Colder weather and darker days are slowly approaching with the beginning of Fall. While it’s easy to romanticize the long, hazy days of summer, there’s a certain charm and coziness that Autumn and Winter bring. For the Danish, this feeling of coziness, contentedness, and togetherness that fall activities like apple picking and the upcoming holiday season bring are known as simply as hygge (pronounced hoo-gah). With no equivalent in the English language, Hygge is not just an adjective, but a sentiment and state of being.
Author Meik Wiking has famously attributed Denmark’s status as “the happiest nation in the world” to this element of hygge that keeps its citizens happy—even in the face of long stretches of dreary and cold weather. So, using the principles of Wiking’s “Little Book of Hygge,” we’ve gathered five simple ways to embrace the coming seasons as the Danes do to create your own hygge happiness.
MAKE HOME A HAVEN
Danes are renowned for their keen eye for interior design. With clean modern lines and an emphasis on natural materials, it’s impossible for their spaces not to be cozy. And for good reason. Hygge starts at home. During bouts of foul weather and dark nights, home is where you are going to be, so why not make your space hygge? Bring the outside in with touches of wood, natural textiles like linen, and plants. Create cozy nooks to relax in with pillows and throws, focusing on soft textures like sheepskin, wool, and cotton.
A big part of creating hygge is lighting. Dim your lights, change lightbulbs out for lower wattage and illuminate your space with candles. Creating hygge at home doesn’t have to hard, find an element that creates a warm atmosphere and go with it—staying in just became even more enticing.
Find some hygge at home inspiration by browsing these divine designs.
GET TOGETHER WITH FRIENDS
Is there anything better to beat gloomy weather blues than getting together with friends? No, we’re not talking about a party, an expensive night out clubbing, or an elaborate dinner party. Quality time socializing with close friends and loved ones is a cozy idea that often makes the holiday season such a wonderful time of the year.
Create that feeling of hygge year round with intimate social gatherings. Gossip with a friend over a good cup of coffee beside a roaring fire, create a monthly dinner club where everyone brings an entrée or side, or have a movie night/viewing party for your favorite show. Keep it simple and casual—great company doesn’t cost a thing.
Need a little guidance starting your own dinner club? Pick up some tips from the experts here.
SPEND SOME QUALITY TIME ALONE
On the opposite end of the spectrum, time alone with your thoughts in pursuit of personal happiness is one of the most hygge things you can do this fall. Turn off your phone, send the kids off to the babysitters, and plan your perfect night in. Wear your tattered college sweatpants, pull up some woolen socks, and get ready to lounge. Draw yourself a hot bath (candlelit, of course), curl up on the sofa with a good book, or crawl under a warm blanket with a glass of wine and watch your favorite guilty on TV.
Some time alone is also the perfect opportunity to explore a new hobby. Go for a solo run, pick up the knitting needles, try your hand at journaling—whatever you choose to do, focus on something that brings you joy.
Looking for a book to curl up with? Take a look at the best new books of 2017.
INDULGE YOUR SENSES
Besides being the happiest nation in the world, Danes also happen to be one of the largest consumers of sweets in the world. A direct correlation? We’re not sure, but who isn’t happier with a warm pastry or slice of cake in front of them? Sugary treats and indulgent entrees get a bad rap in this world of restrictive diets, but we say: “Treat yo’ self.”
Moderation is of course key, but few things can induce the cozy feeling of hygge more than the smell of fresh baked cookies, the simmering of a hot stew on the stove, and the warmth of a hot cup of cocoa between your hands. So set aside any guilt and let your favorite pick-me-up food take you on a nostalgic trip to hygge.
Want to hygge likes the Danes do? Try these tasty recipes.