Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is the Danish way of embracing winter that took the rest of the Northern Hemisphere by storm (no pun intended) in 2016. We flicked through Pinterest, green with envy at photos of gorgeous throws, sheepskin rugs, woollen blankets and open fires. Lovely, but hardly practical in Brisbane, where the winter temperature rarely drops below 17 degrees.
The good news is that there is away to enjoy the satisfaction of hunkering down against the chill even if we don’t get snow. Here is how to do hygge, Brisbane style.
Host Sunday Lunch
As much as we may lust after soft cashmere throws, hygge is not about accessories. Instead it is about creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere where you are happy to spend time indoors. We are great a throwing a barbeque but people tend to spread out when they’re outside, so gatherings aren’t that intimate. Instead, get your close friends or family together and tuck into your favourite sort of Sunday lunch whether that’s a roast with all the trimmings, an enormous platter of curry, or slow roasted anything that is infused with the depth of flavour that can only come with hours of cooking.
Treating yourself is a key aspect of hygge. More time inside in winter means more time to soak in a bath without feeling that you should be outside and being active. It means lighting your favourite scented candle and enjoying its fragranced glow on a dark night, and going to bed a little bit earlier just so you can enjoy the pleasure of clean sheets. It’s replacing those threadbare trackies with some soft flannel PJs, and trading in your mismatched bed socks for some that are warm and luxurious.
Hygge is not rushed. Long winter nights give you guilt-free time to indulge in hobbies (ok, box sets) you don’t normally give yourself permission to do. Try to have at least one night a week where you all eat dinner together without any screens. Half an hour without their phones won’t kill the kids.
Spend time Outdoors
Fewer hours of daylight makes it precious. Dig out your favourite winter coat and those boots that you can only wear for two months of year without feeling like you’re in a sauna, and breathe in the crisp smells of winter. We’re fortunate to have access to some gorgeous parks and bushland not far from the city so make a day of it and return home to a delicious meal you’ve had cooking in your crockpot all day followed by hot chocolate with as many marshmallows as you can fit in the cup without it overflowing.
Make Time for You
Hygge celebrates everything that is important in life – family, friends, good food and drink, and time to enjoy it all. Nourish yourself with all those things and those around you will benefit as well. The Danes are some of the happiest people in the world so why not learn from them and make time for the things that are important to you this winter.