Say what? What is hygge? I’ll get to that in a second. First, let me tell you what it fixed. Oh! and it’s pronounced “hue-gah.” I used to live in a couple of Northern states in America. It snowed a lot. As soon as October approached I could feel dread come over me. I knew that the potential for snow to blanket our area would soon be there, and could extend to March and even April.
I had grown up in the North and the winter never affected me. Frankly, I think snow is gorgeous. However, I then moved to the South for a couple of years. I really became used to sunshine and blue skies. When we decided to move back to the North, I didn’t think about the weather. I figured it would be fun to be back in the snow. For some reason it wasn’t fun anymore.
Maybe it was because I had small children, and that meant having to put on and take off layers of clothing every time we entered and exited stores and homes. That can really make a day of errands exhausting. Maybe it was also the shorter winter days with the sun setting at 5pm. Maybe it was the fact that some months I just missed green land and blue sky. Grey skies and white ground got old after a while. I just know that it made me feel sad.
Eventually, we moved back to the South. Snow here only happens every few years and only lasts for a few hours before it melts. However the days still get short in the winter and those darker evenings can still make you feel robbed of your day.
I don’t remember how I came to the word hygge. All I know is that, that word became a game changer. For a girl who used to dread winter, I now look forward to it as a time to cocoon, relax, and recharge. Now I can’t imagine what an endless summer would be like. While I still love the warmth of a summer day, I now appreciate the warmth of a cozy home.
So what is Hygee? A good description was written in Country Living Magazine. In it Lindsey Matthews, writes “this Danish concept cannot be translated to one single word but encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life.” She goes on to say ” If you’ve ever enjoyed reading a book indoors on a rainy Sunday or a cup of hot coco on a snow day, you’ve experienced hygge without even knowing it.”
I’ve read many articles on hygge now, and spent time looking at pictures on Instagram and Pinterest. For the past 2-3 years I have been putting the hygge practice into my home. IT HAS MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE!
In the past, the day after Christmas I would take down every bit of Christmas decorations. After October’s Halloween decor, Novembers fall and Thanksgiving decor and December’s Christmas decor, I would be over having my house full of decorations. I just wanted it to feel like spring and be fresh. However, my kids playfully would call me a Grinch for taking down Christmas so quickly, and frankly it felt a bit grinchy.
So here is my new happy. A few days after Christmas I redecorate. Down comes every Christmas decoration that feels cluttering. I put it all away. I strip my Christmas tree down to just it’s white lights and it’s star. Then I clean the house. During Christmas we re-position our living room furniture, to make the tree the focus. During my after-Christmas redecorating, the tree gets moved to the corner and my furniture goes back into their places. That’s step 1.
Step 2, is preparing for a cozy winter. Now this will feel different to everyone. I love to read, so I make sure I have a stack of books that I can not wait to read. I make sure I have my favorite candle scents, and some new ones I can look forward to. I stock up on hot chocolate, marshmallows, tea, and coffee (for my husband). I may buy new throw blankets and pillows to make the space feel new and fresh. Now I am set for a cozy winter. As my kids call it, my winter nest.
Why do I keep the Christmas tree up? Well, without all the gazillion ornaments that we love, the tree is beautiful with just lights too. Leaving it up let’s me lengthen our Christmas vibes but in a peaceful way. Since our tree is live, I do have to take it down before it drys out and becomes a fire hazard. This year after we took down the Christmas tree (a couple days after New Years) we moved our indoor houseplant to the spot the Christmas tree had sat in and strung our Christmas lights on it. The kids and I also made snow flakes out of coffee filters and put a few on the windows to bring a little winter to the house. Look at us wanting snowflakes! And wishing for real snow!
Here is my hgyee living room with the Christmas tree. You can see my big pile of throw blankets by the tree. I also left up the Christmas decorations that don’t feel cluttering and that just bring me joy. My childhood Santa stayed, as well as my bottle brush trees. Once New Years passed and we replaced the Christmas tree with our house plant, I did remove the Christmas decor too .
A few other hygge ideas:
- Mood lighting
- healthy winter recipes like soups (recipe to come in the next post),
- new mugs
- baking fresh bread
- baking whatever!
- game nights with friends
- a new or favorite sweater
- fairy lights
- quality moments with family and friends in your cozy space
- plants (greenery is a must for me)
Basically discovering hygge helped me to make peace with winter. I now look forward to January. It’s my time to really relax and create precious memories inside my home.