Atmosphere, Presence, Pleasure, Equality, Gratitude, Harmony, Comfort, Truce, Togetherness and Shelter.
These are the 10 key principles that the Hygge lifestyle aims to promote. Their existences are ones of peace, simplicity, love and cosiness. Our own lives are embellished with the influences of the Hygge aesthetic – the art on top of coffees, photographs of woolly socks by roaring fires, wooden tables, bokeh lighting and thick chocolate filled mugs piled high with marshmallows. In our attempts to create the ‘cosy’ in our homes, evenings, mornings and offices are all byproducts of this Danish dream, no matter how much we try to deny it. The perfect Hygge lifestyle is something every blogger, photographer, Instagrammer and life liver tries to establish.
So imagine if you could pour all of that beautiful Hygge energy into something as magical as Christmas. If you could host the most aesthetically pleasing, rustic, homely Christmas, pop a Hygge label on it and make all your guests happy and comforted this winter. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
So here are my tips, written accompanied by a mince pie, cosy fairy lights and a warm woolly jumper, on how to have that beautiful Hygge Christmas this winter:
Everyone will have their own personal bible. For some, it’s Cosmopolitan magazine. For others it’s an actual Bible. And for me, it’s The Little Book of Hygge. To achieve the perfect Hygge Christmas, this book is a must have. Broken down into beautifully illustrated chapters, individually entitled and all-over encapsulating what it means to ‘live well’, as their cover promotes.
Written by Meik Wiking, this is a icon of a book makes, not only, a perfect stocking filler for those of us who dream of beautiful homes, but an idyllic lifestyle guide, coffee table book and pocket-sized inspiration. Before you even attempt to dream up your Hygge home, it’s vital you pick up one of these first.
‘No recipe for Hygge is complete without candles’ – Meik Wiking
Candles for Christmas don’t have to be expensive. They don’t even have to be scented. All they need to be is present. They bring a warmth to a room lamps just can’t replicate and the heat of the flames can only make you feel cosier in the winter month.
Make your own, pick up a multipack or splash on out a Yankee – filling your home with light and flickers is bound to make you feel festive, and help us to connect with our traditional pre-electric roots, so fresh for the Hygge lifestyles.
As so much of the Danish Christmas takes place outdoors, in the rustic markets lining the streets, in the campfire hot chocolates and in the festive walks through frosty leaves and snowy roadsides, its so important to bring that feeling inside.
Any touch of nature in your home can make it feel festive, so scoop up those mistletoe leaves, holly berries and discarded pinecones from that failed attempt at potpourri many moons ago and get scattering. The fallen pines from your Christmas tree work great as a covering for any empty surface, and dried orange slices, limes and lemon segments make for a spicy, rustic tree decoration.
There’s nothing more important to a Danish lifestyle than a fantastic festive feast. Food is the lifeblood of their aesthetic creation so make sure that your cupboards are fully stocked for any hunger-based emergency.
Cheese boards at the ready, leftover soup prepared, hearty stews and gargantuan pastries make for an idyllic Hygge host. The more delicious food and drink you have prepared, the warmer and more homely your kitchen will feel. And if you can put in the effort to dress your dishes up as fancy as possible, you’ll feel even merrier bringing them out to the table.
One of the reasons I love the idea of a Hygge Christmas so much is their belief in the gift giving system. Big believers in the terms of equality and acknowledged value, they have a shared ideology of how big, expensive or luxurious a gift – whether given or received – should be. No box, bow or bestowed present should be used to overtly display how much wealth, advantage or even competitive sentimentality one person has over another.
But, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to express yourself in your gifts. Ideally, their presents are typically simplistic yet sweet and creative – baked goods, cosy knitwear, homey ornaments. And rustic wrapping paper can go along way to looking rustically gorgeous under your tree.
But the greatest gift you can ever receive at Hygge Christmastime? The unspoken feeling of togetherness, caring and love from whomever you desire. Spending time with families, friends, coworkers or even strangers can make a Hygge season feel magical, and is such a key part of their manifesto.
Being able to support the people you care about at Christmas, whether it’s offering them a bed to sleep in on Christmas Eve, a batch of cookies baked for a lonely neighbour or simply a cheerful ‘Merry Christmas’ to the distressed looking retail worker is such a valuable part of the Danish lifestyle – it’s a festive tradition we should all begin to encourage.
Paper, cardboard, pastel shades and autumnal inclusions will be snuggled up next to thick knit throws and wooden ornaments in the Hygge Christmas home. Homemade treasures are right at the heart of a Danish decorative theme, and their colour schemes tend to incorporate the much under appreciated neutrals.
But if you can’t resist a touch of the modern, string up as many fairy lights as you dare and bathe in their glow. They can make any room feel magical – during the festive season or not.
But most importantly, the best way to have a Hygge Christmas is just to be. To enjoy your day, to engage in conversation, to drink and eat and laugh. No phones, no screens, just the words of each other, the simple gifts they provide and the cosy glow of the delights all around you. Many people say that the Hygge lifestyle includes a shadow of a sixth sense, as the Danish consort with mysteries and spirits. And my God, I hope that’s true, as it wouldn’t be Christmas without that touch of something else, something magical, now would it?
Have a beautiful Christmas, and I hope this post (and this book!) have inspired to take your own Christmases back to the basics this year.