Winter Doldrums Part 1: How Do You Hygge?

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Do you hygge?  You probably do and don’t even realize it.  We definitely hygge, intentionally, in our home, and it really is wonderful.  The Danish word, “hygge” (pronounced “hoo-ga”) is a word that describes coziness, comfort, well-being, and togetherness. In Meik Wiking’s book The Little Book of Hygge, he explains this concept and how to create an environment of hygge in your own home and life.  The tag line on the back of his book says “Get consciously cozy,” and that truly sums up the meaning of hygee and underscores the point of his concise book. 

Hygge is something that pretty much everyone can do, as it requires neither great expense nor special equipment or training.  It is simply the act of creating an intentionally cozy environment.  If you have a working fireplace, use it.  If you have a false fireplace, making a lovely arrangement of candles within it will still create the desired effect.  

Schedules can get crazy and life easily gets hectic.  Hygge is a great way to bring balance to your home. Leave the busy-ness of school, sports, and other activities at the door, and let hygge help to set the tone in your home.  When you have children, if you want calm, you have to create calm.  This means shutting out distractions, especially electronics.  You can start small by creating a “hygge hour.”  Let the first hour your kids are home from school be the time that there are no electronics, no unnecessary noises.  This will give them a break from the hectic nature of school and help them to reset.  At our house we call it “detoxing your day.”  A cup of tea, a nice snack, and maybe a moment or two of quiet reflection while reading a book together or drawing in a sketch pad, will make a huge difference in your daily lives.

Blankets are definitely “hygge 101,” and piled high on the couch with a good book is a simple way to introduce the subtle art of hygge.

Snuggles and books, a hygge dynamic duo!

Hot drinks are another great and simple way to hygge.  In our house, hot tea and cocoa are big favorites, but even something simple like hot water with lime (a personal favorite) is equally hygge.  On particularly cold days, our kids love to come home from school to a nice pot of tea and something fun, like homemade cookies, to snack on.  

Not much is “more hygge” than a cozy, sunlit chair
where you can knit a hat in a Fair Isle pattern.

One of the wonderful aspects of hygge is that you can practice it anywhere.  In fact, I think that the smallness of Airstreams is the perfect place for hygge.  Because of that, we hygge in the Monkey Barrel.  Hot cocoa and “popcorn parties” during a bedtime movie, a candle in the kitchen, plus one on our nightstand, these are ways we hygge in the evenings while on our trailer trips.  In the lowlight of morning, I often find our kids snuggled up together on the couch: at home with their favorite blankets, and in the Monkey Barrel, wrapped in their sleeping bags.  

But you can, and should, hygge outdoors as well.  What could be cozier than sitting around the campfire with family and friends, roasting marshmallows and telling silly stories?  What is more relaxing than having a hot drink while watching a sunset?  We love to put the awning down on the Monkey Barrel, string some lights, and eat dinner outside.  In fact, unless the weather conditions are extreme, we eat every meal outside the Monkey Barrel.  Why get into nature if you aren’t going to actually get into nature?  When we have the privilege of camping next to a stream, we sleep with the windows open and let the babbling water lull us to sleep.  Taking a camping chair to the waters edge and enjoying the beauty with a hot drink: hygge at its finest.

I’d love to hear how you implement hygge in your life.  What are your tricks and favorite aspects of getting intentionally cozy? 

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