Light the Dreary Dark of Winter with ‘Hygge’


Winter in Wisconsin is not my favorite.

But alas, it’s coming, soon, and like every unpleasant experience in life, I will follow this code: enjoy it, or make it enjoyable.

That’s why I went a little nutso learning about the concept of “hygge”, which is one of the lifestyle norms in Denmark (recently crowned the happiest country in the world).

On the definition of hygge, The Huffington Post notes:

While some would define it as cultivated coziness, hygge is often considered the major weapon in combating the dreary darkness that befalls the Nordic country over the winter.

Combat the dreary darkness?!? Sign me up!

Here are 5 ways I’ve incorporated the concept of hygge at home:

1. Light candles.

Candlelight really sets the mood for a cozy night at home. Light a candle at the dinner table. A group of candles in the living room even helps warm up the air.

  • Read: Check out this beautiful blog, Hygge House, for more ideas.

2. Indulge.

Chocolate, wine and coffee are all known mood boosters, so enjoy in moderation. Better yet? Savor an indulgence with a loved one.

3. Socialize.

Gather with friends and family to keep the dreary dark of winter away. Meet at a restaurant or coffee shop that has a fireplace. (Bonus hygge!)

4. Warm up.

Blankets, fuzzy slippers, fleece sheets – don’t spend your winter feeling frigid. I hate feeling cold, so finding ways to stay warm, indoors and out, will be a focus this year.

5. “Cure” your home.

Like me, you probably spend more time at home during the winter. This time of year more than ever, I want my home to be a well-organized, beautiful place.

Between now and holidays, spend some time eliminating clutter. Evaluate how you use your spaces and think of ways to make them better. None of this has to be expensive.

Is the bathroom too cold? Buy a small heater and chase the chill away.

Walls too bare? Maybe you can redecorate using art you already have, or create your own for cheap. Recently, I copied pages from the novels I wrote as a teenager and turned them into art.


Photo by shanon wise


Check out Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk, coming January 2016 from Delacorte Press/Random House. Visit her author site here.


1 stef November 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm

I would add: Up your vitamin D intake!

2 Lynn November 6, 2013 at 12:37 pm

i have 3 fun ones…
1. buy a memory foam bath mat. feels luxurious and cozy.
2. keep a jug of apple cider in the fridge. hot apple cider in a mug chases the rainy dreary days away.
3. bake something. makes the house smell awesome, and literally warms up the kitchen.

3 JulieB November 6, 2013 at 7:07 pm

I live in northern Illinois and hygge has been my goal too! Thank you for the timely post – I look forward to checking out the link. One of my favorite things is to have a timer on my furnace. Not only does it help by keeping the tempratures cooler at night and when we are not home in the daytime, but I have it warm the house up before we wake. I find listening to it click on and waking slowly and gently really helps me take care of my spirit and start the day off on a good foot.

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