If you’ve been on Pinterest or Instagram recently, you might have encountered a fun concept: hygge. Maybe it’s my Scandinavian roots (my Dad was born in Norway), but I’ve fully embraced this trend in my home. Hygge is all about slowing down, enjoying simple pleasures and creating cozy spaces. For me, the heart of hygge is about celebrating every day and appreciating what we have.
I’ve been cultivating a hygge home without even knowing the name, but the last couple years I’ve been more intentional about it. I have also been trying to be more thoughtful and simplify my life across the board. The last year, in particular, has been stressful for me from our country’s politics to having a new baby and dealing with a few other personal difficulties. So, this move towards simple and beautiful makes a lot of sense for me, I suppose. Finding little moments in my day to make me smile are incredibly valuable.
Hygge is pronounced like “hoo-guh” or “who-gah” which sounds like someone’s saying “hug” with a bit of flair. The word and vibe are inspired by long winters and lack of daylight in Scandinavia. Chasing coziness is natural during the winter months. As we transition out of winter (eventually), I’m thinking of ways to extend the hygge feeling into spring and summer.
In the winter, you snuggle up with a big blanket, hot tea or coffee, and gaze at the fire. You listen to music. Read a book. Talk to friends. Or listen to your kids run around and ask for snacks for the millionth time. But, they are probably wearing wool Darn Tough socks to try to keep out the cold. My point is: Even with small kids, coziness is hard to avoid when the snow is piling up outside.
I’m looking for ways to keep the intentional coziness going through spring and summer. I’ve been loving the reminders to slow down and enjoy whatever it is that’s in front of me. To find the beauty and sweetness in the everyday. To strip out a lot of noise and focus on the simple treasures we have.
As a mostly stay-at-home mom, I’m often confined to my home even when the weather is warmer. There are nap times and other routines to be kept. Plus at a certain point (sad but true) those intense Vermont bugs will force us inside more often than not.
I want to be reminded to embrace the slow, sweet moments and I have a few ideas how to do that with home decor and other activities. Maybe these ideas seem overly simple – and they are. The point is that with each item on this list, I will take care to notice how it affects my day-to-day life or even moments of my life.
We put white string lights up all over our house this holiday season. We needed some cheer and they fit the bill perfectly. For now, I’m keeping them up in my kitchen and living room. They make me feel happy and… twinkly. They might lean riskily towards college dorm style, but I’ve seen enough grown-up examples to keep me confident. Plus, I’m trying to go with my gut here. And my gut says fairy lights year round!
You might know I’m not so great with houseplants. But thanks to some great advice, I’m forging on with aloe, pothos and snake plant (also called Mother in Law Tongue). We shall see if I manage to keep them alive so they’ll bring cheer and a natural element to my home. Fresh flowers are also a spring and summer staple. This year, I’m planning to grow my own. In fact, if there are any avid gardeners reading who have advice on native Vermont wildflowers I should grow in my yard, please share in the comments!
Even in early spring, we turned off the lights, opened the curtains and lit a candle or two. Or three. Yes, we have small kids but they know that candles are, “For looking not touching.” A phrase my 3 year-old repeats early and often to her little sister. A candle slowly burning during dinner is nice to look at, but there’s something downright magical about how it makes the post-dinner mess seem less messy. That’s what I love the most.
Decking out my couch and bed with lightweight blankets and tons of fluffy pillows will encourage lounging for a tickle fight or reading a book – probably a board book, but still – even when the snow melts. We’ll leave our wool throw blankets strewn about the living room. Wool is pretty magical. It won’t be too hot in the summer, and we can use it outside.
Much like bringing plants and flowers inside pulls the outside in, I want to make the inside spill outdoors. The moment the snow clears and we don’t have to wear coats, I hear the siren call of the backyard. I make an effort to spend time outside during all kinds of weather, but the spring and early summer make me want to throw open the back door and use the yard as another room. Last year we had a new(er) baby and a toddler with a loud fear of bugs. It made for quick and often stressful backyard visits. We preferred walks in our neighborhood or driving to various local playgrounds.
This year, I’m creating actual “rooms” outside, with layers of outdoor blankets and kid-sized chairs. I know that I won’t want to set up an Instagram-worthy picnic every day. But if I can create welcoming areas, we can hopefully all learn to enjoy the yard for large portions of the day from reading and playtime to snack time and lunch.
The summer months can be magical but also jam-packed and stressful. Actually, that pretty much describes any season with small kids. By starting the day with a grateful attitude – even if it’s just for a sunny day – I prime myself to notice and feel grateful for more and more throughout the day. Sometimes I have to pause at 10am and re-prioritize in this direction if I realize I’m getting wound up and overwhelmed. Slowing down and taking a deep breath has never failed me. It’s not always a magical fix but taking 10 seconds hasn’t hurt the day, either.
Advice abounds for how to get physical in the winter, but what about in the summer when the bugs and heat keep us inside (or outside but languishing)? Turning up the bouncy music and having a silly dance party or driving to the lake and taking a quick walk in the breeze can bring the hygge back to my home and my heart.