38 Ways to Hygge This Season

The word hygge has gotten pretty trendy in the U.S. the last couple of years. But as the daughter of a Dane who spent a lot of her childhood in Denmark, this word wasn’t new to me. In fact, it was as much a part of my vocabulary as anything in English. The concept of hygge wasn’t new either: the sensation of comfort, the warmth of love and togetherness of family and friends, something deeper and more meaningful than just “cozy” (and not limited to just the colder months of the year). It seems more and more Americans are embracing minimalism and this Danish lifestyle that Scandinavians have known for generations is what contributes to their high life-satisfaction and happiness. 

In October, I sought out ways to really enjoy my favorite month*, and decided I wanted to carry that intent through the season and into winter. I started to brainstorm all these ideas of how I could make the next few months more hyggelig (the adjective usage of hygge), to bring light and warmth into the cold and dark, “to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life,” like Thoreau. 

Get Cozy

  • Hang twinkly lights, both indoors and out

  • Make a living room fort with pillows and comforters (and twinkly lights!)

  • Turn on the fireplace, light some candles or diffuse essential oils, listen to the rain on the skylights or some vinyl records

  • Let the dog up on the bed or couch to snuggle with you while you’re writing blog posts on your computer

  • Put on some warm fuzzy comfy clothes like fair isle leggings and big wrap sweater (or get a new set of pjs and slippers)

  • Get a new plant, some pretty flowers, or a lovely wreath

Get Creative & Play

  • Color, do a crossword, build puzzles, play board & card games, or build Legos

  • Make a “Hyggelig Playlist”

  • Spend a whole day watching festive movies (or at the movie theater)

  • Host a noshing party or indoor picnic (try a traditional Danish lunch)

  • Try new recipes from classic cookbooks like The Art of French Cooking

  • Invent or perfect some cocktails

Get Nostalgic

  • Scroll through your social feeds and organize photos

  • Make a memory binder or scrapbook of mementos from the past year (or any year)

  • Go to your favorite local record shop and get a couple new (or used) albums

  • Call or FaceTime a loved one every day, even if it’s just for 5 minutes

  • Go through your stuff and say goodbye to what no longer serves you, then donate (or recycle) it

  • Watch your favorite childhood movies

Get Pampered

  • Have DIY spa day— take a long bath, dry brush, give yourself a facial, do your nails

  • Have a day at the spa, try a sauna and/or steam room

  • Try out No-Shave November (fun fact: I’ve never see my husband without his beard in 12 years)

  • Instead of cooking for a holiday dinner, eat at a nice restaurant (like McMenamins Thanksgiving buffet)

Get Out & Explore

  • Make a winter bonfire (particularly on Winter Solstice)

  • Attend a local Ranger-guided nature walk (snowshoe Crater Lake)

  • Take a nature-day road trip (to the coast/mountains/woods) and perhaps cut your own Christmas tree

  • Go to the grower’s market for winter veggies

  • Discover your town by walking around taking photos of little details, or participate in a monthly event like First Fridays

  • Spend a day wine tasting (if you’re near a wine region)

  • Go to an art gallery or a concert

Get In the Spirit

  • Carve pumpkins, build a gingerbread house, or decorate cookies

  • Enjoy a little Frangelico or Bailey’s in your coffee (or eggnog)

  • Do Black Friday your way (get up at 4am to go out with friends, shop online in your PJs, or ignore it altogether and (#OptOutside)

  • Support Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday

  • Make an advent calendar for your kids or yourself

  • Go to your town’s tree lighting ceremony, parade, holiday bazaars, festivals or other events (Victorian Christmas in Jacksonville)

  • Search for epic Christmas lights displays (Oregon ZooLights, The Grotto, Shore Acres)

  • Visit Hipster Santa

  • Set up a selfie-booth with fun props on New Years Eve

Some things on my list are certainly specific to where I live and my life events, so consider how you could take my idea and make it your own. Or use them to springboard your own ideas. Maybe you live near a different big city that has similar stuff going on. Maybe you’re in Europe and you can visit the most epic holiday bazaars in the world. The idea here is to look for what is happening around you, what can you be part of and enjoy? Make it work for you. I’d love to know what you come up with to make this season full of hygge!

P.S. Here’s another great article (and awesome workbook) on How to Hygge.

*Side note: My husband is a genius. Since I was practicing my own advice on How to Deal When You Despise Halloween, he came up with the term “Hyggeween” so we can celebrate all the goodness that is the month of October. Next year, you better believe it’s going to be hyggelig AF on the 31st.

“I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

-Henry David Thoreau

Hygge & HavnJulie Kanta