How to Have a Hygge Christmas Season

The Scandinavian lifestyle concept of “hygge” became a sensation several years ago when it spread to the rest of the Western world. Pronounced hoo-guh, this Danish word roughly translates to mean cosiness. Hygge is basically all about indulging in whatever makes you happy, spending time with others, and appreciating the little things. You can practise hygge all year round by reducing stress and seeking simple sources of joy, but it is especially helpful in the winter months. The cold weather and the long, dark nights can leave many people feeling worse for wear at this time of year. The idea of hygge is to focus on comfort and bringing people together, which are also common aims for Christmas celebrations. ‘Tis the season to be cosy, so use this guide to bring hygge into your home this winter.

Hygge Lighting

One of the best ways to create a cosy atmosphere is with ambient lighting. Turn off the big light and switch on the fairy lights instead. Twinkling lights create a soothing sense of warmth. Flickering candles are even better as they actually do generate warmth, as well as filling the room with your favourite scents. It’s super easy to drape strings of fairy lights around furniture or to bundle them inside glass jars or bottles to create lanterns. Having a shelf or a tray with varying sizes of candles, from tea lights to large jar candles, instantly makes a room cosier. Of course, safety is of the utmost importance too, so never leave lit candles unattended or in places where pets or children could knock them over. Most people don’t have an actual fireplace, but you can still create a virtual one on your TV.

Hygge Layers

From your furniture to yourself, achieving comfort is a matter of layering up. Think knitted blankets and throws, faux fur or sheepskin rugs, fluffy cushions, woolly jumpers, thick socks and slippers. The varying textures make the cosiness of a room tactile. Wrap yourself in a blanket and combine your comfiest pyjamas with candles and fairy lights and you’ll soon feel content. This also has the benefit of keeping you warm, so you don’t have to worry about the heating bill (or the electricity bill, if you’re using energy-saving LED lights). Bundling everything possible in soft coverings makes it inviting, and it will be especially relaxing if you stick to neutral colours like creams and browns. You can add pops of colour with your decorations instead. IKEA is a perfect place to pick up Scandi-style textiles.

Hygge Food & Drink

Christmas hygge for the Danes involves the consumption of sugary baked goods and hot drinks, including mulled wine (or glögg). Eating and drinking well is an important part of feeling content, especially because it is also often a social activity. Hot chocolate with marshmallows in ceramic mugs is picture-perfect for cosy family time, or even hot spiced apple juice. Many coffee shops have seasonal ranges, so picking up a gingerbread coffee with a friend can be another way to bring hygge into your daily life. When it comes to food, home-cooked is best, so why not take the opportunity to make a hearty stew or soup to share? Cooking and baking is a wholesome way of spending time with others and then enjoying the fresh fruits of your labour, and fills your home with warmth and delicious smells.

Hygge Hobbies

To achieve a sense of hygge, you will need to find time for some relaxing activities that make you feel happy and peaceful. Creative activities like baking, knitting, or crafting your own Christmas ornaments can be joyful bonding experiences. Going for a walk outdoors in the cold fresh air and returning to your warm, cosy home will heighten the feeling of hygge when you can finally settle down on the sofa and read a good book, wrapped in warm layers and surrounded by candlelight. Stay off your phone and shut out the hectic online world and media cycles. Play a board game, listen to music, write in a journal, or embrace your inner child and build an indoor fort with as many blankets as possible. You don’t always have to stay inside – travel to a traditional Christmas market with friends.

Hygge Christmas Decorations

Hygge can become suspicious when people trying to sell you something put a price on it. It’s not about the most luxurious or expensive things, after all. It’s about using what you have or whatever is within your budget to make your home feel welcoming throughout the winter. You can be minimalist and decorate with a few feature pieces that bring you joy. Scandinavian decorations are usually for the season and not just for Christmas. They focus on natural elements and bringing nature indoors. If a real Christmas tree is off the table, you can settle for a wreath of pine boughs or make your own decorations out of pine cones. Even if they aren’t real ones, you can still scatter little potted plants around the house from places like The Range. Contrast natural wood and ceramic with Christmassy things like gold silky ribbons or red velvet bows if you do want to add more luxurious touches of colour and texture.