March 13, 2018

I've been seeing a lot of stuff popping up lately showing that the Danish are considered some of the happiest people because of a little secret called hygge. It's probably my new favorite word and has no direct translation. It means coziness, intimacy, warmth and a feeling of contentment or well-being. Hygge is the art of building a sanctuary and haven in your home, connecting and spending time with loved ones and to create a constant feeling of warmth and happiness. I've been adding hygge to my daily life (sometimes unknowingly) and I must say, although spring and summertime will forever be my favorite the homebody that I have become is gradually allowing me to enjoy the slowness of this season. Here are 10 ways I added hygee into my daily life, that you can try too.

1. Lots of blankets (image) and pillows 

You can never have too many, or have too much texture. I am a huge fan of movie nights around here. I actually plan to purchase a second ottoman to add to our sofa because there is absolutely nothing I look forward to more on these chilly winter evenings than curling up on the couch with my little ones, popping popcorn and watching a movie with them. Our sofa is always overthrown with blankets and pillows and I love it. Having texture is an important element too with natural colors being calming to the eye. Chunky knits, faux furs and fluffy rugs create a welcoming and comfortable environment.

2. Soft Lighting (candles, lamps or string lights) 

Nothing is cozier than filling a room with flickering candles or string lights. It's Danish tradition, especially during the dark season, to brighten their homes with candlelight as soon as the sun sets. Not only does the warm glow create an intimate setting, the scent from the candles sets a tone. Having candles or twinkle lighting in unexpected places can make every day routines like washing dishes more enjoyable. Atmosphere can influence mood. I always have candles lit throughout our home. With little ones I need to be very careful with placement but I love nothing more than the scent lofting through the house from a real burning one.

3. Roaring Fire

A wood-burning fireplace is essential to the idea of hygge. The soft glow and crackling sounds from a fire bring about a sense of serenity, warmth and peace. Decorating the fireplace with stacks of wood will bring the natural elements indoors too. Gas and/or electric can provide just the same vibe in addition to keeping you nice and toasty during these cold winter months. We love having our fireplace on during early mornings and evenings, it makes the house feel extra cozy.

4. Warm drinks (or mulled wine, known locally in Denmark as a gløgg)

Relish in a steamy cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate to unwind. Preferably stirred slowly over a hot stove and poured into big mugs. The kids love sipping on hot cocoa in “big people” cups and there are so many fun ways to spruce it up! You can even make your own version of  gløgg at home with cider, honey, cinnamon, oranges and a bottle of Cabernet or Rum, which is great for a Friday night in!

5. Cozy Socks

Hygge is a great pair of knit socks. Slip into your toastiest pair after a busy day.

6. Unplugging.

I am incredibly guilty of electronics overuse. Being a stay at home mom and photographer a lot of time is spent online or on Instagram, especially during winter and cold season. It's something I personally enjoy (a connection per se since I don't have very much daily adult interaction.) But, putting down my phone and turning off my computer even for an hour is crucial. It helps me to be more present in my physical space.

7. Dinners by candlelight.

Honestly, I love this one. You don't (and shouldn't) go all out with meal time and formal place settings. Light a few candles and serve a hearty home-cooked meal of your favorite comfort food. I love making homemade mac and cheese and no table is more festive for winter than one strewn with tealights and candles.

8. Pets

Clearly- considering almost all of my photos feature one. lol A sleeping kitten or pup makes any place feel homey. Whether its while I'm making coffee and Charlie is rubbing against my leg or lingering over a cup with him cuddled in my lap, I love the comfort and affection he brings into our home. 

9. Reading a good book.

Snowy winter days are made for hot chocolate, a touch of cinnamon and your favorite book. Taking time for yourself to relax, curl up with a warm blanket and enjoy the quiet. A light snowfall or winter storm makes me appreciate that there's no place I have to be. 

10. Enjoying the space around you

The key behind hygge is to enjoy the environment around you and nowhere is this more essential than in your home. Each room needs a sanctuary to sink into at any given moment and therefor filled with things to allow you to do this. Your overall wellbeing can be enhanced by just making some small changes to everyday surroundings. Take the time to revel in the tiny moments that make you smile and uplift the soul.


So you see, hygge means so much. It's snuggling under blankets, it's the way the light from candles dance, it's laughing with loved ones and the best hot cocoa you've ever drank. Go out and create more hygge moments with family and friends this winter. It's a way to look at the positive side that comes with the darker days. The Danish figured this out years ago, so why not take a cue from them?