4 Ways to Celebrate Hygge This Winter

December 12, 2016  |  atmosphere, cozy, hygge, inspiration, winter
4 Ways to Celebrate Hygge This Winter

Denmark is the smallest and southernmost Nordic country. It sits north of Germany and south of Norway. Denmark regulates a large fishing industry. In winter the country has up to 17 hours of darkness per day and average temperatures hover around 32°F. It usually rains about 171 days per year there.

Despite all this, Denmark has ranked number one on the United Nations World Happiness Report three of the last five years. So what’s the secret to the Danes’ contentment? Most credit hygge, pronounced “hoo-ga.”

Hygge is a Danish word that doesn’t have an exact conversion in any other language. The closest word in English is “coziness;” however, some say this isn’t analogous enough. ToveMaren Stakkestad says this is because, “hygge was never meant to be translated. It was meant to be felt.” Helen Russell, author of The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country, says, "Hygge seems to me to be about being kind to yourself - indulging, having a nice time, not punishing or denying yourself anything.”

The hygge experience or living hyggeligt means to wear woolen socks inside your boots, to savor foamy marshmallows on a steaming cup of hot coco; hygge is being covered in handmade quilts on a cold, winter night or feeling content after finishing a good book.

There are four ways to celebrate hygge this winter. Two points focus on your mindset, one concentrates on your scheduling, and the last calls attention to your home.

  •       Embrace the weather

Not every day is sunny and bright and that’s ok! The overcast days can bring a sense of calm to your day. When it’s windy, try to notice the leaves dancing on the trees. Windy days aren’t stagnant. They smell fresh and alive. Rainy days are prefect for reading and thinking. Try to appreciate the pitter patter on the roof, the soft thuds onto the window pane, the plops of raindrops into puddles.

  •       Celebrate the little things

Earnest Hemmingway wrote, “Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.” So smell the roses, and savor every drop of your morning coffee. Try to be a sensory being. It’ll be hard at first, but eventually it will become a habit.

  •       Make time for friends

Of course you’re busy, everyone is. Life is like that, and sometimes it gets to be too much. The endless cycle of tasks seems to never end. If you find yourself stuck in a rat race of living, try to make time to spend with your friends or family. How is adding something to your to do list going to help ease your bustle? It just will. Time spent with people we love rejuvenates your soul. Good friends will listen to your worries and help motivate you to keep trying your best.

  •       Create a cozy home

Incorporate textiles in your home that are indulgent. Gather buttery leathers, knitted throws, or plush pillows. Pay attention to the seat depth of a chair. Sofas should be deep enough to sit fully in, but not so cavernous you swim in it. A good rule of thumb for a sofa is about 21 to 22 inches of seat depth. Pick a dining chair that has more of an ergonomic back, unlike the ones around your grandmother’s dining room table. Cover the hardwood floor in a sitting area with a rug to bring hygge to your toes even. Add art work and interest to your walls for your eyes; light candles to entice your nose.


Do as the Danish do this holiday season and add some hygge into your life. You might find yourself calmer and happier for the coming new year!