Published: 8 Dec 2020
Slippery roads, wet wintery flakes, and persistent runny noses are all hallmarks of winter. But with chilly weather, it’s also the perfect time to slow down, savour the moment, and cuddle up under a blanket with the ones we love.
In a word, it’s an opportunity to incorporate the Danish state and that zeitgeist word hygge (pronounced “hue-gah”) into your family life. In fact, there are plenty of cultures that have a word for it gemutlichkeit in German, fredagsmys in Swedish, and koselig in Norwegian. In the UK, while we’ve all got the White Company brochures, it’s not something we’ve actually got one word for – and that says a lot.
We’re so busy constantly rushing it seems impossible to find time to create this zen-like state of snuggliness. So how can you create hygge in your home easily? Here’s nine ways to consider
- Ditch The Phone - 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 kids need.
- Rearrange Story-time. Reading together doesn’t have to be a bedtime-only tradition. After dinner or at the weekend, don your most snuggly pyjamas or your fluffiest onesie, make the children a cup of hot chocolate, and grab a favourite book. Happen to have a fireplace – great or if like me that’s still a pipe dream, why not just light a candle – don’t underestimate the atmosphere a cinnamon or vanilla scent can help create. Then grab a blanket, snuggle and read a little.
- Create a Hyggekrog or cosy nook. If your children have bunk beds or mid sleepers this is ideal but if not, you can create this with a princess net or wigwam or pop up tents (Ikea and places like Halfords do these very reasonably!). Fill them with warm, comfy blankets and cushions, and get the whole family to snuggle in your new den. If you don’t have a spot, then make your sofa into a cosy den, light some candles (safely!) and put a ‘fake fire’ on the TV (the wonders of Youtube).
- Host a Night-time Outdoor Adventure. If it snows, make the most of it! Gather some friends or neighbours, sledges and waterproofs and head to the nearest hill or go for a walk after dark with torches – or if you don’t fancy the dark, create an after-lunch walking expedition into the nearest wood, park or field. Don’t forget to invite everyone in afterwards to warm up. The magic of the night stars, crisp air, and camaraderie 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 comfort-food snacks and hot chocolates, 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 adding bookshelves or creating a den, this is a great opportunity to bond and to create an inviting, cosy space for your child.
- Have Breakfast for Dinner. This fun family treat, known as god nat briner in Danish, and is a tea-time 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 pyjamas and warm, ‘dippy’ eggs & soldiers and gooey cinnamon buns.
- Become a Tea Connoisseur. So much happiness can be found in a steaming mug of tea. Taste test different flavours with your family – don’t forget herbal and fruity ones which often appeal to kids and enjoy indulging in this simple, healthy pleasure.
- Bake Together – It doesn’t have to be MasterChef! There’s nothing quite as simple to bake or as satisfying to bite into as a freshly made cookie, cupcake or muffin – and the cooking smells will fill your home with warm and comforting aromas. Just snuggle, eat and enjoy.
At the end of the day, the key to hygge is to try and find just a little time each day to relax and recharge by doing something simple that helps you feel warm and cosy with your family. It’s having the time to find that state of mind and appreciate everyday moments - and that’s never going to be a bad thing for the kids - or you.