One of the new buzz words for the year is “Hygge,” a Danish mantra, that roughly means cozy and is pronounced “Hoo-ga” or “Hue-ga.” Since Danes rank as one of the happiest countries in the world, Hygge seems to be a major factor in creating this warm and fuzzy attitude that envelops the life in the Nordic countries where darkness and cold persists throughout much of the year. Hygge has become a lifestyle routine that is easily accessible and a reaction to elitist trends of expensive “soothing smoothies” or a closet full of designer “athleisure.”
Hygge is all about finding small personal ways to imbue a sense of togetherness, solitude and intimacy, centered in the home. Hygge is both an internal temperament of positive feelings coupled with our external surroundings that forge bonhomie, warmth and well-being. Although what makes us happy and content is personal, Hygge enthusiasts boast of the many simple ways to make a “Hygge Home.” Here are 18 ways to add some Hygge to your hearth.
1. Layer Up
The Danes say there is no bad weather, only bad clothes. Don’t let snow and ice and wintry blasts keep you from brisk walks and outside activities or freezing as you dash in and out of life. Dress warmly with a merino wool layer next to your skin, leggings, a down jacket, boots and a cute pompom hat. When you thwart chilly weather from the outside, your insides will automatically be soothed.
2. Ladle Soup
A steaming bowl of homemade soup perks up any bad day and brings togetherness to a new level of goodness. A few of my favorites are: Cauliflower Chowder; Loaded Baked Potato Soup with Bacon, Sour Cream, Chives; Lemon Chicken and Orzo Soup; White Bean Chili; Won-Ton Soup and Roasted Tomato Soup. Just thinking about dipping into a hot bowl of freshness makes me warm and toasty.
3. Wrap Up
Add texture and warmth by stocking up your home with lots of chunky blankets, faux fur throws, thick pillows or wrap yourself in a down snugglie.
4. Play Scrabble
Grab a few friends and have a way with words. Scrabble is our favorite family game and often becomes frenzied but always fun.
5. Bake Bread
Don’t think baking bread is off your list as yeast scares you. Really it is just a magic potion that gives bread its airiness and texture. Just dump yeast into your flour and liquid and let time and warmth create a wonder of aroma and taste to share with your family.
6. Sleep Soundly
Make sure your windows are warm and dark so you can rejuvenate daily with a good night’s sleep. If you need some new blackout blinds, see all the choices here for your bedroom, so that you are enveloped in a snug, quiet dreamy space. The right window treatments keep your room not only dark but warm, too.
7. Light Up
Candles that glow and flicker add an instant mellow mood of Hygge to any room-in or out. Denmark burns more candles per person than anywhere in Europe and certainly outpaces us Americans, and that doesn’t even include scented candles, as in Denmark, scented candles are considered artificial-only natural and organic candles are considered true “Hygge.” 85% of Danish people consider candles an essential part of Hygge, so the more the happier and brighter!
8. Party With Potluck
Gather a gaggle of friends and throw a potluck party-total togetherness.
9. Savor The Sun
Lack of Vitamin D can cause depression. Even in these dark days, wrap up and go outside and catch some winter rays. Or take your laptop and work from a window or nap near a patio door as the sun streams in during a sunny day. Feel the warming heat from our precious sun to keep the blues away. To boost your Vitamin D intake, eat more foods rich in this strengthening vitamin.
10. Glug Good Glogg
Hot drinks go straight to the heart. Hot Spiced Cider, Dark Chocolate Cocoa, Hot Buttered Rum are just a few of my favorites, but the Danes love Glogg – a spiced hot wine. Check out the New York Times Cooking webiste for a special Nordic Glogg to waste away in “Hygge Heaven.”
11. Spray A Tan
If you need a quick dose of color to your pale winter skin, give yourself an overnight sunless tan. One of my favorites is: L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Lotion- an instant trip to the beach in a bottle.
12. Make Snow Ice Cream
During the next snowstorm, grab the kids and a big bowl.
Snow Ice Cream
1 gallon new fallen snow
1 cup sugar
1 T vanilla
2 cups milk
Collect the snow in a big bowl. Add the sugar and vanilla and enough milk to make the consistency of thick ice cream. Mix well and run in the house and scarf down immediately.
13. Scatter Socks
Heap a basket full of warm and fuzzy socks for you, family and friends. Warm feet, warm hearts.
14. Make Green Scenes
Add a few more green plants now to increase oxygen and detoxify the air to enhance a sense of well-being. Greenery is more than just the color of the year.
15. Picnic In The Cold
Gather all in your warmest clothes and delight in the bracing cold with a sumptuous or simple outdoor picnic. Let the beauty of the frosty outdoors heighten your winter sensibilities.
16. Spin Sparkly Snowflakes
I know you remember how to make delicate snowflakes from folded paper. We make them every winter. Fold, cut, unwrap; we then spray on craft adhesive and scatter glitter and hang them from our windows for an instant winter wonderland. If you need a refresher course on the folding technique, Google, for some interesting how-to videos.
17. Free Fresh Air
Even on the coldest morning, I open the patio doors and refresh the inside stale air and blow away all of the built-up toxins. My “superfood specialist doctor friend” says one of the healthiest things you can do is blow in fresh air every day to chase out any bad spirits or vibes and breathe in clear breezes.
18. Gaze At The Stars
Did you know that the stars are really brighter in winter. Why not learn the constellations? I love “Night Sky 4,” an app that is “a planetarium in your pocket.” You are able to see a live 3D view of the constellations, stars and planets. So cool and amazing. Let the night be bright.
Now you know how easy it is to “Hygge at Home” with a little ingenuity and passion for the simple ways to chill out, unhinge, unwind and be thankful for the still small moments as we capture grace together.