The Hygee Hang-up

☃️As I sit here surrounded by several feet of snow, completely finished with winter, but hearing more snow in our forecast, I reflect on vacations to sandy, warm, sunny, fresh food, and cocktail filled localities.🌴 Which one was my favorite, you ask? All of them! But the bigger question is what makes vacations so special, so cherished? I pondered this for quite some time, I will have you know, and it finally came to me … presence. We are present in every moment, not wanting to miss a thing. We want to experience it all. We forget about phones, emails, texts, web surfing, social media, and all the other ways we stay constantly “plugged in” to our worlds. We live for the adventure! We are happy, joyful, relaxed, curious, exploratory, youthful, and content. Why do we only do this on vacation and how can we bring this enchantment into our daily lives? 🤷‍♀️ If you read my “Who is Auntie D” you might remember my plan to remove the parts of my world that I don’t enjoy and remodel/replace them with things that bring me joy. I started working on ways to do this, to be present in my daily life, to enjoy experiences as they happen, and to create an environment that supports my aspirations.

I began by looking at my family and closest friends to see if and how they exemplified this lifestyle. Who better to learn from than those you love, right? 💕 While all of my friends have components of this in their worlds, there is one couple that lives this lifestyle. They have a beautifully simple home and way of living that I adore and absolutely love spending time there. As it turns out, she comes into my life by marriage to one of my BFFs and she is Danish. She has completely transformed their home, their world, their relationship, with hygge. Don’t know what this is? Where have you been? This is only one of the most popular lifestyle trends right now. While I am rarely trendy, this is one social infatuation I support wholeheartedly! Pronounced hue-guh, it is defined by dictionary.com as “a Danish cultural concept and value of warm, happy coziness and togetherness, which people make time for in everyday life.” When I arrive at their home I am greeted with hugs, kisses, and laughter, handed a glass of wine, fed a beautiful meal, and then more wine with awesome conversation by the fire. It is not only the things in their home that make you feel so happy and relaxed, but also the way they make you feel …. like you are the most important person in the world, the most loved person in the room, and they are completely engaged with you and the time spent together. It is an amazing experience and I hope to re-create this in my own world, as well as, give you tips so that you may incorporate them into your life.

Let’s start with the environment. Their home exudes warmth. Candles are everywhere. Lights are dimmed and come from various sources. Furniture is arranged in small, intimate groupings. Houseplants are strategically placed throughout the home. The palette is neutral, whites and light woods, with bursts of color and texture that grab your attention. In addition, they are usually dressed very comfortably for winter in soft textiles, thick sweaters, with fuzzy socks and slippers, perfect for curling up, drinking wine, and catching up. The food they serve is delicious and simple with the focus of the meal being on time shared with loved ones.

The most impressive thing that happens in their home is engagement. The TV is off, laptops put away, and cell phones forgotten. On occasion there is very soft music playing in the background, but it is rare. We get absolutely lost in conversation, laughter, and togetherness. Time seems to stand still until someone suddenly realizes it is waaaaaay past our bedtimes! The night eventually ends with more hugs, kisses, and laughter as we make promises to do it again soon, very soon. And we do.

As I reflect on all the wonderful things my friends and family have to offer the hygee revolution, here are my Nine Necessities for creating Hygge. Remember, small changes add up to bigger things, so don’t feel like you have to do this all at once.

1- Soft lighting from low watt bulbs/candles/fairy lights/string lights scattered throughout your home this is the only absolute I have seen on every list of hygee essentials. You may use mirrors to reflect the light around the room. Don’t forget to add unscented tapers to the dinner table. Use one or two for a minimalist feel or create an entire centerpiece using mix and match candle holders you have collected. You can also use these light sources to accentuate things you love. There are battery operated fairy lights with clips to hold pictures/artwork/souvenirs or you may surround candles with favorite photos transferred onto vellum or in photo frames to create a photo candles.

all photos from Pinterest

2- Plants. I am a “the more, the merrier” type of girl where plants are concerned. Mix and match foliage shape, height, color, flower, fragrance, etc to create your own sanctuary. Don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry there is a perfect plant out there for you. Try succulents, either live or faux, to create a gorgeous table-scape, wreath, or interesting display. As their popularity has soared recently, there are many gorgeous textures and colors out there … have fun with it!

all photos from Pinterest

3- Temperature appropriate textures. Fuzzy socks/slippers/sweaters, pretty much anything that is knitted, for cold weather. Silk, cotton, linen textiles for warm weather. Arm knit a chunky yarn blanket. Stitch cotton squares together for a unique and lightweight cover during warmer weather. Have seasonal pillow covers. Make winter pillow covers from sweaters you purchase at a second-hand shop or summer pillow covers from scarves or other lightweight material. Create a “nook” where you snuggle up with your blankets and pillows to enjoy all things hygee. This can be something as simple as an overstuffed chair or as elaborate as a built in window seat. Use your imagination and do what feels “hue -gell-ey.”

all photos from Pinterest

4- Easy meals. Remember the focus is not on the food, but the time together around the table with family and friends. Simplify your menus so that everyone can eat together at the same time. Use wholesome ingredients, seasonal ingredients, and slow cook everything so that your home smells full of yummy. After the meal, linger around the table for a while to keep the conversation going, finish that glass of wine, put your feet up. Don’t hop up to start clearing and cleaning. There will be time for that later.

all photos from Pinterest

5- Paper. Whether you are reading books, writing letters/cards, journaling, coloring, creating your dream board or playing a game, find the time to reconnect with paper. Studies are showing that reading comprehension is vastly different between paper book readers vs. screen readers with the paper book readers having a higher comprehension level, among other things, of the material they are reading.

all photos from Pinterest

6- Warm drinks. Take your favorite hot beverage to a new level. Here are some great additions to your warm beverages. Marshmallows. Whipped cream. Heavy cream. Bee pollen. Spices that compliment the drink, tumeric is super popular right now. Peppermint. Chocolate. Need I continue?

all photos from Pinterest

7- Enjoy nature. Go for a walk WITHOUT using your phone (unless you have an emergency). Take time to stop, look, and listen. Engage all of your senses while out in nature. Watch a sunrise/sunset and enjoy the color palette of Mother Nature. Collect treasures during your outdoor time and find ways to use them in craft projects or home decor. Lay back for some stargazing on a clear night. Pack a picnic. How ever you choose to spend your outdoor time, the most important thing is to be present in that time.

guess where these photos came from…

8- Unplug. Have a screen-free times. Play board games with family and friends or curl up on the couch with a great book or craft project. Treat your personal time as if you were on vacation… be present, be engaged. Feeling courageous? Work to create screen-free bedrooms for you and your children. The physical and mental health benefits are well worth the battle.

9- Give. The best thing you can ever give is yourself. Giving time together with those you love is priceless. Giving to family, friends, and community is a wonderful way to help others AND yourself. I know, we are never supposed to “give” with the expectation of “receiving” and that is certainly not what I am suggesting here. But many sources say that giving makes you happier, more grateful, live longer, and all kinds of other wonderful benefits. Let’s give it a try!

I hope these ideas get you started or help further develop your hygee. This is such a wonderful cultural gift and I don’t know about you, but I can take all the help I can get these days. There are tons of books out regarding hygee, so if you want more reading on the subject any local bookshop should be able to help.

See you soon!

~Auntie D

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