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Last year, I read a book about the Danish tradition of hygge called the Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. Hygge is pronounced “Hoo-ga,” Yes, I feel a little silly saying it out loud! It’s essentially the idea of coziness, but it has a deeper meaning because it also includes the concept of relaxing, togetherness, and well-being. Hygge is a way of life, and it has a lot to do with your atmosphere and surroundings, so creating a hygge winter home is the perfect place to start!
I’ve had this idea of hygge on my mind recently with the change in the seasons and Christmas right around the corner. Hygge places emphasis on simplicity, living in the moment, and a level of minimalism. It’s all about the experience and making time for things you enjoy with people you love. This is refreshing to focus on in the middle of a season that’s become very commercialized and busy.
Instead of decorating my home solely focused on Christmas and the holidays, I focused on creating a hygge winter home this year. It’s amazing how festive my home feels even without tons of Christmas decorations everywhere.
how to create a hygge winter home
light a candle
Lighting plays such an important role in hygge. During the winter, we have less daylight and more hours of darkness. I mimic this lighting in my home by keeping the lighting in my home dim (think lamp and candlelight). Candlelight is extremely important to Danes. According to Wiking, “each Dane burns about 13 pounds of candle wax per year.” Sounds like my kind of place! Everyone knows candlelight is warm, inviting, and creates a soft, warm glow. It’s a bit of a splurge, but I’ve really been enjoying Anthropologie’s Balsam and Cedarwood candle for this winter season. I’ve bought a bunch of them, and the scent is literally the perfect Winter scent. Don’t love candles? Don’t despair. Even if you’re not crazy about candles, you can still create this warm lighting in your home with lamplight.
make a hygge playlist
Certain sounds help create a warm and comfortable environment. Whether it’s a fireplace crackling, soft piano music, or vinal records playing old Christmas music. During the Fall months, my jam was Taylor Swift’s new album Folklore. Something about the moodiness of this album reminded me of Fall. Leading up to Christmas, I enjoy listening to old Christmas music like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole– music my nana plays every Christmas. When I’m not in the mood for Christmas music (I know, what a grinch), I listen to instrumental music like Calm Piano Music on Pandora. As a reminder, hygge isn’t about strictly adhering to traditions or feeling like you must do certain things. Rather, it’s all about giving yourself a break from the rules you place on yourself. This is a good reminder for me, especially during the holidays!
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no paper, no plastic, and no work talk
Welcome to The Finer Things Club. Lol. There’s a little humor from The Office for all my Office fans. 🙂 If you don’t get this reference, please, do yourself a favor and start watching The Office today. I couldn’t resist the reference since it’s a perfect segway to my next point. While hygge is certainly not about extravagance, it’s all about experiencing the simple joys of life to the fullest. Make an effort to make the everyday routines just a little more special. Use your favorite mug to sip your coffee, eat your takeout on a real plate, put your creamer in a cream pitcher for breakfast, have cute to-go coffee cups for visitors, etc.
create a hyggekrog
Here’s another fun Danish word for your vocabulary. This is roughly translated as “cozy nook.” Also, how perfect is the word “nook”? I love it. Having a special spot where you enjoy curling up to relax is the idea of a hyggekrog. Since I don’t have a lot of space in my apartment naturally, my couch is my hyggekrog. To create a winter hyggekrog, I added a thick, faux fur blanket. I have my favorite design books closeby, a favorite candle, and then slip into my fuzzy slipper socks and read a book or work on my blog.
bring the outdoors in
Danes and Norwegians have a deep appreciation for nature and love to have it reflected in their homes. To create a hygge winter home, try adding a stack of logs, fresh evergreens, plants, or pinecones to your space. It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything living, though. Wooden objects or pieces of furniture are very hygge, especially if they have a story behind them. Suddenly all the wooden furniture in Ikea makes sense now! This year I used trimmings of Cedar, Juniper, and eucalyptus throughout my home. I tried not to go overboard and limited placement to my coffee table, nightstand, and coffee bar. I also have an old wooden bread bowl I thrifted a while back that I filled with pinecones. Another simple way to add in wooden accents is by clustering some cutting boards on your kitchen counter.
have an emergency chocolate stash
Hygge has a lot to do with being kind to yourself and enjoying the simple comforts of life– including delicious pastries and dessert. No wonder they’re the happiest people on earth, they eat carbs! Counting calories is not hygge.
For a hyggelig (hygge-like) winter home, keep a stash of hot chocolate mix on hand with all the toppings. Another food I find extremely hygge on a cold winter day is the broccoli and cheddar soup from Panera. With two baguettes on the side, please, and thank you. It seriously makes me so happy. Of course, it’s not just about the food you eat, but who you share it with. Sure, a cake is good, but try savoring it with a cup of coffee in your favorite mug and a loved one by your side. Now that’s hyggelig.
let yourself unwind
Of course, hygge isn’t just about mood and feeling but includes actually DOING. At the core of hygge is the idea of letting go, relaxing, and being present in the moment. This can mean playing games or watching movies with family or friends, or just being totally alone. Try unplugging from your technology and let yourself savor the moments you’re in. Make time for yourself every day. Even if it’s simply curling up in your hyggekrog wrapped in a blanket and sipping your coffee before your day starts.
Hope you enjoyed this post and were inspired to create your own Hygge Winter Home.
I would love to see what you come up with!
As always, if you have any questions, just drop a comment below!