The Call of Hygee this Holiday Season and Beyond

My daughter in the morning cozy with her favorite blanket wearing a beautiful cotton nightgown adorned with angels. She is in her space of hygee.

Often the simple things in life bring us the most comfort. As children we have these tokens of comforts everywhere from a cherished stuffed animal, a blanket, or a trinket to bedtime stories and yet as adults we sometimes find ourselves far from the simple comforts that bring us a sense of hygee.

Stories before bed in the holiday spirit. Reading: Yes, Virginia: There is a Santa Claus.

What is hygee?

Hygge, is a Danish and Norwegian word that is used within the culture to denote “a form of everyday togetherness” both in our physical environment but also within our mental environment. A sense of wellbeing, safety and comfort.

There’s a sense of well-being captured in this moment as my daughter reaches to catch the wind.

Every culture defines their life moments or the state of their homes within the influence and desire for the sense of hygge.

In Japan, where personal space is limited, home trends are more minimalistic to reduce the “things” in their space and create a sense of space and comfort.

In China the art of placement within the principals of Feng Shui can help to find and identify the positive and negative energies within a space.

The Danish hygee comes from the need within their lives to bring positive mental perspective to the cold, short days of winter; mentally preparing against winter blues.

Hygee in America would most simply relate to the holiday spirit. The feelings of comfort and safety, peaceful joys and quaintness in our homes and our hearts. We probably feel hygee the most during the holidays.

The dim lighting adding to the calm of the spirit.
Gingerbread cookies to decorate and the smells fill the home.

It’s a worthwhile pursuit for our everyday lives.

The simple pleasures, well-placed comfort items and sense of calm and peace all fall within the descriptions of what it is to have or feel hygee.

As a parent I try to make our home a place of comfort for my children and myself and living in a northern midwestern town makes the winters long, dark and very cold. Seasonal affective disorders (SAD) are part of the challenges faced in this region.

Sometimes in life we have our own “seasonal affective disorders ” from the hardships we face, or the struggles along the paths, and we can easily fall into a routine of having the “blues” over the routine of honoring hygee.

As children when we started to feel a tug at our emotions we often reached for that favorite comfort token: that baby blanket or our favorite stuffed animal and it restored our sense of hygee.

My daughters Teddy Blanket and powdered sugar on her nose.
Falling asleep in a pile of friends for an afternoon nap.
His “Big Red Dog” is still on his bed every night. Photo taken at a beautiful Forbes Five-Star resort outside of Pittsburgh, PA.

As adults we have to recognize when our life has moved away from the sense of well-being and to notice when we are struggling to keep our everyday togetherness in good order.

How can we make purposeful choices in our environments and our mind to attain the feelings of hygee or to get us back into the Holiday Spirit?

Sweetie Pies in Door County has the charm and an air of hygee.
Flowers in the bedroom bring a contrast to the white outside.

That answer is different for everyone. The hygee interior philosophy would be to use deep, rich colors, soft textures, extra pillows and blankets, candles, flowers, dim-lighting and well-placed comfort items; positive mementoes. To take an evening and have a cup of tea while sitting next to a fire or filling the house with the smells of foods that offer comfort… soul food.

Entertaining family and friends.
Decorating the Christmas tree.
Making jam from the berries we picked as a family.

What stands out for you? What food smells or tastes takes you to a place of comfort? Do you light a candle with a glass of wine or cup of tea? Do you put on a familiar movie? Does your space and environment offer a space of hygee to restore your balance.

Surrounded in beauty and with a candle she made at the Sedona Summit kids activities program through Diamond Resorts.
Capturing the Holiday Spirit.
The joys at the holiday table and the wonderful smells that fill the house.
An afternoon tea for little friends.

It’s the holiday season and a time to re-evaluate your mental space and your home and to purge out the clutter that keeps you from feeling that sense of cozy comfort and welcome in what the Danish describe as hygee.

Norman Rockwell was able to capture these idealized moments within many of his works. It is a reminder that we can find these moments and share it in our hearts, minds and our homes.

Freedom from Want by Norman Rockwell

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy:

Family Bonding on the Slopes

Running on Empty

Beach Days for the Soul

Visit me on Instagram @bruceadrianne

Twitter @chasingrockwell

Or, Chasing Rockwell on Facebook


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