The other day our temps were in the single digits during the day with wind gusts over 40 mph. Even being outside for a few minutes was enough to freeze my face. I was hurrying to the door just after dark after stopping to chat with a neighbor and the most amazing feeling came over me as I stepped into the house.
Candles were burning on the Goddess altars, all four of my Christmas trees were sparkling, cozy blankets were tossed on all the couches and chairs, and the smell from the kitchen was a combination of chocolate chip cookies and my Chicken and Green Chili stew. Soft music was playing in my workspace. I could hear the rumble of the two guys talking from upstairs. The kitties were sprawled on the above referenced blankets. Christmas lights shined brightly from all the windows. It was warm, inviting, and just took my breath away for a moment. This … I thought … this is Holy Hygge.
I have looked at a lot of different definitions of Hygge – the Danish way of embracing winter (actually all seasons!). These definitions use words like: coziness, community, connection, sanctuary, beautiful, special, gentle, soothing, illuminated, comfort, well-being, and kinship. Since Denmark is considered the happiest country on earth, I think they might have a few things to teach us!
Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. Whether it’s making coffee a verb by creating a ritual of making it then lingering over a cup to a cosy evening in with friends to the simple act of lighting a candle with every meal. Hygge is being aware of a good moment whether it’s simple or special. from Hygge House
Consciously seeking our bliss, our joy, our comfort, our sacred is an inspirational way to approach all seasons, but especially winter. I have decided to call it Holy Hygge and combine my Nourished Winter and EveryDay Sacred approach to living. Hanging sparkling lights, soups and stews on the stove, candles burning on the altars, sipping hot chocolate from my special cozy nest, these are some simple ways that I embrace winter and the concept of Hygge.
Lighting is important to inviting hygge into your home. Soft, warm bulbs create that nestled-in atmosphere and push back the shadows of winter. The Danish burn more candles per year than any other population on earth! Safely incorporate candles into your lighting schemes, tealights and glass jar candles are perfect, as well as a few well-chosen scented candles.
Look at your daily rituals – how can you invite hygge into your everyday? It really is all about being more mindful and present each day, about the mindset as well as the accoutrements like candles and hot drinks.
- Spend some time in bed before starting your day, reading, journaling, meditating, or just breathing
- Sip your hot drink in a found china cup or mugs you love
- Light a candle for your breakfast table
- Take a nap on the couch
- Deliver some of your already read books to a friend with a candle and tea bags
- Have a potluck dinner each week through winter for the community and the yummy food
- For meal gatherings, stack the dishes, light some more candles, and stay at the table for conversation
- Find recipes for nourishing stews, soups, and porridges
- Create a hygge playlist on Spotify
- Revamp your sock wardrobe and invest in soft wool or fuzzy socks
- Bring yourself again and again to the present moment. How do you feel?
- Explore natural areas and take a walk in the woods for active meditation
- Slow down – no judgement
- Invite friends over for a game night and break out the game boards
- Leave work AT work. For those that work at home – set business hours and stick to them.
- Ponder what brings you joy, bliss, comfort, relaxation. Now, what do you need to DO that.
I live my EveryDay Sacred, my hygge. It’s not always easy, but by keeping the concept front and center, making it something that brings me joy, allows for way more space for hygge to enter.
Take it slow, make it fun, and have a Holy Hygge!
Join me for Nourished Winter – a free online course with prompts and practices to embrace winter
Get your Hygge on …
Scandinavian Comfort Food: Embracing the Art of Hygge by Trine Hahnemann & Columbus Leth
How to Make the Best Hot Chocolate from Food 52