Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Saturday, 24 December 2016

5 WAYS TO ENJOY A HAPPY, HYGGE CHRISTMAS …


Everywhere I’ve turned this festive season there’s been mention of hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) - the Danish way of living that brings happiness into the everyday. Book store shelves are groaning with hygge instructional manuals (I’ve bought a few!), magazine articles complete with arty photographs show us the perfect way to create a hygge home, radio phone-ins debate whether it’s even possible to be British and enjoy hygge in all its fullness.

The Art of hygge - one of the most
practical instructional manuals
 Now although I adore Christmas, both the original nativity story as well as the excitement and razzle-dazzle it brings, I’m someone who thrives during the sunshine months and can find the dark winter days draining. As I write this, many readers may still be in the throws of preparing the Christmas meal, welcoming family and friends, wrapping, or perhaps even buying festive gifts. It’s a busy time of year and so anything that helps keep our happiness quotient high is perhaps worth giving a go.

But what exactly is hygge?


First off, I should make clear that I’m not Danish and have no connections to Denmark, but living in the north-east corner of Scotland means the natural landscape around me is very similar. We share the same long dark winter days, along with easy access to stunning sandy beaches and woodland trails.

Being a writer, one of the first things I do when researching is to read around a subject, and according to Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and author of The Little Book of Hygge, hygge is about ‘… the pursuit of everyday happiness.’ Hygge is about good times and nourishing the soul. Count me in!

So here’s 5 quick and easy ways to enjoy a Happy Hygge Christmas

1) Light -

Especially in the form of flickering candles, twinkling fairy lights or crackling open fires - all particularly good at helping create that warm hygge feeling. As well as buying a truckload of candles, I’ve also pinched this idea for fairy-light lanterns from Jonny Jackson & Elias Larsen’s The Art of Hygge.
My fairy lantern creations
Simple instructions:
Take 1 large mason jar and fill with 1 string of LED battery-operated fairy lights, covering the battery pack with a piece of hessian – and hey presto – you’re very own handmade piece of hygge. I’ve made several for friends…

2) Cake

Red velvet cake
For many, indulgent foodie treats play an important part at Christmas-time which is great as they also play a significant role in helping to create that contented hygge feeling too. We’re talking mugful’s of mulled cider, steaming bowls of nutritious soup, hot chocolate with a splash of your favourite tipple after a stomp around the park. Enjoying a hygge moment means it’s ok not to count calories. Instead, enjoy a little of what you fancy - in moderation.

3) Books

Spending time curled up with a great book, in your favourite corner or nook, with only a mug of coffee or tea for company, is also regarded as being particularly hygge. No wonder I fell in love with the concept…

4) Warm Socks and Blankets

Forget dressing to impress. Hygge is all about dressing to be comfortable and to relax. Wearing soft, cosy socks whilst chilling with family and friends – playing games, listening to music or watching a movie cuddled under a blanket will all help generate that happy hygge feeling.

5) Friends -

The festive season is a traditional time to catch up with family and friends. Why not try adopting the hygge principle of remaining in the moment by switching off mobile phones and unplugging from social media for a while? Research has shown that giving time to others helps foster that tender, fuzzy feeling of belonging which in turn helps fend off winter blues. 
Christmas meet-up with the
Writers' Room collective


So what does all this have to do with creativity?

The most important lesson I’ve learned whilst devouring all things hygge, is to make time to notice and enjoy small pleasures – the warm tingle of spices on the tongue with the first sip of mulled wine, feeling tired muscles relax when making time for a scented bubble bath, lighting candles for dinner with the family. Remaining in the moment can be hard at times, but has proven to be particularly nourishing for the creative soul.  

December is traditionally a busy month, when finding time to think about being creative may prove hard. Hygge encourages being gentle on yourself – enjoying nature, spending time with friends, making time to relax. All helpful in refilling the creative well, so when we do eventually emerge from the festive celebrations we feel relaxed, refreshed and raring to go!  

If you’re interested in learning more about Hygge, then you may wish to have a look at my Warming Hygge Tips Pinterest board… 

But before you go, may I take this opportunity on behalf of everyone on the Novel Points of View blog team to wish our wonderful band of loyal readers a very happy, healthy and hygge-filled festive season…

11 comments:

  1. Like the sound of this πŸŽ„πŸ•―πŸ•―πŸ›€
    Merry Christmas.

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    1. Thought you might enjoy a hygge filled, ChristmasπŸ’•

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  2. I love this post! My sister-in-law has knitted me some Scandi-style bedsocks and I thought.... what? Now I see that they are very hygge, so I'll put them on right now! Love the lights in the jar idea ... going to copy that as well!

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    1. Thanks, Linda. My sons gave me the pink socks as a birthday gift. They are so cosy. The lights in the jar will look lovely all through the long winter days - not only for the festive season. Enjoy! X

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  3. Like the sound of this πŸŽ„πŸ•―πŸ•―πŸ›€
    Merry Christmas.

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  4. Lovely Rae. I'm planning to have a completely hygge Boxing Day :)

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  5. Great post! Any tips on how to nourish one's soul is always very welcome. We all need a bit of nourishing now and then ... and I don't mean a bar of chocolate (although that helps too!)

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    1. Good news, Victoria, as apparently chocolate and sweets are regarded as being particularly hygge. The Danes hold the record for having the highest sugar consumption in Europe. To be fair though, long walks and enjoying the outdoors are all part of a hygge lifestyle too. : )

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  6. I've got the socks, I've got the lights - didn't know how hygge I was, until now! Entertaining and informative blog post, Rae. Thanks. Our new neighbour Tineka and her husband are Danish and I was intrigued to see (when they invited us round for Christmas drinkies) how they'd knocked down every wall in their house (or just about) and made one great open space. Must be to maximise the light. Every year we leave more and more of the lights up around the house, so it tends to look like Christmas all year round here. Happy Boxing Day to all and Happy New Year when it arrives. Off to light a few more candles as we serve up Christmas Lunch #2 to the other side of the family.

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  7. Happy Boxing Day, Lizzie! I love the idea of creating space to allow in light, although my husband might argue I'm taking the whole hygge concept a bit far if I start knocking down walls! I'm also a lover of twinkling fairy lights and the lanterns I've made will definitely stay put well after Christmas. Wishing you a wonderful day with family. We're off to enjoy round #2 too! xx

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