Making Hygge Happen: 9 Ways to Stay Cozy with Your Family this Winter
Today’s post was written by Kate Berube, a Bright Horizons employee who coordinates e-family, our weekly e-mail newsletter for working parents.
Slippery roads, wet wintery flakes, and persistent runny noses are all hallmarks of the coldest season of the year. But with chilly weather, it’s also the perfect time to slow down, savor the moment, and cuddle up with the ones we love. In a word, it’s an opportunity to incorporate hygge into your life.
What is Hygge and How do You Pronounce It?
Pronounced hoo-guh, hygge is defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” A big part of Danish culture (where people experience six months of winter – can you imagine?), hygge is not as ingrained in the American mindset, where hectic schedules and constant rushing around rule the day. Also referred to as gemutlichkeit in German, fredagsmys in Swedish, and koselig in Norwegian, this idea of cuddling up with family or friends and taking a little time to relax and recharge is one that we should all strive for.
Here are some ideas for staying warm, cozy, and relaxed with your family this winter season.
How to Create Hygge with Your Family
Put the phone away. Take advantage of the email lull that has hopefully taken hold of your inbox, put down the phone, and focus on the now with your child. Twenty minutes of your undivided attention, time for question answering, or storytelling might be exactly the bonding time your little one needs.
Rearrange story time. Reading together doesn’t have to be a bedtime-only tradition. After dinner or on the weekend, don your coziest pajamas, make a cup of hot chocolate, and grab the latest book in your child’s favorite series. Happen to have a fireplace or festive candle handy? Even better. This is the perfect way to get that extra cuddle time in while fostering a love of reading.
Create a hyggekrog. Also known as a cozy “nook,” this could be a fort, reading corner, or special hideaway. Include warm, comfy blankets and grab the whole family to snuggle in your new quiet space.
Write letters to friends or family. Winter might not be an ideal time to travel to see long-distance relatives, but there are other ways to stay connected and send your love. Have your children write letters or make drawings to send to friends and family. They’ll love getting a heart-felt surprise in the mail and might just send one back. A little appreciation goes a long way and who knows – you might discover a future writer in the family.
Host a nighttime sledding party. Okay, for this one you’ll probably need to venture outside. Gather your neighbors, sleds, and outerwear and head to the nearest hill after dark. Make this a fun neighborhood tradition and invite everyone in afterwards to warm up. The magic of the night stars, crisp air, and comradery will have your family talking for winters to come.
Have a family game night. Make sure there’s a game for everyone and settle in for some family-friendly competition. Switch up the teams, grab some snacks, and enjoy the laughs.
Update or decorate your child’s room. With more hours spent indoors, it’s a great time of the year to focus on your child’s space and make design changes together. Whether you’re transitioning to a “big boy” room or just adding bookshelves to the walls, this is a great opportunity to bond and to create an inviting, cozy space for your child.
Have breakfast for dinner. This fun family treat, known as god nat briner in Danish, is every parent’s dream come true. An easy meal to make and a break from the normal routine, this comforting concept is best pulled off in conjunction with soft pajamas and warm, gooey cinnamon buns.
Become a tea connoisseur. So much happiness can be found in a steaming mug of tea, and some doctors even prescribe “tea and hygge” as a cure for the common cold. Taste test different flavors with your family and indulge in this simple pleasure.
Luckily, hygge is not something that requires much effort or planning because it’s in a lot of the things that we already do. It’s a mentality, a feeling. It’s finding happiness in mundane pleasures. It’s the space you’re in and the people you’re with. No matter what’s happening in the world, we can all take comfort from slowing down and appreciating the little, everyday moments with people we love.
What are some of the things you do to bring hygge into your home?