When it comes to winter, you have two options: move as far away as possible or learn to embrace it. Can’t afford a one-way ticket to the Keys? Consider adopting the concept of “hygge.” A Danish word with no direct English translation, it is, essentially, the art of cozying up and settling in for that proverbial long winter’s nap. Here’s how to introduce a little hygge into your own home in three easy steps.
1. Gather your family
Although it’s most commonly translated as “cozy,” at the essence of hygge is a sense of togetherness. “Hygge is the feeling you have inside when you feel happy and content,” says Anya Jensen, a native Dane whose blog, The Hygge Journal, documents her family’s life in Copenhagen. “Perhaps you get the kids involved in making dinner and setting the table nicely, and afterwards make a point of lingering over dinner. Maybe get the old-fashioned board games out. Turn off your phones and spend some quality time together—”be there for one another.”
2. Feather your nest
If you’re a natural homebody once the mercury drops, hygge is your new best friend. “This time of year is perfect for getting started—”it’s all about layering up with blankets, throws and cushions,” says Kayleigh Tanner, who blogs about all things hygge at hellohygge.com. “I like to think of it as creating a nest. And why not invite a couple of friends over for a warm evening in? Make some mulled wine, lay on an easy spread of comfort food and spend a few happy hours talking and laughing in the comfort of your own home.” Done and done.
3. Soften that lighting!
Now, it’s true that hygge is in your heart. And no, you don’t need that pricey cashmere throw or farmhouse-chic dinnerware to pull off the aesthetic. But it will require some advanced candle game, the hallmark of hygge. “In Denmark we always light candles — lots of candles,” says Jensen. “It’s very dark here during the winter, so we make sure our homes are inviting. It doesn’t have to cost much, but decorate some pretty branches with fairy lights and create seasonal vignettes with pinecones, fir and baubles.”