Winter is truly here and rather than be consumed by the early morning and early evening darkness, I like, in true Hygge fashion, to add lights wherever I can to take away the gloom and make things warm and snug.
If you are prone to depression and anxiety, as I am, there is something to be said for staving off the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder and add the light back to lift the mood wherever you can.
Personally, I always love putting up the Christmas fairy lights and hate it when I have to take them down so I love all things ‘Hygge’.
In case you’re wondering, Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special.
It’s a quality you can easily create at home so I’ve put together a list of Hygge essentials so that you’ll be cosy all through the long winter months.
A comfy ‘nook’
Whilst you may not have a window seat or a library with a roaring open fire (my personal dream), you can create your own ‘nook’ to snuggle in by adding soft lighting, cushions and perhaps a blanket to any corner you care to call your own.
What better place to snuggle up with a book (or your Kindle) and a mug of hot chocolate and let time drift. We parents can all dream!
There is nothing like a real fire but how many of us have that luxury. I suppose a flame effect electric fire may be as close as some of us get but it’s still on my list.
While you may not have a real fire, these days there is a huge choice in lighting, both indoor and out, to suit all budgets. Whether you’re a fan of twinkly fairy lights, uplighters or stand-alone lamps, these days there are loads of options to suit all budgets.
And, now that the leaves have fallen and the trees in the garden are looking bare, why not add some sparkle to them with strings of LED lights from Lights4you.co.uk? Outdoor lights aren’t just for Christmas.
An even quicker way to add cosiness and atmosphere is, of course, to use candles or tealights. Place them in vintage teacups, stand them on mirrors for reflected sparkle or go ‘posh’ with a candelabra. Whatever your choice, don’t forget to make sure they’re all properly extinguished – and keep them away from kids and pets.
Things fashioned from nature
In Meik Wiking’s book “The Little Book Of Hygge – The Danish Way To Live Well”, he suggests that things made from wood take us back to nature, as does adding displays featuring leaves, nuts and twigs.
Whether it’s a superb piece of wooden furniture (perhaps antique, perhaps upcycled), wooden toys for the children or wooden flooring, there is just something about wood that has a simple, natural appeal.
My personal choice? An antique grandfather clock.
Now although I love my Kindle, it will never replace print copy books. There is something about reading a much loved classic novel in a leatherbound cover, a beautifully illustrated children’s story or even a cookery book that a Kindle just can’t replace.
In these days of one-use plastic, it’s time for a resurgence in proper, reusable crockery. You don’t have to buy new. Antique shops, car boot sales and charity shops are all treasure troves of quirky mugs, plates and teaware. Your sets don’t have to match either.
Readers of this blog will know that the husband is ‘anti-cushion’ whereas I think you can never have too many. What quicker way to add some cosy than a range of cushions featuring your favourite fabrics – velvet, satin, silk, faux fur – the choice is endless.
Ditto throws and blankets. We keep them over the back of our sofas so the kids can snuggle under them when it’s chilly or they’re tired.
Whether or not Hygge is a trend here in the UK is debatable but the concept has much to teach us about living well, living simply and enjoying each others’ company.
To quote Meik Wiking – “Hygge is about feeling safe. Hence, Hygge is an indicator that you trust the ones you are with and where you are”.
What could be better?