm mulled wine or a decadent cocktail. Have you tried a glass of the very hygge gløgg Don’t know what that is? It’s Danish mulled wine or glühwein. There are lots of different recipes for it but if you’d like one, pop your details into the form below and I’ll send you the gløgg recipe that we’re using this year.
It’s especially good to make gløgg around the festivals of Christmas, Hannukah and the New Year, but it’s the Danish way of cheerfully making it through the winter to Spring.
So you can warm yourself up by drinking gløgg until the days get warmer.
Warm Up Winter With the Fun of a Hygge Home
That’s quite a few ways to warm up winter. Imagine what a difference it could make to your winter if you just took one or two hygge practices and had a go at putting them into practice. in your home.
Maybe it will remind you of happy times in your childhood or winter festivals gone by. But try adding in a few things you haven’t done to make your winter a bit more hygge. Maybe try that recipe for gløgg?
Won’t it be amazing to look back on this winter and say that you made it a really hygge time?
So if you want to celebrate like the Danish (one of the happiest nations in the world), take a look at your home and see what you can do to turn your winter routine into a work of art that makes you feel hygge.
Give hygge a try and make yours a warm winter. Spring will be here all the sooner.
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And don’t forget to download your Gløgg recipe. Here’s the link again.