How I Hygge

Feb 15, 2018

We have had an extremely mild winter this year:
  • Average high temperatures in the upper 40's, low 50's (with even a couple of days last week in the 60's)
  • Only one big snowstorm (which all melted in a week)
  • No icy roads
  • No yucky slush
  • Relatively clear air 
  • Sending my kids to school in jackets (which they often leave in their backpacks)
To be honest, I'm feeling a little peeved. Spring is my very favorite season, but it is directly correlated with how much I hate winter. Without any winter to hate, I'm worried I won't love spring as much. Plus, my kids (especially Aaron) are really missing the snow. And all the plants and trees are getting seriously confused.

However, having such a mild winter has made me realize (yet again) that it isn't just the cold and the snow I hate. It's the dark. And the dark doesn't go away even when the temperature is warm enough to turn the grass green.

And so, I have found myself employing a whole regimen of hygge techniques to help me endure these dark nights (plus, today it snowed, so we're definitely not out of winter's hold yet).

Here are seven of the things I'm doing that are working especially well:

1. Dress for warmth and comfort
I've had at least two people tell me that the reason I don't like winter is because I don't own a pair of wool socks from Costco. While that may or may not be true, I know for a fact that my mood improves as soon as I put on a cardigan or a scarf or, yes, a pair of socks. Sometimes I even wear a hat around the house. At the beginning of the season, I bought a couple of inexpensive sweatshirts from H&M, and I don't think a week has gone by without me wearing at least one of them. I stay warm and comfortable in them all day. Bradley is always complaining about being cold but that's because he prefers to wear athletic shorts and a t-shirt. If you want to feel cozy, you have to dress cozy.

2. String up a few strands of twinkle lights
As December wound to a close, I found myself ready to take down all of the Christmas decorations but not ready to lose the cozy light given off by the Christmas tree. So when Mike took down the tree, I asked him to keep out the lights and put them up on the mantle instead. It made our living room look a little like a college dorm room, but it held off the January blues and created an ambiance that I love. I may end up getting some different lights eventually (I've been looking at these and these), but for right now, my strand of Christmas lights is working just fine.

3. Sip on a warm drink
This is one thing that probably many people can stand behind. A warm drink heats you up from the inside out. But for a long time, I couldn't find anything that I wanted to drink on a daily basis. Sure, I would drink hot chocolate after a day outside in the snow, but it was too rich and heavy for every day. I don't drink coffee. And all of the herbal tea varieties just seemed a little bland and bitter, even if I sweetened them up with sugar or honey. But then last year, I discovered Trader Joe's wassail, and I was instantly a fan. I'm the only one in my family who likes it, but in my opinion, it's liquid hygge. I drink a cup of it almost every night, and the fragrant blend of spices makes me content and happy. It's a seasonal drink, and so I stock up in December so it will last me through February.

4. Knit all the things
It's no surprise that this is on the list, right? But seriously, this newfound hobby of mine has made me actually enjoy winter. Not only is it the coziest thing to pull out my project on a cold, dark night and let the woolly yarn slip methodically through my fingers, but at the end of the project, I have something warm to wear--a hat for my head, mittens for my hands, a scarf for my neck. I'm actually happy when it's a bit nippy outside so I can pull on my hand knits. One of my goals for this year is to learn how to knit socks. Then I can keep my feet warm, too (and I'm sure they'll be infinitely better than the ones from Costco--see above).

5. Sit in front of the heater
What do you think I have going as I write this? My little portable heater. I basically live in front of it all winter. It's the happiest kind of instant gratification. Flip the switch, and I'm warm and toasty. I also love sitting in front of the heater vent; blow drying my hair is nice, too. I basically just love warm air. And I have to admit that hearing the heater come on in the middle of the night is one of coziest, most comforting sounds I can think of.

6. Snuggle up with a great readaloud
I love reading to my kids any time of the year, but it has a different feel during the cold, dark months of winter. I pull my kids in close, tuck a blanket around us, and let myself get swept up in a story. I've said before that, even though I don't particularly love fantasy, it tends to suit my winter mood very well. This month we've been reading The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis, and the fight against the darkness of the Underworld feels very relevant as we make our own way through these dark months.

7. Put it all together for the ultimate hygge routine
My evenings almost always go something like this: After dinner, I turn on the twinkle lights in the living room. I don a pair of socks and my favorite cardigan (if I'm not already wearing them) and sit in my favorite chair. We have family prayer and read the scriptures. Then one of the boys brings over a blanket and curls up in the chair beside me. I pull out our current readaloud and we read until 8:30. I kiss them good night and then make my way to the kitchen to heat up a mug of wassail. I carry it, steaming, to my bedroom where I turn on my space heater and climb under my covers. I knit or read in bed until Mike begins brushing his teeth. That's my signal that it's getting late. I write in my journal, say my prayers, and check on my sleeping kids before climbing into bed for good. If the heater turns on just before I drift off to sleep, I know it's going to be a good night.

That may or may not sound boring to you, but it is absolutely heavenly to me. And I always kind of resent the nights when I have to go somewhere because I would much rather be doing what I just described above.

Now it's your turn. Please share your best hygge tips! And for a little bit more on this topic, here's my book review of The Year of Living Danishly


  1. Can I just say, your evening routine sounds like heaven! I wish my evening routine were that relaxing (unfortunately, those are my prime working hours, so evenings are stressful for me). And I'm going to have to check out Trader Joe's wassail next year, I've been looking for a good one for a while.

    1. We're in different seasons of life right now for sure. I know my evenings probably won't always be so dreamy (and of course, there are some evenings now that are not anything like what I described above!), but for right now, I'm enjoying them.

      Yes, if you're a wassail fan, then DEFINITELY check out TJ's!

  2. Ha ha, I loved your comment about how you need to thoroughly hate winter throughout in order to fully appreciate the spring...isn't that the truth, though? I personally was fine with all the mild weather, especially as here in Northern Utah, we got about 16" in two days.

    I do like your cozy little evening routine though---it does sound heavenly!

    1. After I wrote this post, the snow decided to come, and we got 18 inches within the span of a week, so I'm feeling good and annoyed now, haha.


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