Sorry moms, but Groundhog Day isn’t just a day in February this year. That’s right — we’re doing this again.
After months of staying home, entertaining ourselves inside, and rarely getting to gather with friends, it’s now the deep dark middle of winter which means… we stay home and hang out inside. Since most of us are still keeping our distance because of COVID-19, there will continue to be very little getting together with friends.
You may be surprised to learn that even as I type this, I can’t help but smile because this is truly my favorite time of year. I genuinely love the couple of months post-holiday and the slower pace that comes with them. It’s probably at least partly due to my upcoming February birthday and all the opportunities to celebrate me.
But even as a person who truly loves cold weather and enjoys the shorter days, it takes some preparation to really embrace these winter months to the fullest.
No, it’s not a word I made up while delusional from lack of Vitamin D. Hygge — pronounced hue-guh — has no direct translation in English, but is best described as the Danish art of contentment and peace. Even though I can’t define it, my family is totally onboard with it!
Hygge is a lifestyle that actually embraces the long dark winter evenings. Instead of dreading the short days, the Danes choose to lean into them, to make the best of their environment and celebrate it. And with Denmark ranking one of the happiest countries in the world year after year, it seems like they might be onto something.
So, how do we get a little of that happy hygge vibe working in our own homes? Believe it or not, you can add some great hygge-inspired touches without a lot of money or effort.
Here are my ten favorite tips for making your home a hygge haven:
Light some candles
Turn off the artificial lights and add some soft lighting with candles. Candles, either in a cluster or around your room, will instantly add a warm glow.
Pile up the blankets and throws
Bring on the snuggles with the softest blankets you can find. Fill a basket with a pile of the cushiest blankets and throws for the ultimate cuddle. Getting comfy under a warm blanket sounds pretty hygge to me.
Add some books on your shelves
Pull out your favorite books and add some new titles to your reading list. Make the most of your long evenings curled up with a good read. Be sure your book nook includes reading material for your entire family. What better way to get your kids excited about reading than making it a cozy family activity?
Pull out the board games
Turn off the TV, put away your devices, and gather the family for board game night. Take turns replaying old family favorites or check out some new games. It’s a long winter, consider starting a tournament challenge.
Add some natural elements
Bring the outdoors in with houseplants or add pieces of natural wood to your décor. Add a couple of new plants to care for until you can plant them outside in warmer weather. You can also start some herb seeds to plant outside when spring finally gets here.
Focus on the fireplace
A fire casts warmth and light all around the room. Gather your family and friends for great conversation or just settle in solo to soak up natural warmth from the fire.
Warm up from the inside out
Fill your favorite mug with hot chocolate or another decadent warm drink, bake cookies or homemade bread, and savor your treat snuggled up in front of the fire.
Get some fresh air
Even when it’s cold out, a little fresh air is a good thing. Bundle up and get outside for a walk or head to a nearby park or playground. There is nothing better than a little cold air to help you enjoy your warm snuggly home!
Surround yourself with people and things you love
Long talks over dessert and coffee, welcoming friends for a cozy dinner, or opening your home for an evening of playing cards are very hygge activities. Sadly, those things aren’t as easy to pull off this year, but focusing on staying in touch via Facetime, a handwritten letter, or a phone call with a distanced loved one helps brighten any day.
Photos of loved ones, old quilts, beautiful china, anything that makes you happy — decorate with pieces that bring you joy. Take a look around and see what in your space makes you smile then put it where you can see it every day!
There are so many ways to add a little hygge to your home. You can go big or just add a couple of touches. No matter what you decide to do, I promise the cold nights will feel a lot nicer when you are snuggled up by the fire with a warm drink, a good book, and those you love most.