Hygge: A Cozy Strategy to Get Through Winter


When the temperatures drop, the wind picks up, and the days are looking grey, hygge can bring some warmth and comfort into life.

So, what is hygge? Or the even bigger question — how do you say it?

It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it is pronounced “hoo-guh.” A Danish term that means coziness and warmth, appreciating the simple pleasures of life.

Enjoying the Good Things

Being of Danish heritage (1/4, on my dad’s side), I felt that I needed to have a better understanding of what hygge is and how to incorporate into my life during a cold Midwestern winter.

From my internet research, I discovered that hygge is many things. It is candles, chocolate or other sweets, fuzzy woolen socks, a roaring fireplace, books and board games, a hot drink, a soft blanket. It is self-care.

It’s a way to combat the dark and gloom.

But I think, most importantly, it’s about being fully present in the moment. Savoring life, creating intimacy, and finding ways to feel content each day. 

This doesn’t come naturally in our face-paced world, so here are some ways to incorporate hygge into your life.

How to Hygge

1. Set a cozy environment.

Snuggle up with blankets, turn down the overhead lights and use your fireplace if you have one. If not, light candles to create a warm glow.

To get the kids involved, create a comfy fort out of pillows and blankets (like this comfy faux fur blanket), or a soft little reading nook.

2. Get comfortable.

Think cozy sweatpants, fleece sweatshirts, thick woolen socks, leggings, and a big warm sweater. Anything comfortable. Maybe even a Snuggie, I don’t have one personally but it seems very hygge!

3. Treat yourself.

Warm up with hot drinks: tea, hot chocolate, and mulled wine.

And enjoy decadent desserts, something indulgent. Or, in a pinch, just grab some chocolate. Hygge involves taking break from healthy eating. And then baking, savoring, taking the time to appreciate the process. Lately I have been making (and my kids have been loving) these chocolate chip cookies.

 4. Be present.

Hygge is time spent with loved ones, enjoying the time together. Spend quality time at home with friends and family. Taking the time to dust off the board games or watching a movie with a big bowl of buttery popcorn.

Hygge: Take the Time

It’s a strategy to get through a long winter and it’s also a lifestyle. And looking at the country of Denmark, it appears to be effective. Denmark is one of the world’s happiest countries despite their miserable (and very upper Midwest-like) winter.

But I have learned hygge is not just about making winter less miserable, it’s about taking the time to be present and enjoy the good things in life with the people that we love. And that’s something that can certainly add value to day-to-day life. 

Want to learn more? Check out this book The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living for more ideas and some good recipes!

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Leah is a true Midwesterner: born in Minnesota, educated at the University of North Dakota, and living in Fargo since 2009. She has a degree in English and spent years working as a paralegal. Leah is now a stay-at-home mom to two boys, Andrew and Sammy. She spends her free time reading, traveling, and getting a good workout in. She loves learning, music, art, coffee, the oxford comma, and is continually pursuing the elusive goal of having an organized home.


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