It’s safe to say that summer is well and truly over, and as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, it is essential to create a hygge atmosphere in your home to help overcome those winter blues and keep your spirits high in the run up to Christmas.
With the increasing costs of living, many of us (myself included) are worried about getting through the next few months, and that is why making a hygge night every night is essential, not just for your mental wellbeing, but for your financial wellbeing too (more on that later)!
With this in mind, I decided to put together a list of ways that you can enjoy a hygge night in this winter, so brew yourself a hot coffee, cosy up on the sofa and get reading!
15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Night in this Winter
What is hygge?
‘Hygge’ (pronounced hoo-guh) is a Danish word that describes ‘a mood of cosiness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.’
Hygge is such an important part of being Danish that it is considered ‘a defining feature of our cultural identity and an integral part of the national DNA,’ according to Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen.
However, while the concept of hygge is an integral part of Danish culture, it is growing in popularity all around the world, with books like The Little Book of Hygge topping bestseller lists and the word itself actually being the second most popular word of the year in the Collins Dictionary in 2016!
Hygge is not an aesthetic.
Hygge is a lifestyle, and it goes especially well with the concepts of mindfulness, slow living and indulging yourself in the things that make you happy.
Although you can cultivate a hygge atmosphere at any time of year (I wrote previously about how to have a hygge summer!), winter is arguably the best time for a hygge night in with crackling log fires, warm fuzzy socks and steaming mugs of thick hot chocolate.
Hygge and the cost of living
Soaring energy bills are resulting in many people across the United Kingdom (and the world!) panic about the amount of energy that they’re using in their homes and going to drastic measures to make sure they don’t use more than they absolutely need to.
Luckily, hygge nights are also cost effective nights, with blankets, slippers and knitwear being the star ingredients of a hygge evening in, and the use of phones, games consoles and TV being kept to a minimum.
Where possible, I’ve included extra money saving tips throughout this article so you can enjoy your hygge night in even more!
15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Night in this Winter
1. Dress the part
If you know anything about being hygge, you’ll know that comfort is key, and that begins with what you’re wearing!
You should absolutely not be dressing up if you want to enjoy a hygge night in, and instead prioritise warmth and comfort.
Soft pyjamas and a fluffy dressing gown are ideal (with slippers of course!), but chunky knitwear, fuzzy socks, onesies and snuggies are all great choices.
Pro-tip: if your house is super cold, consider investing in a heated gilet to make yourself even cosier!
2. Get bubbly
No, I’m not talking about Champagne.
I’m talking about running a hot bath, using liberal amounts of lavender oil for maximum relaxation and throwing a cute bath bomb in there to engulf you in bubbles.
Light some candles, pour yourself a glass of wine and bring a good book with you to enjoy a relaxing hygge night of self-indulgence and zen.
3. Candles, candles, candles
I know we just touched on this, but candles are an essential part of every Scandinavian home and hygge night in.
The Danes don’t like scented candles, considering them too artificial, but I personally love warm winter scents when I’m enjoying a hygge night in.
Buy some candles with beautiful festive scents (like this Yankee Candle Christmas Magic one) and have your home feeling super cosy in a matter of seconds.
You could also try some festive wax melts.
Pro-tip: if you have a small room, using lots of candles can actually provide some much-needed heat!
4. Play some board games
A key element of embracing hygge in your life is putting down your phone, turning off the PlayStation and spending time with your loved ones.
Dig out some classic board games that you haven’t played in a while and make a night of it!
If you want my advice, my go-to game is Monopoly Deal.
This spinoff from the classic Monopoly isn’t a board game (instead it’s just a deck of cards), but it’s super fun, super competitive, and suitable for all ages.
I actually introduced my Albanian friends to Monopoly Deal when I was volunteering in Albania during the summer and they became addicted!
Pro-tip: if you’re playing board games, you’re not using a tonne of electricity watching TV or playing on the PlayStation! Board games are a great way to have an enjoyable evening that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Charity shops are a great place to buy board games.
5. Have a movie night in bed
I know I just said that having a hygge night in does not involve technology, but I think that snuggling up in bed for a movie night is an exception to the rule, as long as you do it right.
First, you have to make your bed as comfortable as humanly possible.
I know that not all beds are created equal, but even if you don’t have the best mattress in the world, you can work with what you’ve got by using ALL of your extra pillows, bringing in ALL of the cushions in your home and layering up with different throws, blankets and quilts.
(I actually wrote a post all about creating a hygge bedroom here if you’re interested!).
Once you’ve got your bed ready, light some candles (of course), switch on some fairy lights (it wouldn’t be a hygge Christmas without fairy lights!) and get a mountain of snacks ready, because of course, munching on some sweet treats is super hygge.
Lastly, you have to choose the right film.
I’m a horror gal through and through, but horror does not exactly scream (pun intended) hygge does it?
Your movie choice should be whimsical, feel good and wholesome.
Seeing as it’s the festive season, The Holiday is always a safe bet for hygge Christmas viewing.
6. Hot drinks
What could be more hygge than a hot drink?
According to Meik Wiking, 86% of Danes associate being hygge with their favourite hot drink.
Whether your beverage of choice is a creamy hot chocolate with all the toppings, a comforting mug of English breakfast tea or a rich mulled wine, your hygge night in is not complete without a steaming mug of something clasped between your fingers.
Herbal teas (especially chamomile) are a great choice as well because they are designed to help you relax.
7. Bake gingerbread
Baking your own cookies or gingerbread is hygge for a number of reasons.
First, er, you get to eat homemade gingerbread.
Second, you’ll be able to smell the gorgeous smells wafting throughout your home all day, and third, you will be able to share it with your friends and family, and what could be more hygge than presenting your room mate with a plate of warm gingerbread when they get in from work, or gifting a box to your neighbour?
8. Slow comfort food
While we’re on the topic of food, the most hygge food is homemade, slow cooked and hearty.
Think pots of chilli con carne or goulash simmering on the stove, shepherd’s pie or a winter vegetable and lentil soup.
These foods warm the soul and feel like a hug from the inside, and who doesn’t love sharing a meal with family or friends?
Pro-tip: slow cookers are mega cheap to run, using only about as much electricity as a lightbulb!
9. Make it a phone-free zone
Scrolling mindlessly on your phone and constantly updating social media is the complete opposite of hygge.
Make a point of putting your phone to the side (even putting it in another room if necessary!) and fully focusing on the here and now, giving all of your attention to the people around you.
If you’re enjoying a hygge night in by yourself, this is even more important.
Focus on your book, on the feel-good film you’re watching, or the food you’re eating.
Don’t dilute the small pleasures with the glare of a phone screen.
10. Read a book
One of the most simple but best ways to have a hygge night in is to simply get cosy and curl up with a good book!
It’s important to note that when I say ‘a good book,’ I’m not talking about some ‘how to get rich’ book or marketing textbook.
I’m talking about a good old-fashioned story that you can get stuck into and forget the world around you for a few hours.
Pro-tip: buying books can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Seek out book swaps or charity shops in your area to find some great deals.
11. Wrap up in all the blankets
Nothing says ‘cost of living crisis’ like a mountain of blankets, but honestly, blankets and knitted throws are some of the most hygge things out there.
Make sure your home is absolutely full of cosy blankets to snuggle up in, and select materials that are extra cosy and soft against your skin.
Pro-tip: electric blankets and throws are incredibly cost effective and allow you to heat yourself rather than having to heat your entire home.
12. Create a hyggekrog
It might sound a bit funny, but a hyggekrog is simply a cosy place to sit in either the kitchen or the living room, and no hygge home is complete without a hyggekrog.
It’s a cosy nook, window sill, or chair that is typically by a window, allowing you to look outside while you drink your tea, read and relax.
It generally includes pillows and a cosy blanket to add more comfort, and is a place where you can curl up and decompress from the stresses of the day.
13. Hygge lighting
There is no ‘big light’ in any hygge home!
Instead, use pretty fairy lights to maximise the feeling of cosiness, with a lamp here and there as well.
Make sure that your lights use warm, yellow bulbs to cultivate that hygge atmosphere, and never use strip lights or fluorescent lighting!
Pro-tip: switch to battery-powered fairy lights to save money on energy bills!
14. Relaxing essential oils
While I definitely don’t recommend buying essential oils from multilevel marketing companies like Young Living, I do think that essential oils can be great when used properly.
If you struggle getting to sleep, a drop of lavender oil on your pillow can help you relax and drift off sooner.
Pro-tip: essential oils don’t have to be expensive, and you don’t have to buy a diffuser to reap the benefits of them. You can pick up a vial of lavender oil for just a couple of pounds on Amazon.
15. Embrace slow living
Slow living is exactly what it sounds like.
It’s slowing down, taking a deep breath and not packing a million things into your diary because you feel obliged to.
Having a hygge night in is the epitome of slow living – you don’t have to do a thing apart from get cosy, lose yourself in a good book or board game, and not move from your sofa.
Having a Hygge Night in | Final Thoughts
Whether your idea of hygge is running a warm bath and escaping their with a good book for an hour, or getting the whole family round to play Monopoly in your Christmas jumpers, this article will hopefully have given you some pointers on how to enjoy a hygge night in this winter.
I hope you enjoyed this post – if you have any thoughts or tips around creating a hygge Christmas in your home, let me know in the comments section below!
Until next time,
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[…] In the last couple of years, you’ve probably come across the word Hygge more than a few times. In fact, ‘hygge’ was the second most popular word of the year in the Collins Dictionary in 2016, second only to ‘Brexit!’But what is hygge, and why is everybody and their dog going so crazy over it?More to the point, can you get hygge in summer, or is hygge only for the colder months? […]