Could you use a little more joy this season?
Are you feeling overwhelmed with everything that comes with the holidays?
Perhaps you could learn a thing or two from the happiest people in the world!
The people of Denmark seem to have it all figured out. Without a doubt, they are well known for being some of the happiest people in the world.
Why is this?
How can we bring more Danish happiness into our lives?
The Danes definitely have it right. They have mastered the art of appreciating the little things, focusing on quality time with family & friends, enjoying food, and getting outside every day (they bike everywhere!).
Since I was a little girl, I’ve been going back and forth to Denmark to visit my family. My mom was born in Denmark and even after moving all the way to Canada, she has stayed very close to all of her family that still lives there. I’ve been lucky to have such a connection to the amazing culture and people there.
Growing up, we always embraced Danish traditions around the holiday season. From opening a gift on the 24th, to rice porridge games and making Danish Christmas decorations. We embraced the art and magic of the Danes in a way that I will never forget. I love carrying these traditions with me as I carve my own path on this planet.
They make the holiday season magical for me, and they can for you too!
In Denmark there is a term called Hygge (Hooo-ge). There is no translation into English, but after having experienced it myself I can best describe it as the cozy or warm atmosphere created by focusing on the simple things in life and spending time with family & friends. Hygge is really a philosophy and a way of being that emphasizes the art of slowing down and appreciating the really simple things in life. It’s about having no agenda and taking the time to enjoy every minute.
Hygge is sitting around the dinner table with your family.
Hygge is lighting candles.
Hygge is meeting a friend for a drink and chatting for 4 hours.
Hygge is biking or walking to where you need to be to get fresh air.
You can find Hygge in Denmark all year round although during the holiday season it’s at it’s finest. During the winter months, the streets of Denmark are full of vendors selling hot drinks and treats, outdoor cafes with patio heaters & blankets, people on bikes, soft lights, candles in every window, restaurants full of people chatting for hours, mothers shopping for dinner that night, and the smell of warm spices & mulled wine everywhere you go. No wonder these are the happiest people in the world!
I know that having these traditions and the magic of Hygge in my life has brought me more joy, reminded me of what is important in life and helped me really look forward to the holiday season instead of worrying, stressing, or dreading it (as most people do).
If you could use a little more joy and Hygge in your life this season try taking a few tricks from the Danes:
1. Light candles whenever you can.
Candlelight is as Hygge as it gets. Cozy, warm, and relaxing. The magic that comes with the soft lighting of a candle is so important as the days are dark and cold outside.
2. Spend ample time baking with friends & family.
This is always my favorite tradition (ask my friends who I’ve been begging to come bake with me!). The Danes are all about their baking and for good reason. It’s delicious! Take the time to craft special treats for those special people in your life. Enjoy the art and the quality time with those around you.
3. Do crafts/make ornaments with those you love.
Being creative and spending quality time with those you love is key to Hygge.
4. Get outside (bike, walk with a friend, go for a hike).
Fresh crisp winter air, exercise, time alone to reflect, or time with friends to connect are key during the winter months. Getting outside can be hard when it’s cold, but it’s so important for many different reasons, so get out there!
5. Make your house cozy with decorations, twinkle lights, candles, & greenery.
Creating the right atmosphere for Hygge all starts with bringing the outside in. We always cut branches and holly to create decorations around the home. Not only does it brighten your home, but it cleans your air and combined with the soft lights it can turn your home into an absolute winter haven.
6. Enjoy mulled wine & apple cider with good company. Fill your house with the smell of warm food and spices as much as you can.
There is nothing more Hygge than coming home to the warm smell of gløgg simmering on the stove. Winter is a perfect time to enjoy some warm and spiced beverages. Apple cider, mulled wine, eggnog, spiced almond milk, and chia tea are all loaded with rich and warming spices that are perfect to awaken the Hygge in your home and your body!
7. Listen to soft happy music.
Relaxing and calming, listening to music that you love most during the cold winter months can bring warmth into your life.
8. Eat porridge for breakfast.
Warming, nourishing, and filling, porridge is the best way to start off your cold winter mornings and get your body off on the right foot. Eating a good breakfast is key to setting your body up for a healthy day of eating and consistent energy. If you can start out on the right foot with something warming like porridge, you will also be more likely to have the power to resist eating too many of those holiday treats.
9. Cook & enjoy long lingering meals with family & friends.
Another amazing way to spend time with the ones you love. Laugh, talk, and enjoy the warmth that comes with spending quality time with the special people in your life. Eat slowly, take a breath and don’t plan to leave the table for hours after the meal is done.
10. Wrap yourself in warm blankets and thick socks.
Nothing says cozy and warm like blankets and fuzzy socks. Create comfortable spaces in your home and stay warm. If you can cuddle up by the fire then you get extra bonus Hygge points!
Now you’re ready to take Hygge into your home and your life. Get busy creating that cozy and magical atmosphere and see how it translates your spirit and feelings around this holiday season.
Keep it simple.
This season is all about joy, the simple things, and spending time with those who you love most. Enjoy every moment and you’re health & happiness will flourish:)
Love & Hygge,