• Cassandra Martin-Himmons

How To Create Hygge For The Holidays

Here we are once again, another holiday season is on the horizon. But this year, the holidays will be different due to the pandemic. That means most of us won’t be sharing hugs and kisses with our extended family members, cuddling up with our long-distance significant others or spending time in close quarters with friends. Why 2020? Why?!


Well, there is a concept that can help you cope with the stress and bleakness of the holiday season this year and it’s called Hygge.





Hygge, which is pronounced (Hue-gah) is a Danish word meaning well-being and protection from the outside elements. As Denmark can be notoriously cold with long winters, the concept of hygge has been used by Danish people to help them mentally cope with brutal relentless winters and fill their homes with comfort and love.


The concept of Hygge is so important to the Danish, that it’s often used to describe what their culture is all about. Hygge is not necessarily something specific that you can buy, it’s more about a feeling than a possession. Think of it as the epitome of Danish living.


In the last several years the concept of Hygge has made its way to the US and quite a few other countries.


Hygge can be described as a feeling of coziness, comfort, familiarity, friendship, laughter and seasonal homemade food and drinks. And yes, it’s possible to achieve Hygge any time of the year (a cookout with friends or a movie under the stars with family are examples of summertime hygge); however Hygge is usually associated with the colder months because of its ability to uplift spirits during the dark, long winter months.





That’s why I felt that Hygge would be a perfect topic to talk about in this blog post for the upcoming holiday season because it’s all about peaceful, cozy surroundings that fill you with a feeling of contentment. And that’s something that we all need this year. Besides, feeling cozy and content is one way of managing your stress before your stress manages you.


First, in this post I’m going to discuss simple ways to bring holiday hygge into your home in 2020, then how to make your home more hygge like via scent.


Read on to find out how to make your home comfortable with Hygge.


3 Ways To Bring Hygge Into Your Home


Host Family and Friends


Normally, I’d say that the holidays present the perfect opportunities to host get-togethers for your loved ones. However, in 2020 hosting a party takes on a whole new meaning. You can still have a party but be sure to put safety first. To do that, consider having your holiday gathering through Zoom. You can download fabulous backgrounds, work on your time management skills by coordinating synchronized dessert reveals and see who has the best holiday themed playlist!


Try not to stress over these gatherings, hygge parties are relaxed, friendly and homey.


Decorations








Warm lightning is essential for a holiday hygge vibe and its easy to do - light some candles, make a fire or (one of my personal favs) set up twinkly string lights.


You should also consider having cozy linens and soft, fluffy blankets on your couch or chairs and by the windows, so that you can easily cuddle up with your favorite book and relax when you’re engaging in a tech disconnect.


You should also consider having cozy linens and soft, fluffy blankets on your couch or chairs and by the windows, so that you can easily cuddle up with your favorite book and relax when you’re engaging in a tech disconnect.


Home Cooking and Baking


Cooking traditional holiday meals and treats can also bring holiday hygge into your home. Comfort foods like holiday ham, stews, baked mac & cheese, cookies and cinnamon apple pie will waft soul-warming scents throughout the air, making your home feel cozy. Cook the right combo of foods and you’ll be transported to holidays of yesteryear.


3 Ways To Bring Hygge Into Your Home Through Smell


Our sense of smell plays a huge role in our everyday lives, whether we realize it or not. Scents can change our mood, effect how we interact with others and they even play a large role in our ability to recall memories.


This is because when we smell a scent it goes straight to the brain's olfactory bulb, which is directly connected to the amygdala and the hippocampus.


Tech terms aside, scents are oftentimes linked with memories in the brain. Maybe it’s the smell of your mom’s cooking, a certain flower, or perfume; certain scents can bring you right back to a memory as if it happened just yesterday. This is why scents have the ability to change our mood. And that’s also why you can use scents to your advantage to spike your hygge holiday spirit and make your home smell amazing.


Let’s do this! How do you do this?


Scented candles (which I love, love, love) are a wonderful way to make your home look and smell festive and inviting for the holiday season. Having lit candles around your home will most definitely add to your hygge vibe. The warm glow will make rooms feel cozy and comfortable.


Almost all stores sell scented candles these days, but for higher quality scents, get your candles at a store that sells candles exclusively. If you have a local candle maker near you, even better! Scents like warm vanilla, cinnamon apple, sugar plum and peppermint are some holiday favorites. Just be careful with lit candles around kids, pets and decorations.






Another way to make your home smell amazing for the holidays is with fresh greenery. Use of a freshly cut fir tree, a fresh wreath, some pinecones or some branches from an aromatic evergreen are great ways to make your home hygge through smell and feeling joyful. If fresh trees and branches are not available in your area, check with home improvement stores like Lowes or Home Depot. It will probably be more expensive but consider your local florist as well. Look for most aromatic and fresh evergreens, which are the Scotch pine, Douglas fir, white spruce and Noble fir trees.


Last, but not least, baking homemade holiday treats always keeps your home filled with mouthwatering sweet and savory scents. Not only is baking and cooking seasonal treats a perfect hygge activity, it ensures your home smells good as well. Consider using traditional holiday family recipes, because not only will your home smell great, they’ll also take you back to previous holiday celebrations and inspire you to create new ones.


Bake Your Way To Hygge





Like I stated earlier, there are certain foods that soothe and comfort us, especially during the wintertime. Foods like stews, casseroles, pot pies, homemade breads and baked goods bring a sense of well-being and can elevate mood, especially on a long and cold winter day. Curling up by the fire with a warm bowl of soup and a cozy blanket can transform your day just like that. So, breakout the slow cooker and settle in for a hygge holiday filled with comfort foods and treats.


Baking and cooking are a big part of the hygge mentality, especially when done with family and close friends. Keeping traditions alive using old family recipes are a hygge favorite. Just the thought of putting Great grandma’s apple-cinnamon pie recipe to use gives a warm and fuzzy feeling. And to be able to pass on these recipes by teaching your children or other family members how to make them is so satisfying.


Establishing traditional family recipes of your own is also a fun holiday hygge activity. Decide together what type of comfort food you all would like to learn to make. Pot pies, mac and cheese or cookies are all big favorites in the winter months. Follow a recipe and add in a few touches of your own. Hand-write the recipe afterward and keep it in a safe place for next year. One idea is to use a designated box to keep all of your traditional, comfort food holiday recipes in. Each year, you and your family will look forward to breaking out the recipe box, remaking your favorite comfort foods and adding in new ones.


Holiday hygge is simple and comforting like a warm hug. Many people are already doing at least some of these simple holidays hygge hacks without even knowing it. Now that you know the term for that warm and fuzzy feeling, you’ll be able to up your holiday hygge game even further.

Let's talk; what will you do to bring Hygge into your home for the holiday season? Let me know in the comments section.

 

Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a trainer, wellness coach and consultant who believes in empowering her clients and providing the tools that they need to make positive changes in their lives to manage their stress and increase their self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or Linked/In

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