I love Minnesota winters with all of my being. I jump at the first snowfall and mourn the last. The snow, the snow blowing, the cold air hitting my lungs, the evergreens, the quietness, the sledding—they make my heart beat. But with this beloved season comes the shortest days, the greyest afternoons, the darkest evenings, and the coldest cold. Whether you love this season or not, winter can always use a touch of this Danish thing called hygge (hoo-ga or hue-ga). (Scroll to the end of the post for a giveaway.)
This post was created in partnership with Seven Sundays, a Minnesota-made muesli with minimal, wholesome, real ingredients. Muesli is a part of our morning breakfast ritual—pour, soak, make coffee, then eat.
I first heard the word hygge a couple years ago from my favorite wallpaper company Hygge & West. The Danish word started to slowly seep into the headlines across the pond. I fell in love with the concept. There’s no perfect word in english to capture it, but cozy would probably be the closest. It’s kind of like incorporating a special weekend at the cabin into the everyday. Hygge is a noun, but it has the gusto of a verb to create happy-making rituals. Hygge is finding joy in the simplest of things, like the warm flicker of a flame. It’s creating a thoughtful rhythm to otherwise ordinary days. While it’s typically practiced during winter, the philosophy can transcend any time in life that you need a mood booster (like working a job you don’t love). Here’s a couple simple rituals we practice around here to keep spirits high.
Buy a beautiful candle holder and actually light the candles. When I was little, I hoarded my Lisa Frank stickers. Never used one for fear I’d run out. I have the same problem with candles. If you’re like me, just light them—at the early sundown, at your desk, on a dark day, at the dinner table. There’s so much magic in a flicker.
Games aren’t just for the weekends. We play semi-mindless games during the week—like tic-tac-toe, a game of speed, or a Quixx. About once a week, Kev and I sign-off at night, play one too many rounds of Quixx, and call it a date. Playing games is kind of like working out. It’s hard to get started, but once you do, they yield so much energy and happiness (unless you’re on the losing end).
Take a 2pm coffee, tea, or warm beverage break. It’s that natural point in the day when you need a little nudge of energy, especially on gloomy days. I practice this religiously. I love it for the extra cup of coffee and the tempo it adds to my day. It’s something to look forward to. Maybe coffee drinking isn’t your thing? Insert another simple happy-making ritual here.
Keep a winter hobby or start a new one. Mine is knitting by the fire with a wooly blanket and a floor pillow (and if it’s after 5pm, a glass of wine). I use big sticks, knit simple projects, and don’t count my stitches. Though, I haven’t done enough of this this winter. I’m resolved to pick up my sticks instead of scrolling endlessly on my phone at night. Bleh. Next year, my goal is to start an outdoor winter hobby, one Hal can do with me.
Check out this website. Listen to this podcast. Start a Sunday Supper dinner party with friends. Try adding muesli to your morning ritual. Buy a good pair of slippers and splurge on a cozy wrap. If you’re in Minnesota, get outside and head to The Great Northern going on right now. We’re going to the Luminary Loppet this weekend. And you’ll never guess who’s going to be there—Seven Sundays! They’re serving warm muesli. (See you at their tent?)
SOURCES: Wallpaper | Candle Holder (thrifted) | tic-tac-toe | Aeropress | Wool Blanket | Floor Pillow | Living Room Details | Knitting Needles
Add a little hygge to your mornings. Enter to win a Morning Hygge Gift Box—Aeropress, Seven Sundays Muesli, Minnesota roasted coffee, enamel mug. Giveaway runs from 2/2/17—2/5/17 at 12am CST.
If you like this Hygge Rituals Post, you might also like:
- Indoor Winter Wire Wreath
- DIY Nordic Wooden Ornaments
- Nordic Winter Party 2020
- How to Throw a Nordic Winter Party
- Neutral Nordic Wallpaper
- Winter Minimalist Wardrobe
- Tres Leches Hot Chocolate
The higgle ritual I’d like to start doing is knitting by the fire–all I need is a fireplace! 🙂
I love the idea of hygge and the rituals you shared!
Love these! I’m going to start leaving my phone off when I’m at home. Be present.
I always do afternoon coffee, it perks me up and I look forward to it .
I love drinking a cup of hot chai tea after coming in from the cold while reading a book on my kindle.
I love the idea of a 2pm ritual. I’m trying to add an end of day cup of tea for winding down- bring on ALL the warm beverages.
Playing a game at night with my husband or reading a good book.
Coffee and hygge go well together!
I log 2 things I’m grateful for each day into my BuJo. Puts me in a great mood right before bedtime.
I have a daily ritual where I try to write down what makes me happy in that moment. Sometimes it’s as simple as “I woke up and the sun was shining” or “I had an amazing cup of coffee.” It’s a practice I picked up when I was going through a bittersweet time in my own life and needed reasons to keep getting out of bed in the morning. I wanted to stop seeing every day as a bad day, so I made a commitment to notice — and actually pause for a moment to feel — the little things that brought a smile to my face. It’s really helped keep me going, especially through challenging seasons and circumstances.
I love this.
I get up with the cats. We snuggle a bit. I listen to their purring. They we all get up and sit with a cup of coffee and read the paper.
This sounds like just the thing I need. I’m in Portland (and, ok, our winter this year has been crazy for us) and winters are tough for me. I could never make it in Minnesota!
I think you guys have had more snow than us. It’s been a light year here. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for lots of snow before spring hits!
The coffee and the dog get me going. Later on sitting with the dog while I read and he sleeps is the most calming ritual going.
I would love to light more candles at night. I’ve also never tried museli, and I’m intrigued!
You’ll have to let me know what you think if you try it. It’s a bit of an acquired taste at first only because it’s new. But once you do, it’s the perfect (and easy) morning breakfast!
My husband and I have “tea time” every night. I am also in Minneapolis and love going on cold/refreshing winter walks every day during lunch!
I savor a piece of chocolate after breakfast–it’s always so nice to enjoy myself before the day gets hectic!
I like to make herbal tea in the late afternoon when I start losing my interest in water!
I love having a cozy cup of tea in the winter.
I wake up early and have a cup of coffee all by myself and enjoy the quiet. It is the absolute best way to start my day.
I like the idea of playing games at night with my husband. Too often, after the kids go to bed, we get sucked into electronics and spend then go to sleep.
I try to take one afternoon a week to spend sipping a latte in a coffee shop while studying. It’s a good change of scenery from my usual afternoons in the library!
Love this m-I make the rest of my family play board games with me in winter haha!
I want to start the afternoon coffee break. I have such a slump, this will be a warm pick me up.
I’ve been making an effort to pick up a book or magazine rather than my phone at night. Hello zen, goodbye emails
I’ve never heard of this before but I’m on board! I already do many of these things already, especially the coffee 😉
Fresh flowers in my home, and music to fill the rooms. These are my happy makers.
I need to remind myself of the stuff I love to do.
I like to spend chilly days wrapped up in blankets, drinking tea. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!
Every week, my dad and I have an afternoon coffee. He recently had surgery so we had to pause until he got better. These past two weeks have been our first getting coffee again!
In addition to coffee, I love knitting. I quite inexperienced and often times make mistakes. Mistakes and dropped stitches are bound to happen but I absolutely love it. Both little rituals keep me warm in the winter because I like to knit under a thick blanket.
I have Danish blood, so I really need to up my hygge game. I’m going to add the 2pm warm beverage.
We have started game playing on week day nights. When we would normally be out walking the neighborhood in the summer it’s nice to have a cozy indoor activity for winter nights.
Yum! All these things sound amazing! 🙂
I try to start my day at my favorite cozy coffee shop whenever possible.
I’m trying to adopt the leisurely bookworm habit I had in high school. I want my new habit to be that I read two non-cookbook books a month. Bonus if there’s a cocktail and a bubble bath involved lol
I’ve always wanted to learn to knit, and I’m definitely in for the wine!
I would love to have a tea/candle lighting ritual at night. This would totally top the bowl of ice cream, HGTV ritual I have going on right now.
Lighting candles is a great practice that I’ve been working on. Next step is to relax, enjoy and pick up a book.
Obsessed with the idea of hygge. Also Lagom!
Every weekend I try to fit in at least two of my three Rs– read, run, relax.
Drinking chai and reading poetry.
Happy Making Ritual: Hot Chai + Practicing Hand Lettering
Music! It helps the day melt away
I want to start picking up my lap quilting for a little while in the evenings. I love the playing mindless games idea!
I’ve been taking warm baths.
I love to bake in the afternoon and am planning to knit a big chunky blanket.
I have a cup of coffee every afternoon around 2:30. It is nice to sit in the quiet of my house before my kids get home and it is chaos. I also love to bake something in the afternoon. It warms my house better than our old heater and the smells just make everything cozy.
I crochet; look for interesting recipes to try, watching horror movies
I would love to add more mood lighting (twinkle lights, candles, lamps, etc.) around my house and make it feel more warm and cozy 🙂
I have started making your bittersweet black cocoa cookies to add some hygge to our evenings!
A perfect time for this blog. I love Seven Sundays and winter and hot cocoa with gourmet marshmallows, curled up by the fire with my wife and 2 dogs. Practicing hygge will be a daily ritual now.
We’ve had such a mild winter I PA, and I’m really missing the snow! But I still love lighting candles and burning cedar incense in the evenings.
I love how different languages have words to describe feelings and ambience. Growing up in New Zealand sundays in winter in my family home would be the ultimate definition of hygge, a cold dreary day outside but the warmth and glow of a fire inside, with a pot of minestoni soup slow cooking over the fire, savory muffins baking in the oven and my family all sitting around the living room in their own space of mind, my sister reading, my brother doing some sort of science experiment, my mother knitting, dad reading the newspaper and I am painting animals with watercolor paints or beading a necklace. Now as a mother I need to bring this Sunday quiet reflection time into my home, it refreshes everyone, ready for a good week ahead!
We like cuddling up and reading a book
I need to start taking an afternoon break, especially at work. I often don’t take any breaks during the day, and I lose focus and momentum as a result.
I love lighting the candles, fireplace, and putting the lights on dim.
Thank you for game recommendation! I’m looking for fun games that don’t require a huge investment of time and can be played by 2 people. Qwixx looks great!
I love lighting candles and my twinkle lights at the end of the day while watching my favorite shows on Netflix!
I love lighting the woodstove, plugging in my vintage edison lights and working on some handwork( quilting, crochet, embroider).
I get up early to do yoga in the mornings, which always starts my day off on the right foot. I would love to learn to knit!
I am an expert in hygge coming from Denmark, Love my afternoon tea, knitting and candles
Also, not to kill the cozy vibes of this post, but did you see this article in Slate recently? It talks about the white nationalist undertones of the Danish concept Hygge. I KNOW that’s not at all your intent, Melissa!! Just thought it’s worth knowing the full picture.
Thanks for passing this along. It’s good to know what else is out there. I know everyone practices it differently, much like yoga. One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about over the last couple months is how life is this incredibly strange mix of beauty jutting up against the most heinous things. Over the last couple nights, while sitting under that wooly blanket next to that fire, I watched Selma followed by 13th. A friend who’s going through a really hard time right now is coming over tonight to sit by the fire where we’ll talk about the hardest of things. Such a strange juxtaposition. I’m really glad you brought this up. ❤️
Favorite: Cuddle with puppy in front of the fire. It is the best.
I love these simple ideas!
I light candles! And I always have a couple cozy blankets out to snuggle up in. I sometimes go for the mid-day cup of tea, which is something I’d like to start doing more of
In the winter: Afternoon coffee & pastry, hot yoga, and under-the-blanket snuggles every evening
I love tea in the afternoon also love candles. I hope to do more crafting and spend less time on the intenet.
After listening to you on a couple of cooks podcast I started taking some time for myself in the afternoon while my kids are resting. I make a cup of tea and read something of my choice on the couch with a blanket. ??
I always grab a hot drink on my drive home!
This is very timely as we (hopefully) welcome some snow in Portland tonight! I will be cozying up by the fire with a glass of wine and board games.
Love hygge!! I think I’ve been unconsciously practicing this for years; I’m not a winter-lover so the urge to get as cozy as possible is strong. I light candles at 5 pm, have lamps on timers to brighten up rooms in the early morning and the evening, start every day with strong coffee and my Bible, have fuzzy blankets everywhere, read aloud with the boys in the evening, and make altogether too many cookies. ??
A humidifier is a winter necessity in my home, and I love to add aromatherapy oil before I go to sleep.
I’ve been meaning to learn how to knit and start using my new crock pot! Oh and Moroccan mint tea or a cinnamon chai latte in the afternoon always makes me happy!
The 2pm warm beverage break is my life’s blood! (And 10am…and 4pm…and sometimes 8pm…)
Lemon lavender mint tea every evening!
I have a daily tea break, which keeps me happy!
Great article! I love slippers and tea both morning, afternoon and evening. After I put the twins to bed I enjoy reading in the bath!
Love to snuggle up on the sofa with my kids and read to them!
Running every day I can during the winter (not that often, but it helps)
Love this idea, it rains for months straight where I live!
I love this! I do love to embrace the “hygge.” For me it’s getting into my sweatpants and comfy clothes as soon as I get home, casually making dinner and then sitting on the couch while we watch TV, and after dinner I get “back to work” aka working on my blog, but I do it with my heating pad on my lap while I sit at my desk. I get settled in and it feels nice. Happy hygge!
I love getting outdoors for a snowshoe, and then warming up with a hot beverage – kahlua optional 🙂
I love love love the 2pm ritual! Although it’s usually pretty on the go for me. Need to slow it down!
I’m so delighted you used the phrase “happy-making” because I’ve been saying that for years and people tended to look at me funny! One of my most life-giving habits is the Ignation practice of examen, taking time to bring awareness to my day and process it with God. Another happy-making habit is doing collage!
I never knew Hygge is pronounced Hoo-ga! Haha, I’ve been thinking hi-gee. 🙂
It stays warm most of the year where I live, but I find hygge sheds welcome light in a season of dark uncertainty.
Love hygge! I try to find joy in the little things and am all about coziness. Lately I’ve been enjoying drinking a cup of hot coffee while sitting out on the steps after work, just listening to the neighborhood sounds.
I’m with you on the knitting! It is my evening ritual after the kids are in bed that keeps me sane!
I make sure to open the windows up during the day and get plenty of what sun there is so I don’t feel gloomy by the end of the day
I’m a candle lighter(my significant other considers my practice a bit obsessional) Soups(made from leftover roasts and what’s in the veg bin) that simmer all day on the weekend are a must, I love the smell and comfort they project.
My hygge ritual is watching the sunrise with my cup of coffee in hand. Sunrise is a special moment for me, it gives me a space of quiet to reflect and thank God for his many blessings in my life and to invite Him into my day.
I love hygge! One of my favorites hygge rituals is baking and making coffee in my French press. I don’t bake often enough, but the cherry on top is when I’m doing it while there is snow falling outside. It’s the best feeling. Anything comfort food related is my favorite way to hygge 🙂
One’ instant hygge’ for me is wrapping up in a towel that’s right out of the dryer– ahhh! ☺️
2-3 p.m. Coffee or tea has really helped! Even an after dinner cup! I like taking a brisk walk (even just to the mailbox!) to wake up my senses. And it makes the house feel that much cozier afterwards.
I love all these ideas! tea, candles and even bundling up to go outside have really really brightened my winter!
Seeing so much hygge recently! We like the 2pm coffee/tea break 🙂
our nightly herbal tea ritual, we look forward to it especially during the not so cozy moments of the day
Thanks for sharing about hygge! This is new to me but sounds like the perfect antidote to February in Chicago. I really relate to the knitting ritual- I love to feel like I’m creating something beautiful when skies are gray!
I love the idea of putting the phone away and playing games 🙂
I switched to a loose leaf tea in a real teapot and a pour over kettle. Slower, fewer options, and so much better!
We both work from home so an afternoon tea break has been a ritual of ours for several years. Nice cups, a little vase of flowers and maybe a small sweet along with a fresh pot of tea.
I listened to your podcast with a couple cooks and this hygge has been in my mind ever since and I absolutely love it! It’s so easy to get caught up in everyday and down when things bother us, so I’ve been trying to start my own daily practices and it’s helped so much. Thanks for sharing your ideas!
My biggest one is when I make a warm, healthy drink like an almond milk chai, superfood latte, or almond milk latte first thing in the morning. (I LOVE using your pumpkin maple syrup!!). There’s something about enjoying the process — everything from steaming the milk to pulling the shot of espresso to measuring add-ins… it’s so calming. I also take a hot mustard bath most nights and get in some reading. Hygge is definitely worth prioritizing!
Thanks for sharing the Quixx game, I hadn’t heard of that and it looks fun. One game that all my kids (ages 6-13) like to play is Qwirkle. During the summer we bring it out to play on the ferry on trips up to the San Juans Islands or when camping.
My happy ritual is at night I enjoy a cup of warm tea while watching a tv show after the kids have gone to bed with my husband. Snuggly blankets mandatory!
Warm oatmeal every morning, baking, & going out for a walk before the sun goes down!
I have afternoon coffee everyday while my littles nap. Also, candles all winter long.
Hmm… drinking tea.. paging through some cookbooks… and gotta light those candles more! 🙂
I would love to start a 2 pm tea/coffee and painting ritual!
I’m in Texas but it’s it’s still chilly (to us!) sometimes. Love the 2pm warm drink idea!
Lighting candles! I only buy plain beeswax candles which make it easier to get over the “saving & not lighting” issue that happens with a lot of scented candles, I think. Plus they smell good on their own and they purify the air. Win, win!
Every so often I watercolor at a wine tasting room with a girlfriend but I’d like to do it more often & at home too.
Happy making ritual I do now: Morning coffee in the quiet of the house after one child is off to school.
What I’d like to add from this: Winter hobby.
This all sounds so nice, I like your post.
This sounds wonderful!
I love drinking tea in the mornings! It is so much easier to get outside in the winter when there is snow on the ground, not so easy when it is just cold, brown, and windy!
Turning off the TV and cozying up with a good book and a fuzzy blanket!
Growing up in Florida, winter seemed so novel. I’ve since moved away and embrace the coziness of the season (but I do miss the sunshine this time of year!)
you are totally speaking to my soul. i’ve started reading poetry at night; currently working through neruda’s odes to ordinary things!
HUGE fan of the afternoon warm beverage–especially here on our sometimes drizzly/sometimes sunny island in Washington!
I love to open my book and read until start getting hungry..Bonita
I knit and spin…put a little hot coffee next to me and I can speed along…some music on in the background…makes winter fun, and hygge.
Love an afternoon coffee break – add in some cinnamon sugar toast – cozy!
I want to practice reading in a comfy chair in the late afternoon/early evening with a cup of tea.
I make some Mexican atole and cozy up with a fun book on my couch after work
Tea, tea, tea.
Oh yeah, and wine.
I love the idea of lighting candles–I currently have (electric) candles in my windows, and I get such joy at turning them on each evening. They brighten up the house and when I’m outside shoveling, they create this perfect little image of the house and the snow. I thin I’d like to invest in some beautiful candle holders in addition to the scented ones I light. One ritual that I would like to start is making time in the evening to read; I have so many books stacked next to my nightstand, but I seem to always work right up until bedtime. Reading would be a great way to wind down. Thanks for the hygee inspiration and your lovely recipes! 🙂
I wasn’t so sure and then I read “Add wine.” and I was convinced. 🙂
Hahaha! Best comment ever!
What a great post about hygge! I am all about those 2 pm coffee breaks (in my dream world! My work doesn’t allow such a thing!) 🙂 I do love lighting candles and sitting by the fire on a cold weekend morning, though.
I need to crash your work and deliver a hygge break. They’ll come to the light side!
My favorite way to take a small break is to stretch for 5 – 10 minutes. It not only helps me stay more flexible and healthy, but it forces me to breathe and relax quietly. I usually do this after I come home from work – ease the stresses of the day away 🙂
I light candles! I have cabinets full of them, but we light them almost every single night!
A winter ritual I have is to to create hygge is to make bulletproof coffee every morning, (I usually use a clever dripper), and sip it while I read something for 30 minutes. It always has to be 30 minutes or a little more. It keeps me doing one thing for a certain amount of time and keeps my brain active in a healthy way while keeping me warm. Then I make breakfast!
Afternoon coffee is everything! I think I love it more than morning coffee (which is a lot). I do it at 3pm though, thanks to my dad. Love everything about hygge and this post!
LOVE the 2pm break idea. That’s something I’m trying to do more – get away from the computer screen and take a mental break. Also, spending my evenings sitting on the patio with a blanket and a glass of wine really brings the Hygge into play for me.
The idea of a 2pm break, and really thinking about it every day and maybe structuring your work around it, is so good!
I am so embracing this idea of hygge this season. We live in Chicago and though it’s been cold, we haven’t had much snow, which I miss. I feel like it’s easier to get through the winter when you have the beautiful snow to look at and play in. So after I pick my boys up from school, we head home, turn on the record player, light a balsam scented candle (since it’s already dark out!), and play board games around the coffee table for an hour. Lots of snuggles, and laughs are had. It’s a great way to relax before heading into dinner making mode.
Agreed! It’s soooo much easier to keep spirits high (and play outside) when there’s snow on the ground. I deleted that sentence from the post. Everything is so brown and dead without it. We’ve had a couple years in a row of low snowfall. ?
I want to practice more yoga!
I have a warm drink almost every afternoon. I tell my 3 year old its rest time for mommy while he watches a cartoon or plays. It helps me refocus and relax before my other kids get home from school.
In our maison, winter means the fondue set comes down from the top shelves of the kitchen. There is nothing like dipping bread into ooey gooey cheese and eating it along with charcuterie all in the company of loved ones and lots of wine.
In our maison, winter means the fondue set comes down from the top shelves of the kitchen. There is nothing like dipping bread into ooey gooey cheese and eating it along with charcuterie all in the company of loves wines and lots of wine.
Hygge and the danish way of living (and parenting! Great book out there about that!) has been so inspiring to me recently! The 2pm warm drink and quiet break has been a LIFE SAVER during my current pregnancy while chasing a toddler!
I love this. I also LOVE winter and I’m so sad when we don’t get enough snow on the East coast. I actually find doing puzzles in the evening a great way to pass the time.
Love this! I like warm beverages and hand knitted socks to keep cozy!
Love it all! It’s been chilly here in the PNW and I lthink be wrapping myself up
In a cozy blanket
We do the 2 pm tea-break at work each day. Also love putting the phone away for board games. Our almost 4yo loves Carcassone and Dungeon 🙂