How to have a happy (hygge) winter

June 20, 2018

Hygge Winter Stories By The Gift Edit

Perhaps it's because we spend so much of our time outside under a blazing sun. Maybe it's a natural reaction to our long hot springs, summers and autumns.

Whatever the reason, it seems to be a particularly Australian habit to be surprised, each year, by the arrival of winter and yet still welcome it wholeheartedly with jumper-clad arms.

And because our cold months are relatively short, when winter does arrive we're really good at enjoying every moment of it.

Coats and scarves are pulled out of wardrobes as soon as the mercury gets below 18 degrees. Candles are lit, heaters turned on, fireplaces filled, thick blankets thrown across beds, woolly socks pulled on.

Hygge - that lovely Danish word that loosely translates to a special feeling or moment as well as cosiness and comfort - has become a byword for winter contentment. With the 21st June marking winter solstice, and our shortest day of the year, it's the perfect time to celebrate everything hygge about winter in Australia.

Embrace winter rituals

Hygge is all about simple, enjoyable moments. This could mean making a full pot of tea and taking time to enjoy the ritual and small luxury of drinking it. Or baking biscuits to share with friends.

It means every day moments of cosy togetherness, when you curl up on the sofa with your loved ones and listen to the rain or read each other stories.  

Breathe the fresh air

Enjoying and appreciating nature is very hygge. In our lucky country this could mean having a wind-soaked walk on a deserted beach with friends, and sharing a thermos of hot chocolate you made sure to pack. Or a long, lazy bush walk where it doesn't really matter how far you go or for how long, because you and your family are too busy noticing and appreciating the trees, ferns, shrubs and birds along the way.

Spending time with friends and family

Hygge is all about connecting. Even the word itself is thought to come from the ancient Norwegian word 'hugga' which is related to our English word, 'hug'. Connecting with friends, family, talking, sharing a moment, sharing a slice of cake or a glass of spiced mulled wine are all lovely, comforting ways to reach out to the people we care about.

Slow everything down

We all try and achieve it, but it's hard to do in our busy, everyday lives. Winter is the perfect time to try. Experiment with slow cooking, slow activities (board games and knitting are very hygge) or even slowing down your exercise routine.

Enjoying the simple luxury of home

While hygge is all about ordinary, everyday comfort, it's also about indulging your senses in your own, simple way.

Have a bath instead of a shower - and add some oils or bath salts. Make sure your bedroom is a refuge for sleep and rest - place an extra blanket on your bed in case you need one in the middle of the night. Keep your world free of clutter (if you can). Light a scented candle when you have that seven o'clock glass of wine then enjoy and take stock.

Because, more than anything, hygge is a state of mind. And winter is over so quickly.


Guest Writer: Emma Babbington is a British born, Sydney dwelling writer.

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