Listen very closely. Can you hear it? A jingle of bells, a whistling wind, people laughing through the snow? That's right, winter and the holiday season are coming fast & furious and there's absolutely nothing you can do to stop it. Netflix is releasing holiday specials (A Christmas Prince: Royal Wedding comes out TODAY, Y'ALL!) every single aisle is laden with decorations, and beauty advent calendars are all the rage. But as any good Canadian knows, with Christmas comes winter, darkness and the urge to stay inside. So with all that to consider, here's how I try to stay 'hygge' all winter long.
Yes, I realize that "Winter" doesn't actually start until December 21, but honestly that date is so far away from the start of winter that it's patently ridiculous.
First thing's first. What is "hygge" anyway?
HyggeHouse has a great definition of Hygge on their blog and a fantastic infographic that I absolutely love. Girl knows a SURPRISING amount about being toasty and cozy despite being a Californian! While I do argue the "cold" factor is a big part about hygge for me, her site is pretty awesome.
I first encountered 'hygge' a few years ago when I read the fantastic "The Almost Nearly Perfect People: The Truth About the Nordic Miracle" which breaks down the myths and stereotypes (good and bad) that people have about Nordic countries. I was so fascinated by what I've learned that I've devoured other books about the topic ( The Year of Living Danishly is also excellent), because I definitely felt some sort of familiarity with what I discovered in the idea of hygge. Unfortunately, so did the rest of the world, which lead to NUMEROUS books and expensive THINGS that people think they NEED to get hygge, disregarding the fact that it's more of an idea and an ethos instead of a shopping list.
Here's what I need to get hygge.
Warmth: One of the absolute first steps in getting hygge is to start by adding some warmth in your home. I live in an older building where the floors tend to be cold no matter how much I turn the heat up, so I always have a variety of fuzzy slippers on my feet from November until March. I also tend to adorn my chair, couch and bed with a variety of blankets. I'm not a duvet person, instead I prefer blanket variety depending on the weather! A wool Hudson's Bay point blanket one day, a fuzzy faux fur throw on another. It doesn't matter if I'm reading a book, watching a tv or typing on my laptop, there is always a blanket nearby. Other methods of warmth that I enjoy include tucking my feet behind my partner's back while we watch TV on the couch, or when my cats crawl all over me and act as little portable space heaters at night!
Food: While I may not be a contestant on the Great British Bake off or Canadian equivalent, the Great Canadian Baking Show anytime soon, I definitely feel the urge to bake getting stronger the colder it gets. And what better way to invite people to your home than with a baked good? (Or just eat it all yourself, also TOTALLY FINE IMHO!) Pies, crumbles, galettes, you name it, you should bake it! Next on my docket? Sesame chocolate chip cookies and a Martha Stewart Honey Pie! (Sugar coma, incoming!)
Entertainment: While I already mentioned that I am binging on Netflix and Hallmark holiday specials (please see my Twitter thread for the updates), this type of entertainment could take many forms. Winter IS the best time to catch up on your favourite TV shows (I still have season 3 of Outlander to catch up on!), this could also include a great podcast (may I recommend Hurry Slowly for productivity types or Nobody Cares for those who need a laugh?) or a book (check out some of my favourites so far this year!). When I'm thinking of 'hygge' entertainment, I generally find that it needs to be something relatively positive. I'm not looking for podcasts about murderers (Dr Death!) or documentaries about climate change (Anthropocene!), I'd prefer some comedy, historical romance and things to help soothe!
Pampering & Self-Care: I could go on and on about this topic in length (actually, I already have!), but this could be as simple as using a sheet mask, to painting my nails or simply taking a hot shower. My skin turns into a raisin in the winter as all the moisture is basically sucked from my body and I REQUIRE body lotion, body oil and face masks to keep myself looking like a hydrated human! Whether you're using sheet masks, hydrating face masks or DIYing your own skincare from stuff in your fridge, you can do this too.
So really, all you need to do is combine a few elements into your week and watch as the hygge washes over you. The best part is that so many elements of this can be enjoyed solo or with others, so you can also incorporate more of a collective experience, or spend some time with yourself to relax. It's all up to you. Here's to your idea of hygge!