HygGe, pronounced ‘hoo-ga’ or ‘hue-gah’, is the Norwegian phrase for the idea of ‘wellbeing’, ‘coziness’, or ‘togetherness' in English. In 2016, HygGe made the short-list for word of the year.  But for many of us, the term is still a little difficult to conceptualize.

Hygge is the feeling of warmth and comfort when you savor a slow dinner with old friends, drinking red wine and laughing about an inside joke, while candles flicker around the room. It’s that perfect cup of coffee on a Saturday morning, while you read a classic novel and snuggle with your 13 year-old golden retriever, Rusty, by the fireplace. Hygge is basically the concept of creating an environment where you can slow down, find rest, rejuvenation and the luxury of everyday living.  It’s about creating a space for peaceful, beautiful moments to occur, and then savoring every minute of them. Sounds lovely right? Unfortunately, holidays can often seem invoke a scene form the movie, Home Alone — hectic, stressful, and well, kind of a nightmare.

want to hygge-ify your holidays?


#1 Hygge-ify your home.

A big part of hygge is creating a space that provides rest and rejuvenation. Your home is the foundational environment for that feeling — wine and candles can only go so far.

So take a moment to evaluate your space. Do you have unfinished tasks piling up? Have certain items migrated to your living spaces that don’t belong? Does your space relax you, or is it cluttered by things you’ve accumulated over the past year? 

Take a few moments to remove any items that aren’t sparking joy and separate them into boxes. Label them; 1. Items to be put back, 2. Tasks to be addressed, 3. Items to store, 4. Items to donate/sell. 

We have lots of traditions for the accumulating stuff over the course of the year.  You might have gotten gifts or cards for birthdays and other holidays. Received postcards, or picked up a few “treasures” on a walk in the woods. If they no longer spark the joy they once did, it’s okay to remove them — that doesn’t mean that you don’t/didnt’ appreciate them. It just means that they’ve served their purpose. 

This is the most important part of the hygge-ifying process. Make it a tradition to declutter your home before the holidays and you’ll feel much lighter throughout the whole season. 


#2 Finish those unfinished tasks. (Within reason.)

Having unfinished tasks lying around is a recipe for stress.

So, actually take care of the boxes you just filled. If you’ve been meaning to make a photo-book for your parents for Christmas, but know you just don’t have time to accomplish it right now, box it up and put it out of sight. If you borrowed items to return, return them. If you need to take a load of stuff to donate/sell. Do it. Make it a priority. You’ll feel much better about relaxing and spending time with friends if you have those tasks taken care of.  Plus, these sorts of unfinished tasks lead to decision fatigue, which eats away at your mental processing power, meaning you’re less likely to be fully in the moment when you do have a chance to relax with friends and family. 

Be realistic. Don’t tackle big projects like re-painting the kitchen - unless it really is a priority. Save those bigger tasks for another time. You might ask yourself it it’s a want-to-get-done or if it's a need-to-get-done. Most of us will feel much better in our spaces if we just put things back where they actually belong, and get rid of the things we don’t actually need or want. 


#3 Add candles. 

Candles, fires, and twinkly lights instantly up your ambience.

If you’re worried about open flames, buy a few quality battery operated candles, or opt for some twinkly lights. They add to the hygge atmosphere without the worry of your house going up in flames — perfect if you have pets, small children, or just clumsy feet!

Hygge is about the luxury of everyday experiences.  So, light the candles (or turn on the lights)  when you're at home —  and especially when you have people over. Don’t save them for some moment in the future. The special occasion is now. 


#4 Something to offer.

You don’t need to stockpile, but it’s nice to have a few items on hand for when friends stop by.

Maybe it’s some cheese and crackers, some nice chocolate, a bottle or two of red wine, your favorite tea, or some good-old-fashioned hot chocolate with marshmallows. Whatever your ideal treat is, make sure you pick something that has a long shelf life, so you’re sure to have something to offer an unexpected (or expected) guests. 


#5 Add a few warm and cozy things. 

Hygge is the feeling of warmth and coziness.

Add some elements that give you that vibe. Maybe it’s tossing a blanket on the back of your couch. Adding a woolly pillow, a lantern,  or just pulling out your slippers. You really don’t need to add much - after all you’ve already got friends, candles and wine. 


#6 Let it go. 

 If friends come over and your place is a mess, and you don’t have any tasty treats to offer, don't worry about it!

Don’t apologize for the way your home looks. It’s supposed to be lived in. Most houses aren't Instagram ready -- with one well placed coat at the entrance, and fresh greenery filling the house -- they're messy. You are not your home (or your lack of wine and dark chocolate to offer.) Your friends don't care. So don't worry about it. Be present. Don’t hold yourself to unreasonable expectations. Instead, enjoy the hyggeligt space you’ve created. Light the candles. Use the blanket. Wear the slippers. And hope your friends bring wine.