Ah, this time of year. I’m not a huge fan of the cold, but I do love the idea of hygge. The first few months of chilly weather are totally manageable: you’ve got the initial excitement for autumn, Halloween costume planning and getting ready for Thanksgiving. December is full of gift planning, decorating, cookie baking and spending time with family. Then you coast into New Years, which I hope you celebrate however works for you. (Some people wear sequined dresses and party; last year my husband and I put the kids to bed and played Jenga for awhile.)
Then comes The January Letdown. I can’t be the only one who feels it. The cold lingers but the adrenaline rush of the holidays isn’t there to help you power through it. Enter hygge.
What Is Hygge?
Hygge is a Danish word that’s often used to convey the feeling of coziness. According to Visit Denmark, hygge means “creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.” It’s become increasingly popular over the last couple of years in the U.S.
The pronunciation of hygge is hotly debated. For a long time, I pronounced it hoo-gah. However, one of my favorite podcasts, By The Book, confirmed it’s hue-guh… but say “hue” gently. Visit Denmark says hoo-gah, Hygge House says hue-guh. Do with this what you will; regardless of how you say it, there’s a source that will back you up 😉
Daily Hygge Basics
If forced to identify three items that most clearly shout hygge (or maybe just whisper-speak it in a calm, soothing voice), I suggest a blanket, a fire source and a warm beverage. If you’re looking for a quick route to cozy, those three will get you there. This blanket looks incredibly soft and snuggly. I’ve also heard fabulous things about this Barefoot Dreams blanket, which is on sale at Nordstrom Rack right now!
My favorite candles are still Target’s Signature Soy line. The scents are strong but never overpowering. The Cozy Nights scent is my #1. Of course, a fireplace is a bolder fire source. We have a working fireplace in our house and it’s wonderful! I didn’t think it was that important to me—it was nice to have, but wasn’t a huge reason for buying the house—but I’m now thrilled by it.
As far as the warm beverage, you do you. For a hygge night, I love a golden milk latte or perhaps some Sleepytime Tea.
9 Ways to Prepare for Prime Hygge Time
Although the early part of the cold season is full of holiday activity and excitement, I like to plan now for those chilly nights in January, February and March (and, because I live in Cincinnati, April too, and maybe May if Mother Nature is feeling fickle).
- First, check that you have enough cozy blankets for any room where you might be lounging. I like to add a blanket or two to each bedroom, as well as our family room and basement. Give the blankets a run through the wash this weekend if they’ve been packed away for the last few months.
- On your next Target run, check out those candles I mentioned above. Or you could hit up a neighborhood boutique for a locally made option. If you’re in Cincinnati, I’d suggest Metallic Giraffe. Other favorites include Rewined Candles, Kendra Scott’s beautiful options, and Evil Queen‘s creative and hilariously named candles.
- Pull together a few musical options for the cold, snowy nights. Consider Coffee Table Jazz on Spotify, bossanova or classics. We don’t have a record player but I would bet it goes a long way to setting the right kind of vibe too!
- Make a list of TV shows or movies that you’ve been meaning to catch for awhile. If you find yourself snowed in, or just unwilling to leave the comfort of home, you’ll have a few options at the ready. Extra points for including Hallmark movies!
- Similar to #4, jot down a few books you’ve been meaning to read and recipes you’d like to try. (Might I suggest my favorite Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookie?)
- Identify an opportunity to gather people in your home after the holidays. We host our friends for the Super Bowl each year, and in January I invest some time in choosing a few new recipes and sourcing fun or silly decorations for the Big Game.
- Similarly, you could prepare for game nights with your family if you’re living with others. We have young kiddos, so we lean toward Candy Land and Pop the Pig, but my husband and I like to relax with a game of Scrabble sometimes as well.
- Make sure you have the right attire for the season. Despite your desire to hygge, you might have to leave the house 😉 One of my favorite bloggers, Sarah Von Bargen of Yes & Yes, is very knowledgable about colder climates and has some great suggestions for dressing for the season. As she says, there’s “no bad weather, only bad clothes.”
- Stock up on any self care items that make you feel good. I love a good face mask (true anytime of the year, but especially in the winter) and a thick lotion.
Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Season
Hygge can’t cure everything that’s tough about the cold winter months, but since discovering it, winter has been a smidge easier. There’s something so delicious about slowing down. It feels like a reward after the hustle and bustle of the holidays and preparing for it now means you can sink right into slow after January 1st.
Do you have any suggestions for how to make the season warmer? If I’ve missed anything, I’d love to know!