Gray sky doesn't have to mean a sad interior.
When winter is over, you may want to only be able to hibernate until spring. But there is actually joy in the quieter months of the year.
While the trend may have come and gone in the United States, the art of hygge, the feeling of being extremely cozy and content, is only part of everyday life in Denmark.
The Danes know how to thrive in winter. You may already know that you are the happiest person in the world, but did you know that many of them attribute their unusually sunny outlook to their home and self-care habits?
When it's cold and rainy, you may hear the siren song from your favorite TV streaming service. Aah, sweet, lonely binge watching! However, if you want to spend a cooler evening, here are some ideas on how to channel the Danes and how to turn the cloudy weather into an intentionally beautiful day.
1. Set the mood
Candles are an important ingredient for an extremely pleasant atmosphere. They not only provide beautiful, soft lighting, but also give your room warmth and fragrance.
Tipping: Choose seasonal scents to inspire the celebration, or choose a summer scent like coconut and flowers to combat the seasonal blues.
2. Bake something
Cake is central to the cozy experience. But it doesn't start when you eat the cake (or biscuit or cake) – it starts when you buy the ingredients.
Go to your favorite market, choose your ingredients carefully and mix them with the greatest care. Take your time to enjoy the task at hand. It's just a bonus that your baking floods your room with delicious smells – and tastes good too.
Tipping: Call a friend or family member whose recipes deserve recognition and ask if they can show you how to train their spectacular skills. Baking together ensures a nice afternoon, regardless of the weather!
3. Add texture
Plush throws, sheepskins and pillows make for a much more inviting space. Cover your surfaces with as many luxurious fabrics and pillows as you can find and cuddle.
Tipping: Feel free to go faux, or if the cost prohibits it, you will find inexpensive alternatives.
4. Invite people
Do you tend to hide from your friends as soon as the days get short? Fight the urge to retreat and invite your loved ones (or those you want to get to know better) to share your cosiness. Bonus: Ask them to bring a bottle of your favorite seasonal drink with them!
Tipping: You have little money but want to organize a dinner party? Ask everyone to bring an ingredient for the soup and put it together, or just plan a casual potluck.
5. Get the board games
If they have collected dust, this is the time to take them out! Whether you choose a competitive strategy or exuberant social games, there are options for everyone. Even a card game can offer a lot of entertainment for the minimalists among us.
Tipping: Do you have long distance friends and relatives? There are many gaming apps that you can play from all over the world. Start a game and maintain your connections all year round!
6. Perfect your game with hot drinks
Hot cocoa, hot toddlers, cider, mulled wine – get your poison. Whatever it is, you will find your own special recipe that is so delicious that you can hardly wait to show it off. Then invite these friends again!
Tipping: Why, yes, you can add whiskey to these drinks. But it's usually a good idea to perfect a cocktail version for friends who don't drink.
7. Include the weather of the sweater
If you don't have a favorite sweater yet, it's time to find one. It should be something that makes you feel at home when you put it on. Cashmere, wool, mohair – everything is enough. Whatever you choose, combine it with thick socks!
Tipping: Start a knitting, crochet or weaving circle and make your own sweater over the winter. Long projects are easier to master when you're sitting next to a friend – and it's a good excuse to meet every week, regardless of the weather.
8. Curate your cold outside playlist
Make a mix of music that inspires you to do all the things that make you feel absolutely popular in your room. Mix, relax, repeat.
Tipping: Instrumentals are classics for a reason – they can serve as a background for almost anything. When in doubt, most music services have pre-built playlists, some of which can be filtered by mood.
9. Do seasonal activities
Make caramel apples? Check. Are you working on (or giving up) your New Year's resolutions? Check. Canning, puddle jumping, throwing snowball, spring signs? Check!
Tipping: Whatever your favorite seasonal activity, create a plan to do it – add it to your calendar, set a reminder on your phone, or find a "responsible partner" (a friend or family member who Gives you the necessary impetus) and feel how the magic of even the brightest weather floods you.
Originally published in October 2018.