Hygge for the Holidays

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Hygge for the Holidays

I would like to introduce you to a new phrase: Hygge for the holidays. It’s a fun play on Home for the Holidays. There are some similarities to be sure, but a Hygge holiday is celebrated in a specific way, which we will explore in this post.

First let me say that a Hygge holiday is all about peaceful, quiet, and cozy surroundings. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

Hygge, pronounced as “Hue-gah,” is a term rooted in an Old Norwegian word that signifies well-being and safeguarding against external factors. Originating from Denmark, a country known for its lengthy and bitterly cold winters, this concept is deeply ingrained in Danish culture. It serves as a mental shield against the harsh, unyielding winter months, infusing Danish homes with a sense of warmth, coziness, and affection.

candle and greenery

Hygge holds a significant place in the hearts of the Danish, often encapsulating the essence of their cultural ethos. More than a tangible item to be purchased, hygge embodies a deeply felt experience. It stands as the quintessence of the Danish way of life. Fortunately, over the past five years, this concept of hygge has journeyed beyond Denmark, finding a place in the United States and numerous other nations. After all, who wouldn’t appreciate the pursuit of tranquility, quietude, and snugness?

Here are additional terms that encapsulate hygge: comfort, closeness, camaraderie, laughter, and even homemade seasonal fare and beverages. While hygge can be experienced year-round through activities like summer BBQs with friends or outdoor movie nights with family, it is more commonly linked with the winter months due to its uplifting effect during the dark, lengthy winter days.

Hygge is particularly suited for the holiday season in November and December, emphasizing tranquil, snug environments that evoke a sense of satisfaction. Here are some straightforward methods to infuse your home with holiday hygge this season:

  • Host a casual gathering – The holiday season presents numerous opportunities for welcoming loved ones into your home. Remember, hygge-oriented gatherings are about creating a relaxed, amiable, and home-like atmosphere.
  • Enhance your space with warm lighting – To truly capture the essence of hygge, consider lighting candles, having a fireplace glow, or setting up fairy lights. Such warm lighting is vital for a holiday hygge ambiance.
  • Incorporate soft and warm textiles – Bring out your most comfortable blankets and place them on sofas, chairs, and near windows for easy access. This allows for a cozy retreat with a good book or a moment of relaxation.
  • Prepare homemade holiday dishes and baked goods – Cooking traditional holiday recipes and baking treats can infuse your home with the spirit of holiday hygge. Preparing comfort foods like ham, stews, savory flatbreads, cookies, and cinnamon apple pie not only creates enticing scents but also makes your home feel more welcoming and warm.
apple pie
The aroma of a fresh baked pie is part of holiday hygge.

The festive spirit of the holiday season presents numerous delightful and gratifying chances to embrace hygge. Whether it’s preparing cherished family recipes or enjoying holiday movies, there are myriad paths to capturing that snug hygge sensation that becomes especially sought-after during this time of year.

Now that you do know the term for that warm and fuzzy feeling, you will be able to up your holiday hygge game even further. Here are some suggestions:

Go Cut A Tree For A Hygge Holiday Experience

A cherished hygge ritual in the holiday season is the process of choosing and cutting down a Christmas tree. For numerous people, the act of personally selecting and cutting a tree, surrounded by family, truly captures the holiday spirit. This is followed by the delightful task of decorating the tree, typically set to the backdrop of joyful holiday tunes and perhaps the cozy ambiance of a crackling fireplace.

Hygge coffee mug
Use this mug for some hot chocolate after getting your tree!

Maybe you live in an area where the traditional holiday fir tree grows in abundance and you are able to go and pick one out easily. My sister lives in Colorado and they get their trees from the national forest (it’s a program there)! If not, thanks to the growing hygge movement; cut-your-own-tree farms are increasingly popular. Chances are there is one within driving distance from your home.

Any tree that’s indigenous to your area will do just fine, if fir trees are not available in your area. It’s truly less about the tree and more about the experience.

Once you have a plan of where you will cut the tree down from, it’s time to gather up the family. Get dressed in your holiday flannels, jeans and boots and head to the tree farm. Remember to bring a few warm blankets or scarves to help you all stay cozy. Decide as a group what shape tree will work best in your home. Have fun cutting it down together and strapping it to the top of your car to make the drive with your tree back home.

If cutting a tree down is not feasible for you or not desirable, just try to think of a way to create a fun tradition. We go to a local tree farm. But even just a ceremonious unboxing of an artificial tree can take on a hygge spirit if you put a little thought into it!

evergreen tree

Bringing your holiday tree home and adorning it with your family is an integral part of the hygge experience. Drape the tree in warm-hued lights and homemade ornaments. The objective isn’t to achieve a flawlessly decorated tree, but rather to create one imbued with love, laughter, and cherished family moments. Enhance the hygge atmosphere by lighting candles around your home, baking fresh holiday cookies, preparing hot cocoa, and playing some of your favorite festive music.

One aspect I particularly treasure about this family holiday ritual is its status as an annual tradition. Year after year, we create memories by going to the farm to select our tree (as mentioned above). Then we decorate it together, which not only adds to our holiday enjoyment but also encapsulates the essence of hygge. This tradition sets the stage for a holiday season filled with warmth and family togetherness.

3 Simple Ways To Use Aroma to Create a Hygge Holiday

Our sense of smell plays a crucial role in our daily lives, often more than we realize. Aromas have the power to alter our mood, influence our interactions, and are profoundly linked to memory recall.

Research shows that our ability to remember scents is remarkably strong, with a 65% accuracy rate even after a year, compared to a significant drop in visual memory to about 50% after just a few months. This is due to the fact that when we perceive a scent, it is processed directly by the brain’s olfactory bulb, which is closely connected to the amygdala and hippocampus, regions critical for emotion and memory.

In simpler terms, our brains often associate scents with specific memories. This could be the aroma of a family meal, a particular flower, or a familiar perfume; certain smells can vividly bring back memories as if they occurred only yesterday. Scents have this remarkable ability to shift our mood. Utilizing scents can be a strategic way to enhance your holiday hygge spirit and fill your home with delightful fragrances.

  • Scented candles are an excellent method to make your home both visually appealing and aromatically festive for the holiday season. The presence of burning candles significantly contributes to the hygge atmosphere, with their warm light creating a sense of coziness and comfort in your spaces.

    Candles not only create a home-y appearance and ambiance but they also emit delightful fragrances. Nowadays, scented candles are widely available in most shops. However, for more refined and high-quality aromas, it’s best to purchase your candles from a store that specializes exclusively in candles. If you’re lucky enough to have a local candle artisan nearby, that’s even better! Classic holiday scents such as warm vanilla, cinnamon apple, sugar plum, and peppermint are often popular choices.
decorative candles
  • Enhancing your home’s holiday aroma can also be achieved through fresh greenery. Opting for a freshly cut fir tree, a new wreath, or branches from fragrant evergreens can wonderfully maintain a joyous and hygge atmosphere in your home.

    In case fresh trees and branches aren’t readily available in your locality, consider visiting home improvement stores. There, you can look for some of the most aromatic evergreens, such as Scotch pine, Douglas fir, white spruce, and Noble fir trees, known for their delightful scents.

    A final option for a Christmas tree scent is a candle that smells like pine or cedar/fir. There are quite a few from which to choose!
  • Finally, and certainly not least, filling your home with the aromas of homemade holiday treats is a surefire way to achieve sweet and savory scents. Engaging in baking and cooking seasonal delicacies is not just an ideal hygge activity but also a natural way to make your home smell wonderful. Utilizing traditional family recipes for the holidays is a great idea.

    Alternatively, if you’re in a creative mood, you could start a new tradition by crafting your own unique, sweet-smelling recipe. Preparing it with your family only enhances the experience.

    Whichever path you choose, maintaining a festive aroma in your home is key to a relaxed and enjoyable hygge holiday.

Go Hygge With Your Favorite Holiday Comfort Foods & Treats

Certain dishes have a unique ability to comfort and soothe, particularly during the winter months. Foods like hearty stews, casseroles, pot pies, homemade bread, and baked treats offer a sense of contentment and can uplift spirits on a chilly winter day.

The simple pleasure of snuggling by the fire with a hot bowl of soup and a snug blanket can wonderfully transform your day. So, it’s time to dust off the slow cooker and embrace a hygge holiday filled with these comforting foods and delights.

Cooking and baking form a significant part of the hygge philosophy, especially when shared with family and dear friends. Reviving traditions with old family recipes is a beloved aspect of hygge. The mere thought of preparing Great Grandma’s apple-cinnamon pie recipe can evoke a heartwarming sensation.

Passing these recipes to your children and teaching them to carry on these culinary traditions, is incredibly fulfilling. One example of this idea that we do each year is making my mom’s recipe for yams. We do this at Thanksgiving and Christmas, as she did. I have the recipe card in her handwriting and, as she passed away a few years ago, it’s a nice way of keeping her spirit alive and well in our celebration.

As previously mentioned, creating your own family recipes is another enjoyable hygge holiday activity. Collaboratively decide on a comfort food to master. Pot pies, a winter favorite, are a great option. Experiment with a recipe, adding your personal twist, and then write it down for future use.

A creative idea to use with these written recipes is to have a special box for all your traditional comfort food recipes. Each year, it becomes a cherished moment to open this box, revisit favorite recipes, and add new ones. The personal touch of handwritten recipes adds to the charm – like my cherished index card with my mom’s yams recipe.

All this said, I must admit, I am not a big fan of cooking! So for those of you like me, there are ways to adapt these ideas to your preferences while still embracing the Hygge spirit. For example, maybe instead of homemade bread, you have a favorite easy bake bread you get at the store and you have festive toppings you put on it that are special holiday toppings…you still have the aroma of baked bread and the warmth of a shared and tasty tradition.

Or for cookies. Just work with pre-made cookie dough and the coziness comes in the decorating and quality time spent there.

Beyond the fun times with family cooking and eating favorite foods, Hygge holidays are further enhanced when comfort foods are shared as holiday gifts. Homemade treats like cookies, pies, and fudge are perfect for gifting. Package them in festive cellophane and include a handwritten holiday card for a thoughtful touch.

Offering comfort meals as gifts is also a considerate gesture, especially for friends or loved ones with hectic schedules. Giving the gift of a worry-free dinner is priceless. Dishes like lasagna, soups, and casseroles are ideal for this purpose, as they travel and reheat well. The spirit of holiday cheer is always magnified by generous gift-giving.

Spread The Joy – Using Hygge In Gift Giving

The act of giving gifts is one of the most heartwarming elements of the holiday season. Receiving a thoughtful present is always lovely, but the joy of giving a meaningful gift can be even more rewarding. The true value of a great gift lies in the intention and thought behind it, rather than the gift itself. A holiday hygge gift should be considerate, possibly including something handmade or an item that adds coziness to the home.

To truly embrace the essence of gift-giving, start by contemplating the person you’re giving the gift to. Reflect on their interests and passions, and consider what genuinely brings them joy. Pay attention to any hints they may drop during your conversations, or consult mutual friends or family members for ideas if you find yourself at a crossroads.

When you’re set to begin your gift search, consider exploring local shops and artisanal boutiques for that perfect item, as they often house more distinctive treasures. These stores might even offer handmade goods or artwork from local creators. While shopping, remember to focus on the recipient’s tastes rather than your own, and approach the task with an open mind.

Not everyone prioritizes gift wrapping – and I admit, I’m not the most meticulous wrapper myself. However, the presentation of your gift, which includes the wrapping, can be almost as significant as the gift inside. It should be neat and appropriately festive.

For a hygge-themed gift wrapping, consider using a charming, natural-looking cardboard box, or wrapping paper adorned with snowflakes, birds, or nature scenes. Alternatively, you could get creative with something like a knitted stocking or a seasonal container to place your gift in.

There’s an abundance of gift ideas that embody the hygge philosophy, particularly during the winter. Hygge is synonymous with comfort and warmth, making home-related items a popular choice for gifts. Textiles like blankets, throws, and pillows are excellent options. Similarly, warm lighting plays a vital role in creating a hygge atmosphere, so candles and tea light lanterns are also fantastic gift ideas.

Seasonal treats and beverages are a big part of the hygge lifestyle too. Assembling a hot cocoa kit can be a delightful present for a chocolate enthusiast: think of a charming mug, an ornate spoon, and quality cocoa mix.

Alternatively, consider compiling the ingredients for your favorite cookie recipe, presenting them in a basket with a handwritten recipe and a personal note.

A good book, or a new pen and journal, would also make cozy and thoughtful gifts. There are endless possibilities!

The joy of spreading holiday cheer through hygge-inspired gifts is limitless. Giving can be both fun and immensely satisfying, often bringing more happiness than receiving.

FAQ: Hygge Holidays – Top 3 Questions

What is hygge and how does it enhance the holiday experience?

Hygge, a Danish concept pronounced “hue-gah,” emphasizes creating a warm, comfortable, and content atmosphere. During the holidays, it involves embracing simple pleasures like cozy lighting, comforting foods, and quality time with loved ones to create a joyful and peaceful environment.

What types of gifts embody the hygge concept?

Gifts that reflect the hygge philosophy include items that promote warmth and relaxation, such as handmade baked goods, snug blankets, candles, and thoughtful books or journals. The key is to choose presents that foster a sense of comfort and enjoyment.

Can hygge be practiced alone or is it more communal?

Hygge can be enjoyed both individually and in groups. Its essence lies in finding contentment and peace, which can be experienced in solitary activities like reading, writing, or savoring a quiet moment, as well as in communal gatherings and shared experiences.

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In conclusion

To sum it all up, the essence of hygge during the holidays is about more than just décor and recipes; it’s a holistic approach to creating a sense of warmth, comfort, and joy in our lives. Whether it’s through the cozy ambiance of candlelight, the shared laughter over holiday baking, or the peace found in a quiet moment alone with a good book, hygge reminds us to cherish the simple things that bring happiness.

As we embrace the holiday season, let us carry the spirit of hygge in our hearts, making each moment a little warmer, each memory a bit sweeter, and our connections with loved ones even stronger.

Check out the 30 Day Happiness Challenge–Comes with a FREE journal and fits with the idea of cozy. comfy moments spent honing your happiness habits!

About Cate

I am a retired RN–I enjoy blogging, designing mugs and more, and spreading a bit of positivity in the world.

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