This year my Christmas decorating has been pared down to nothing more than the following: candles, fairy lights, candles, a Christmas tree, candles, some pine cones, candles, a wreath, candles, greenery, candles and, you guess it, more candles. I’d like to blame my minimalistic approach to my curious and always-climbing toddler, and in part that’s very true, but after paging my way through The Year of Living Danishly last month, I think it’s safe to say my simplified natural décor is really the result of being completely obsessed with all things hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-guh’).
Say what? Type that word into Pinterest and you’ll find approximately three thousand images promoting cosiness, contentment, candlelight, relaxation and social gatherings. It’s a way of being that’s deeply rooted in Danish culture, in both attitude and lifestyle choices, and does wonder for the Danes’ mental health. So much so they’ve been called the happiest people on the planet because they know how to relax with good food and good friends in a stress-free atmosphere.
The fact that I live with two teens and a toddler could be the very reason I’m so attracted to this calming and cozy concept, but I honestly think we could all benefit from embracing the idea this holiday season. In fact, the whole thing feels slightly celebratory to me, encouraging people to make the time for the things that matter most in a fun, social and yet relaxing way. Consider me a convert!
Here are a few ideas for adding a little hygge to your home and life this holiday:
- Fill your space with throw blankets, cozy pillows, sheepskin carpets and lots and lots of candles.
- Decorate with both natural décor (think greenery, pine cones, dried oranges, cranberries, branches, etc.) and sparkling elements like gold and silver.
- Over the holidays, hang out in your PJs a little longer than usual, pour yourself an extra cup of coffee and just RELAX.
- Cozy up at home with the kids for dinner and a movie night.
- Make mulled wine and invite friends over for a drink. In fact, serve lots of hot drinks over the holidays, like coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
- Keep a steady rotation of biscuits, cookies and cakes coming out of the oven.
- Eat well when you aren’t feasting. Make as much of an effort to sip on soups and down plates of seasonal salads as you do to consume all those cookies on the counter.
- Be social. Meet up with friends, invite them over and linger for as long as you can.