With the pandemic still in our midst, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season looks different from years past. Holiday parties have come to a halt, shopping malls are quiet, most visits with Santa are virtual, and many holiday traditions we know and love will wait to resume until next year. With this new situation that the pandemic brings, we are learning to embrace a different type of holiday season – welcoming slow, observing stillness, and embracing cozy all around us. While this may seem foreign to what we usually cherish about the most wonderful time of the year, there is something beautiful to be learned as we press into this unexpected circumstance set before us.
Hygge, pronounced “hue-guh”, is a Danish term defined as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being,” according to The Oxford Dictionary. The concept of hygge was born in Scandinavian culture, as a way to seek peace, light and joy in the dark, still, and slow winter months. Within this culture, it is still believed that welcoming simplicity, seeking peace, practicing mindfulness, and embracing all things cozy, allows the human heart to press into this season, rather than spending the winter months waiting for spring to come. The practice of hygge encourages each person to determine what brings their heart light and joy in this season, and encourages them to uniquely press into those things within their own life. There is no “hygge handbook” or “hygge how-to,” but instead, an opportunity for each of us to determine what it is that helps us to find this feeling of overall contentment and well-being in our hearts.
So, while this holiday season looks different than most, we are invited to embrace a “hygge holiday” of our own. We are encouraged to practice gratitude for life as it is right now, find joy in the little things of today, even as it looks different than years past, and embrace the cozy and stillness of this holiday season.
As stated, there is no one way to hygge, instead, here are some ideas to create your own hygge holiday this season.
Hygge Holiday Living
As you build hygge within your environment and aesthetic, the goal is to create intentional space for cozy, to welcome simplicity, to approach the holiday season with a “less is more” mindset in the details and overall feeling of your home.
Lighting: Include soft, warm lighting that creates ambience within your home, whether it’s embracing lamplight, the flicker of a candle, or adding a small Christmas tree to a child’s bedroom. As the days are short and the sun is low in the sky, we are encouraged to press into the warm glow of twinkling lights on these long winter nights.
Textiles: Bring out your softest blankets, add more throw pillows to the couch, or change over to fleece sheets on a child’s bed. The use of cozy textiles within your space creates an environment that is welcoming and inviting to snuggle in and embrace the slowness of time spent at home.
Color Scheme: Whether you love forest green and charcoal plaid, the vintage feels of the classic Rudolph red, or a space filled with neutrals and muted tones, time spent thinking about the color scheme you love will allow you to enjoy your space and embrace the style of your home.
Hygge Holiday Dining
As you practice hygge around the table, the goal is to embrace comfort. Think of what invites your heart and the hearts of others to simply slow down and dwell around the table.
Food: Cook a traditional family recipe or plan a cookie baking day with your children. As you prepare meals for your family or that special Christmas dinner, embrace the practice of hygge by slowing down, finding joy in cooking meals that nourish your family’s souls, and embrace the gift of comfort foods and how they make you feel this time of year.
Drink: Enjoy a cup of afternoon tea, create a hot cocoa bar in the kitchen, or learn how to make mulled wine. Provide drinks that warm the soul, allow for a pause within your day, and lead to cozy conversation as you sit around sipping as a family.
Candlelight: Add a set of taper candles to your table-space or light a candle by the sink as your clean up after a meal. When we are intentional to add warm, soft lighting to our environment, our hearts are led to linger and embrace the cozy that fills the kitchen and dining spaces in our home.
Hygge Holiday Attire
As you observe hygge within your wardrobe, the goal is to welcome all the things that wrap cozy, comfort, and warmth all around you.
Knits: There’s no such thing as a hygge wardrobe, but an encouragement to find those warm winter knits to warm up the soul. Set out that cable-knit cardigan you love to throw on with leggings each morning or practice a capsule wardrobe for each child. Embrace the clothing you and your family know and love, and don’t be afraid to wear those comfy clothes over and over each day this winter season.
Slippers: Now is the perfect time to buy those plush slippers you’ve been wanting or set out fuzzy socks for your children each winter morning. Press into the simple joy of soft textures on your skin.
Pajamas: Whether you’re into matching Christmas pajamas or have a pajama set that each child loves, you are encouraged to stay in those pajamas all day long and welcome in every ounce of cozy as you embrace the slowness of life at home.
Hygge Holiday Habits
As you embrace hygge within your daily rhythms, the goal is to seek intentionality in the day-to-day, in your conversations, in the stillness, and even in the joyful chaos of children filling your home.
Mindfulness: As a mama, we often disregard time to pause and press into the present moment. Create space for the practice of mindfulness, whether it’s listening to guided meditation, getting up early to sip coffee by the twinkling lights of the tree, or simply pausing as your feet hit the ground each morning. Learn to embrace life, as it is today, and acknowledge every feeling in your body and heart this holiday season.
Journaling: Start the day with journaling by the flicker of candle light or end each day with writing down one thing that filled your heart with peace, light, or joy that day. As mamas, our lives are busy, and it’s hard to find time to reflect on all that’s in our hearts, but this practice is a beautiful way to press into what draws us closer to those overall feelings of contentment and well-being in our lives.
Conversation: When we invite our families and close friends into intentional conversation in our homes, we welcome slow moments and embrace the cozy all around us. Whether it’s sharing beloved holiday traditions or speaking about what we are grateful for, conversation with the ones we love leads to deeper connection and intentional day-to-day living.
While this holiday season is quieter than most, and our hearts may be missing the memories of holiday’s past, there is something beautiful to be learned as we welcome simplicity, seek peace, practice mindfulness, and embrace coziness in our lives. I encourage you to take the time to press into what a hygge holiday means to your family and urge you to continue the practice of hygge all winter long.
Want more hygge this holiday season? Here are some resources to allow you to embrace the art of hygge in your life and home: