Old Christmas Day has come and gone and most of us have completed the dreaded un-Christmas’ing (?) of our homes. (Is the dreaded part just me?). While I do not look forward to the amount of work it is to un-Christmas my home (countless wreaths, 4 trees, 2 fully loaded garlands and a partridge in a pear tree) I very much look forward to putting Christmas to bed and moving forward with another exciting year!
I do look forward to the ceremonious un-Christmas’ing as a reward for a satisfying to a well spent Christmas season. However over the years I have heard it said many times
“I hate when all the decorations are down because my house feels so.. [insert sad words here].”
No matter how you celebrate your Christmas, the season along with its decor, generally invoke feelings of nostalgia, warmth, love, celebration and coziness. So it’s no surprise than when Christmas is all packed away we are left feeling a void in all those areas where we were so full just a day or two ago.
Enter the Danish lifestyle concept, Hygge. Hygge pronounced “Hue-guh” is not just a word, in is in fact used to explain a concept and feelings of coziness, contentment and over-all well being. It has also been explained as “an art of creating intimacy.” Either with yourself, friends and your home. (From hyggehouse.com ) All of these likenesses culminate to create a lifestyle to lighten the dark days of mid winter, banish sameness and survive boredom.
At the risk of writing a piece on Hygge style amidst the metaphorically cozy layers of articles and blogs that saturate the Internet on this topic, I think it is pertinent to be reminded that we can look forward to embodying this concept after all the rush and excitement of Christmas is over. (Rejoice! those of us who think winter is for hibernating!) And as the proclaimed Mayor of Cozy Town (Ralphie being the Deputy Mayor) -a joke Brad likes to make when I am 3 feet deep under Nan’s quilts on the sofa- I have wanted to write on this beloved topic for some time.
The days in January are so short. What do you look forward to as you rush from work to your warm car all the while the cold air hurts your face? (A very real scenario for those of us who live north of the 53rd parallel) Most of us can’t wait to get back to our homes. In our safe warm spaces. Where all the items we love live and the people we love surround us. See, you are already on your way to Hygge living.
Some of the elements that make up Hygge are all about
warmth, intension, joy in simplicity, texture, familiarity and relationships among others.
While you cannot buy Hygge, only adopt it’s beautiful message, there are a few ways that you can embrace this feeling in your home.
A well organized home is a good base to start thinking more Hygge. Feelings of anxiousness and overwhelm often stem from “stuff” we live around. I’m not suggesting that you only keep the things that bring you joy à la Marie Kondo. Hygge is to live more simplistically so there is merit to taking a good look at your living space and really being honest about how the things in it make you feel. Putting away all of the Christmas decor is a good opportunity to keep the momentum going and tackle other areas of your home.
Create a space that you can completely relax and curl up. The experience is as much about Hygge as is the feeling. Make yourself a space on the sofa or near the fireplace. Somewhere that you can get cozy and set your intensions, read a book or journal. Make it your own and be intensional about its use.
Layers of texture is also important. Whether it’s your Nan’s quilt (to which I have an abundance!) a knit throw to curl up under or a weighted blanket to ground you, being wrapped in warmth it is an essential part of the Hygge lifestyle. It could even be your favourite chair or sweater. What better lifestyle element to embrace than one that embraces you back!
Less clutter, a quiet nook, layers of warm blankets and of course what would any of this be without ambience.
Candles are an integral part of the Hygge experience. With a variety of choices out there, whether you have scent allergy, worried about candle toxins or your safety there is a type of candle light for you. Some of my favourites are soy based and battery operated. (It’s true! Hygge is about ambient light not so much about scent) So go ahead! Dim those harsh overhead lights and light up or turn on those flattering lumens!
So much of our coziness is linked to food hence why we call some of our favourite dishes “comfort food.” Grab your favourite cuppa or prepare your favourite dish. Break out your mom’s casserole recipe (see Mom I do have a favourite Mom-prepared-dish!) or brew your favourite coffee. Take either to the next level and invite a friend to share or use the good china cups this time just to make the experience that much more special.
Hygge is not just about warm blankets and candles or hot tea and hours spent reading on the sofa. The idea is to adopt this way of life and not to run out and purchase “Hygge in a box.”
But I think we can all agree that it’s nice to think of a place that embodies what each of those elements represent. And although the warmth of Christmas maybe safely packed away in our basements and in our hearts, the coziness that winter can bring will help us wait (now more patiently maybe?) the arrival of longer days.