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How ‘Hygge’ Can Help You Feel Happier This Winter

How To Embrace The Danish Concept Of Hygge This Winter

Have you heard of “hygge” yet? It seems like every time I turn around, I see another book or an article about it! My innate curiosity lead me to doing some research about this Danish buzzword and what it really means.

I ended up finding the concept of hygge so fascinating that I decided I would share it with you all today! It also felt like a great way to honor my own Danish heritage, although you don’t have to be Danish or even Scandinavian to enjoy its benefits!


What Is Hygge?

“Hygge” (pronounced “HUE-guh”) is a Danish word used to describe a feeling of coziness and contentment. To embrace hygge is to foster warmth, safety, belonging, and wellbeing.

This small word holds a lot of meaning to the Danes, who view hygge as an important part of their national identity. According to the European Social Survey, Danish people report the highest levels of wellbeing in all of Europe, and I have no doubt hygge plays a part in that!

Lucky for us, you don’t have to be Danish to embrace hygge in your own life. Here are 6 simple aspects you can embrace and benefit from this winter!

6 Easy Ways To Embrace Hygge


1. Firelight

Having the right lighting is an important part of hygge. The lower and warmer your light sources are, the better! Use candles, a roaring fire, or even fairy lights to set a really cosy mood at home. (And yes, LED candles can count too!)


2. Hyggebukser (Cosy Pants)

Good news for those who wear sweats or yoga pants as often as possible—cosy, comfortable pants are very hygge. Throw on a pair of wool socks too to complete the look!


3. Comfort Foods

Make it a point to indulge in foods that feel cosy and comforting to you. Whether you’d rather have a cup of hot cocoa, a warm pastry, or a fresh cup of coffee, take the time to enjoy it! Get bonus points by enjoying your indulgent treat with a friend or family member.

Related: Our Favorite Semi-Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix!


4. Hyggekrog (Cosy Nook)

Find the most relaxing spot in your house and make it your own! Make it extra cosy with cushions, blankets, candles, and anything else that makes you feel warm, safe, and happy.


5. Natural Materials

Bringing nature indoors through the use of natural materials is a very Scandinavian design principle, and a big part of hygge too! Seek out furniture and decor made of wood, cotton, furs, leafy plants, and more.


6. Books

Taking a moment to curl up with a book is very hyggelig (meaning hygge-y or hygge-like). When in doubt, you can never go wrong with classic works by authors like Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, etc.


While the things I listed above contribute to hygge, there are also things that can detract from it. Avoid these 5 behaviors this winter to further embrace hygge!

5 Things That AREN’T Hygge

1. Staring At Your Phone

Mindlessly scrolling through your phone while Netflix plays in the background doesn’t count as hygge. Instead, have some friends over to watch a movie, since hygge is all about togetherness!

2. Hibernating All Winter

Sure, a big part of hygge is enjoying the cosy indoors, but it’s equally important to spend time outdoors! Throw on your puffiest coats and your snow boots, and go “walking in a winter wonderland!” Invite a friend along on your walk, and go check out some of the lovely Christmas light displays in your neighborhood.

3. Buying Tons Of Stuff

There are certain items that help cultivate a feeling of hygge in your home (like candles, blankets, etc.) But at its core, hygge is all about simplicity and enjoying the things you already have. That doesn’t mean you can’t buy anything, but it’s a good idea to be mindful of your spending on hygge items or even holiday gifts. Keep it simple!

4. Stressing About Socializing

Everything requires balance, even the time you spend socializing with family and friends. Make sure to make time for yourself this winter. Whether you find comfort and solace in crafting, reading, or watching movies, it’s important to take that time for yourself! It’s good for the soul, and very hygge.

5. Heated Conversations

You may not agree with your relatives or friends when it comes to politics or religion, and that’s fine! But when you spend time with them this winter, try to leave your differences at the door. Wintertime can be stressful enough without adding debates and arguments into the equation. Instead, focus on bonding, reminiscing, and finding common ground when you’re spending time with loved ones in the coming weeks.

hygge book

Give The Gift Of Hygge!

While I was researching for this post, I learned a lot by reading The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. It’s a quick read, and I think it would make a wonderful gift for just about anyone!

Box up a copy of this book along with a candle, some tea or cocoa, and a pair of warm and cosy socks. This little hygge “starter kit” is sure to be cherished and appreciated!

What are some of the ways you already embrace hygge during the wintertime?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • Yes on severely limiting time with relatives for higgle. I didn’t get it that family abuse doesn’t end when you’re 18 or 21! That has made the holidays something other than days of huge dread. Part of making home cozy, for me, and creating a safe hygge space for myself. I am enjoying holidays for the very first time.

  • Just wanna say “hi” – I’m one of your danish followers.
    Well… I wouldn¨t say it’s the way to pronounce “Hygge” but it’s hard to do correct for you I think – now “sounds”. – but at least the word doesn¨t include æ ø and å :D ;)

    And it’s funny that “hygge” is such a big thing the last years in other countries – In my oppinion most countries do have it already. I have spend time with “hygge” in US with friends and you see it also in a lot of hollywood movies :)

    Well.. and there are so many way to do it – but ofcause (especially in the cold and dark time) it include light (living, battery or come other “relaxing” light, even in the windows.. Something to have over your legs, some hot to drink – and maybe something to eat too .. candy, cake, popcorn, fruit etc.

    Ohh– and I do think that most danes doesn’t like colored christmas light, but white/yellow only.

    • Thanks Annika! I think you’re right – hygge is portrayed in movies and can be found all over the world! White/yellow Christmas lights are my favorite, too :-)

  • I loved the concept, and hope you’ll repeat a hygge post in Spring for comforting surroundings and tone during the warm season. I realize I really need that beautiful butter recliner for myself!! I’m tall, 5’10, and wonder if it might fit me? Can you give me any information about it? Thanks so much.

    • I am also 5’10”!! It’s the very best – my favorite spot in the whole house! I bought it at RC Willey. I’m having a hard time finding the exact same one one their website, but they have a lot that look similar :-)

  • I just borrowed the ebook through my local library. Thank you! I love the hygge concept. I’m supposed to be working on stress management. It’s a struggle though since I make mental lists of things I think I must do. The holidays are one of those times I do this the most, so I need help to break the cycle.

  • My Hygge in my home is cuddling in my favorite corner of our couch and crocheting, with like Hallmark channel in the background. A hot cup of coffee and in my Yoga pants and socks. I usually have candles burning on the weekends. I only Hygge on the weekends though, with work and all during the week. Speaking of Crochet a couple of designers have came out with patterns for Hygge sweaters,lol.

  • Really that is their tradition, and yes some people may actually have fur things, none of your business, don’t follow and there is great fake fur stuff out there that are made of great materials, its to get the feel and look so easy to slam other traditions when you have no clue.

  • I do all these things! Maybe because I have Aspergers, these are all normal for me. I am quite introverted and enjoy all my time alone, reading, playing guitar, creating. It’s nice to see that there is someplace in the world that appreciates this kind of life.

  • This interesting. I have some Scandinavian blood – part Swedish and Danish in my family. It’s fun to learn about this type of stuff. Because of the way things were when my Gtsndpas parents came here,,a lot of that type of stuff didn’t get passed down to their kids.

    • We do some of the stuff- candles. I’m one of those who wears sweats or loose comfy pants at home. Tight jeans aren’t comfy, and with certain health issues it’s more of a comfort thing.Im glad that’s part of their lifestyle.

  • I’m Danish and have been to the Danish Village in California called Solvang. Our son bought a book about Hygge (it might be the one that you recommend above).
    You should go to Solvang. It’s a very interesting town that’s proud of their heritage.

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