It’s the Hygge-ist Time of Year

It’s that time of year again. In Ohio, the leaves are changing. The temperatures are dropping. And cohabiting couples everywhere are entering into another standoff over “who turned on the damn heat again?? ISN’T THIS WHY WE HAVE 1,000 BLANKETS??” 

It’s time to indulge in the over-marketed, slightly misunderstood Scandinavian concept of “hygge.” If you believe the hype, chunky knit blankets, thick socks, and a roaring fire is all you need to ride out the winter months with nary a care. Candles have become a key part of the hygge-aesthetic. Their cozy glow illuminating your cozy scene for that perfect Insta shot.

Melt with fire


When you talk to people who grew up surrounded by hygge, they are very confused with the thought that you can buy it. To them, hygge is a mindset. It’s “comfort. It exists only in the complete absence of stress and nuisance and feeds off feelings of happiness and relaxation.” It’s not something that can be achieved with expensive blankets, how-to books, and, yes, candles. 

However, for me, candles are essential for establishing a sense of relaxation. The always illuminated lights, the blue light from my computer and phone, and the television and video games that my kids love overwhelm my senses. When I need a little hygge, a glass of wine, my favorite chair, and a softly burning candle help me turn my brain off. A soft blanket, a good book (with a dim book light because I’m past the age of reading by street light), a delightfully scented candle and I’m a new person after about an hour or so. 

So let’s talk about how you can create a little hygge this winter. It’s all about rituals that make you feel connected to yourself and to others. It’s about being present in a perfect moment that you create intentionally. 

  • Start a regular tea time where you take the time to brew your favorite tea and use your favorite mug that you always save for special occasions. Throw in some cookies or tea cakes and make it truly special.
  • Figure out your favorite way to brew coffee and regularly take the time to indulge in brewing the perfect cup, no matter how long it takes. 
  • Institute a reading hour where you curl up in your favorite chair with your favorite blanket and a good book. If you have kids, maybe invest in some noise cancelling headphones.
  • Light a candle to enhance the mood of whatever you are doing. Don’t just save them for special occasions. 
  • Save some hygge-porn pictures on your computer and, when you feel stressed, gaze lovingly at them while doing some deep breathing. 

Cat in front of a fire

(Image by Jenna Hamra)

What’s your favorite wintertime ritual for establishing peace and mindfulness when it’s cold and dark?

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