How To Hygge (Or: 29 Ways To Actually Enjoy Winter)

Want to know how to Hygge? Looking for things to do in winter or winter survival tips? You're in the right place! Tap through for advice from a 3rd-generation Minnesotan about how to survive winter! #hygge #wintertips #cozy #tipstobehappier #waystofeelhappier #feelhappier #thingstodotobehappier #iwanttobehappier #happierlifestyle #howtolivehappier
Imagine looking forward to the cold and dark of winter.

Can you picture it?

Pulling out your favorite soup recipes and a pile of cozy sweaters.

Lighting candles around the house and inviting friends over for sledding and board games.

Snowshoeing through a forest muffled with snow, towards a bright cabin full of your favorite people

When we put it like that, six months of dark and cold seems almost …. pleasant.

If you’ve never heard of hygge before, it’s the Danish concept of warm coziness during the winter months. It’s “creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people” (according to Denmark’s official tourism website.)  Those Danes actually enjoy winter! They embrace it and look forward to it! Whaaaaatttt?!!

And as a third-generation Minnesotan of Scandinavian descent, I know a thing (or 29) about winter. I know how to cozy down and warm up.

So if you, too, are looking for a more social, more enjoyable winter – this post is for you. Bookmark it for the coming months when the excitement of the holidays has worn off and now it’s just cold and dark and dreary. Pour yourself something warm, settle in, and have a read.

How to Hygge (or at least hate winter less) 

1. Make your space as cozy + comfy as humanly possible

Warm-toned, lower wattage light bulbs. Tons and tons of candles (I love woodwick candles because they audibly crackle!) Throw pillows and sofa blankets in sumptuous, cuddly textures. Rugs over your bare floors. Thick drapes to keep out the cold and the dark (I have these and I love them!) Mirrors to reflect all those glowing, flickering candles and warm-tones lamps.

I know it sounds crazy but I actually have different pillow shams and throw blankets for winter vs. summer. White cotton pillows don’t feel nice in the depths of winter!

Related: 11 creative ways to make your house cozy

2. Host a sledding party

Remember when you’d spend an entire Saturday with your friends, trundling up and down hills in your snowsuit?  And that zip-zop sound your snow pants would make as you trudged up the hill?

Well, sledding is still awesome and it’s still free.  Gather up your favorite friends for a night of sledding.  You can make it an event by starting the evening with a big pot of soup and some loaves of crusty bread and then head to your nearest hill and devote an hour or two to racing each other down the hill.

If you’re really brave/foolish you could try sledding on an inflatable mattress.  Or a tray filched from a cafeteria.

Or just cut two holes in a plastic shopping bag, stick your legs through and see how fast you go! After you’re tired of climbing back up the hill, head inside for hot drinks and a few rounds of Pictionary.  Lovely!

3. DIY spa day

Have a night in with a bunch of homemade moisturizing beauty treatments!  Winter can dry out your skin and hair something awful.  And constant hat-wearing somehow manages to give me both oily roots and straw-like ends.  Awesome.

Awesome DIY spa treatments for you:
Homemade bubble bath // moisturizing tea + avocado mask // banana + yogurt hair treatment

4. Write actual letters

Is it awesome to stay in touch with old high school friends via Facebook?  Yes.  Is it the same as getting a handwritten letter on hilarious Japanese stationery?  No.

If you’re looking for a good inside, cold-weather activity it’s hard to beat letter writing.  Start with your grandparents or other people who aren’t necessarily all over the internet.

What about your old friends from band camp?  Or your freshman year roommate?  If you’re looking to brush up on that language you studied for years, sign up for a foreign language pen pal or just sign up for a regular pen pal!

If letters aren’t really your thing, buy a big pack of postcards and make it your goal to write all of them before spring.  Or dig through your old photos and when you find a duplicate, pop a stamp and address on the back, write a note and send it off like a postcard to the person in the photo.

5. Make a winter bonfire

When you think about it, it makes a lot more sense to have a bonfire on a crisp winter night than during the sticky, sweaty summer – and a bonfire is a great way to dispose of your Christmas tree!

Have a few friends bring over their dried up holiday wreaths, trees and trimmings and get your fire on.  Here’s a great how-to on proper fire-building technique.

If you’re feeling particularly festive, roast marshmallows or hot dogs.  You can even wrap potatoes in tin foil and tuck them in the coals or do the same with bananas sliced in half lengthwise and stuffed with pieces of chocolate.  Of course, be sure to check out your city’s fire policies before you bonfire it up!

6. Visit someone who’s housebound

Nothing will cheer you up faster than a reality check.  If you’re feeling stuck this winter, take a few hours to visit someone who is really, truly housebound.  Maybe it’s your grandma who’s laid up with a bad hip, your friend with a broken leg or a former teacher whose arthritis is getting the best of her.

Call ahead and ask your friend what time works for them (just because someone’s stuck inside, doesn’t mean they love unexpected visitors).  Bring over a snack or meal to share and maybe a DVD.  Or just go old school and make conversation!


7. Embrace seasonal produce

Cooking with seasonal produce is healthier, cheaper and better for the environment.

Also: winter strawberries are mealy and gross.  Why pay $3 for one withered red pepper when you can make spicy sweet potato soup or dip tiny delicious kumquats in dark chocolate?

Here’s what’s in season during the winter and some awesome ways to cook ’em!
Persimmon pudding // Shredded brussels sprouts // Broiled grapefruit // Butternut squash soup with a kick // Spinach pomegranate salad // Creamy Roasted Parsnip Soup // Kumquat marmalade // Jicama appetizers

8.  Try a new hot drink

Put it in a travel mug and take a walk through your neighborhood! There’s something wonderfully smug about being outside when it’s cold and dark, but feeling all snuggly and warm.  Look at you!  Beating the elements!  Aren’t you the clever one?!

One of my favorite things to do after dinner is to make myself a decadent hot drink, pour it into a travel mug, bundle up and then take a walk around my darkened neighborhood.  I see who already put up their holiday lights, say hello to neighbors walking dogs, and check out decorating schemes in living rooms with uncurtained windows.  Seeing so many families tucked into their sweet, warm houses is such a lovely feeling.

A few hot drinks you’ve never heard of:
Hot, Sweet Ginger Drink // Dreamy Nightime Drink // Hot, Buttered Rum // Hot, Spiced Cider // Hot, Scotch Cocoa

9. Plan a regular, on-going winter group activity

One of the things that bums people out every winter is the lack of connection. Social calendars empty out and, come January, we’re all sitting on our sofas, alone, with Netflix.

Make socializing and connection a priority; take initiative! Invite friends over for weekly viewings of a specific TV show. Host a board game night or a weekly potluck. Start a book club or a ‘stitch and bitch’ in which your friends bring their crafts or projects and you all sit around crafting, gossiping, and nibbling delicious things.

10. Host brunch

Lady get-togethers needn’t be limited to summer patios and fruity drinks.  Why not invite your girls over for a wintery Sunday brunch?  You can listen to cozy, jazzy music (I like the ‘French Cafe’ Pandora station) and tuck into to warm, decadent dishes that wouldn’t feel appropriate in July.  Besides!  This is an excellent opportunity to pull out your ‘good’ dishes and that sweet tablecloth from your grandma!

Awesome brunch recipes!
Irish coffee // Zucchini mushroom strata // Cinnabon clone // Whole grain waffles // Dutch babies // Apricot mango mimosa

11. Choose happy books/music/movies

Now, I love few things more than a good, properly depressing piece of literature.  (What’s up, everything Joyce Carol Oates has ever written?)  But perhaps December is not the time to indulge in that stuff.

Instead, let’s make space for music, movies and books that make us sigh with joy and laugh out loud.  If you don’t have any go-to feel-goods, here are a few to get you started.

Joy-filled Movies
Bridesmaids, Easy A, Babe The Gallant Pig, American Teen, ElfClueless

Happy-fying Books
Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie books, Bossypants, Bridget Jones, anything by Bill Bryson or David Sedaris

Wonderful Music
Vampire Weekend, Two Door Cinema Club, The Wombats, Lilly Allen, Jesse J, Beyonce

12. Get more sun

One of the leading causes of seasonal depression is lack of vitamin D – the vitamin you get from being exposed to the sun.  Of course, it’s hard to see much of the sun if you’re inside working the entire time it’s light out.  Here are a few ways to get more sunshine into your life.

* Take advantage of your lunch break
If it’s sunny, bundle the eff up and get outside on your lunch break.  Try out a new restaurant that’s several blocks away, run some errands (on foot) in your neighborhood, or just put on a podcast and walk.  You’ll get some exercise and some vitamin D!

* Load up on sun during the weekend
If you are chained to your desk all week, make sure you get outside and into the sun on the weekends – and not just for two minutes as you walk through the Target parking lot.  Plan some fun outdoor activities (snowshoeing! skiing!  snow fort building!) and make ’em happen.  Or you can just put a hot, tasty beverage in a travel mug and explore a new neighborhood.

* Work next to a window
Now, you can’t actually absorb vitamin D through glass, but you’ll still feel a lot better about life if you’re sitting in the sun rather than toiling away in a dark corner.  If it’s really too cold to be outside or you have a huge computer-based project to finish, pull your desk or chair into the light.

* Splash out on a Sun Box
If you have really severe seasonal depression, you might want to consider getting a lightbox.  Light boxes are essentially huge lamps that use light, filters and angle to replicate the sun.  They’re not cheap but they’re allegedly quite effective!

13. Show people you love them

February is the month of love, right?  And though romantic relationships are really lovely, let us not forget all the other people that we love.

Because just like any long-term relationship, friendships require maintenance. You wouldn’t expect a lover to go years without any expression of your affection, why would you expect that from a friend? It’s important to let the people in your life know that they matter!

Make an active effort to strengthen your friendships at this time of year. Most of us have a lighter social calendar and we’re more inclined to mope, so this is a great time to reach out to an old friend and remind them how much you love and appreciate them.

14.  Embrace the “No bad weather, only bad clothes” rule

In Sweden (land of 4:00 pm sunsets and six-month winters) there is a saying: there is no bad weather, only bad clothing.  That, my friends, is kind of true.  Of course you hate winter if you’re shoveling your sidewalk in a cute jacket and high heeled dress boots!

Obviously, January is abysmal if you’re walking to work in ballet flats.  Just about everything in life is more fun when you’re properly prepared.  Let this be the year that you actually invest in proper winter clothing.  Warm winter gear need not be bulky and unflattering.

Some necessities to add to your winter wardrobe:

Silk long underwear
Sure, they’re a little bit spendy but they’ll last you years and probably pay for themselves in lowered heat bills.  They’re insanely comfortable, thin and layer-able under just about everything.  Get a full set – top and bottoms.

Merino socks
These are wool socks’ sexier cousin.  They’re nearly as warm but much, much thinner.

Lined mittens and gloves
Yes, those sleek little leather driving gloves are cute.  But they’re not doing much for you when you’re scraping off the windshield are they?  Invest in a nice pair of mittens or gloves that are fleece lined, so you needn’t keep your hands jammed deep in your pockets all winter.

A variety of cute head and ear coverings
Mild winter = cute, cable-knit headbands and furry earmuffs.
Medium winter = cute, cable-knit hat or beret.
Harsh winter = fleece-lined stocking cap.

Proper winter boots
I’ll say it again.  Those fake leather motorcycle boots from Target don’t count.  You needn’t drop $200 on a pair of Sorels, but you need something with laces, lining, and grip on the soles. I have these and I loooove them.

15. Yes, try a spray tan

I think we are all aware that exposing your skin to real, actual sun and Vitamin D is what results in tanned skin.  And – shockingly enough – you won’t actually get any Vitamin D by spraying your skin with tan-i-fying chemicals.

But that doesn’t mean you might not enjoy looking less pale!  Or giving yourself fake tan lines!  Or making your coworkers ask “Did you really have the flu?  You look oddly healthy and golden.”

When done incorrectly, self-tanners can turn you into an Oompa Loompa.  Let’s be smarter than my girls on Jersey Shore.

Try a spray tanner that’s right for your skin tone (I’m looking at you Paley McPalerson grabbing at the ‘dark’ bottle) or use a lotion that builds up color very gradually over many uses.  Or keep your eye on Groupon for discounts on a fancy salon-administered spray tan!

16. Shovel someone’s sidewalk

The holiday season isn’t the only time of the year for good deeds.  Maintaining sidewalks during the winter can be really time consuming and an icy, unsalted walkway can be really, really dangerous.

If you’re young, able-bodied and in the market for some good karma, have a go at someone else’s sidewalk after the big storm.  Of course, you can use this as an excuse to get closer to your good-looking neighbor, but it’d probably be a lot more helpful for that little old lady or your friend with the broken ankle.

17. Eat your vitamin D

One of the main causes of seasonal depression is lack of vitamin D – because we have less exposure to the sun.  Of course, the best way to stock up on Vitamin D is by getting some sunlight on your skin, but if sub-zero temperatures are preventing that, you can also eat your D!

Here’s a list foods that are particularly high in Vitamin D – chief among those are fish, soy, mushrooms and vitamin-fortified cereals.
Want to cook up some Vitamin D-tastic dishes?   Try fish tacos, homemade chai with soy milk or mushroom pie.


18. Try a winter sport

Sure, there are lots of things you can’t do in winter – skinny dip, picnic, pick wildflowers.  But there are also tons of fantastic winter-specific sports and activities that you can’t do outside of December – February.  So why not embrace all those snowy, icy options?  Surely there are at least a few of these that you like!

Why not try:
Sledding // Ice skating // Curling // Broomball // Hockey // Ice fishing // Snowmobiling // Downhill skiing // Cross-country skiing //
Snowshoeing // Snowboarding // Tubing // Polar bear plunging // Snowman building

19. Make snowcream

If you, like every other elementary school girl, read Little House On The Prairie, you are probably already well-versed on the wonders of snow cream.

Wanna make some?

Here are the ingredients:
1 gallon of snow
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups milk

When it starts to snow, place a large, clean bowl outside to collect the flakes. When full, stir in sugar and vanilla to taste, then stir in just enough milk for the desired consistency. Serve immediately.

20. Make arm or leg warmers

One of the keys to enjoying winter is embracing the things that make it different from other seasons.  And one of those things?  Leg warmers and arm warmers.

Now, I know that Target has some cute $15 leg warmers on offer.  But wouldn’t be more fun to make them yourself out of that old wool sweater?  And some of that cute ribbon sitting around?

Here’s a great leg warmer how to and here’s a nice one on arm warmers.  And if you need something to dress up your boots?  Check out this boot sock how-to.

21. Plan a weekend away

Isn’t funny how a change of scenery can make all the difference in the world?  Pile into a car with your friends, drive three hours and sleep in a bed that’s not yours and all of a sudden the world is a new and splendid place.

Planning a weekend away can take a bit of work, but I promise you – those memories are worth their weight in gold.

Some ideas for weekend adventures that won’t break the bank!

* Somebody’s parents’ vacation home
Do you know anybody whose parents own a second home?  Or better yet – a lake house?  Chances are they’re not using it in the winter and they’d be happy to let you spend the weekend there, snowshoeing in the woods and checking out the little towns nearby.

* Camping cabins
Many state parks include adorable camping cabins.  For $50, you and three friends get a heated cabin with electricity and beds (but no bathroom) deep in a state park.  You’ll feel so rugged cooking on your camping stove and sleeping in a sleeping bag.

* Megabus adventures
Grab a few friends and check out the Megabus website.  If you live in a large-ish city in the Northeastern half of the country, there’s a good chance Megabus stops in your town.  Take a bus to Chicago for the weekend!  Or Cleveland!  Or Madison!  It’s super cheap and you won’t have to worry about parking or driving in scary traffic.

* Last-minute travel packages
If you’re feeling really splashy, check out the last-minute flight+hotel packages on Orbitz and Travelocity.  You can frequently find flight and three nights in a hotel for less than $500 to lots of different warm weather destinations!

Related: Airbnb is always an affordable option and if you’ve never used it before, here’s a $40 credit towards your first booking!

22. Learn the winter constellations

I was probably 25 before I realized that the constellations in the winter sky were different than the ones in the summer.   Be ye not so stupid as me, friends!

In addition to sounding smart, constellation spotting is just plain fun.

There are three ways you can do it:

1) Bundle up with a friend, put a hot beverage in a thermos, grab an astronaut blanket and lay down in a snowy field.
2) Borrow a friend’s car with a sun or moon roof and check that business out from the warmth of your car
3) Buy/borrow/steal a telescope and check ’em out from inside your house.

Of course, you know that option one is the most fun.

How does one go about identifying constellations?  Here’s a great tutorial.  Or, if you’re lazy, there’s obviously an app for that.

23. Make a snow fort

There are certain things that we never grow out of.

For me, those things are:
1) Eating cookie dough
2) The Muppets
3) A deep and abiding love of snow forts

They’re super, super fun to make.  It’s a great way to spend the afternoon with friends.  All your nieces/nephews/neighborhood kids will think you are The Coolest and when you’re done, you have a cool place to hang out.

You know, instead of inside your perfectly nice apartment with central heat.

Building the perfect snow fort is something of a science, requiring very specific snow and tools.

Here’s a great (and funny) how-to.  And here’s another one.

hygge-winter-tips24. Listen to old music

Isn’t music from the forties and fifties deliciously cozy?  This is not to discount the awesome that is Nirvana or Ace of Base, but those are hardly bands that make you want to canoodle in front of a fireplace.

Best case scenario?  Scour your local thrift stores for a real, actual record player and records starring dapper, crooning gentlemen or sweet-faced girl groups.  There’s something really lovely about the pops and crackles of records.

If you can’t swing that, tune into the Pandora stations of Etta James, Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Mathis or Frank Sinatra.  Turn the lights down low, pour yourself a glass of wine, turn off all your electronic gadgets and sink into those gorgeous voices.

25. Take a traditional sauna

Did you know that saunas are more than just sweat-scented rooms at the YMCA?  Yes.  Let this winter be the one that you perfect the art of the real, true Scandinavian sauna.

Here’s how!
1. Learn how to pronounce it correctly.  Annoy everyone by doing so.
2. If at all possible, find a friend who has an actual sauna in their home – not one at the gym.
3. Take a shower before you enter the sauna
4. If you’re feeling brave or you’re with close friends, strip down to your birthday suit and sit on a towel
5. If the sauna isn’t humid enough for your liking, add some water to the hot coals – put a bit of eucalyptus oil in the water if you’re feeling fancy
6. For those devote traditionalists, thwap yourself with some birch branches (!) or – probably more realistically – have a go at your rough spots with a loofah
7. When you’ve reaching your boiling point, jump into a cool shower, into a lake or have a roll in the snow.  You’ll feel
a) really awake b) like a million bucks
8. Drinks tons and tons of water

Though it doesn’t sound particularly enjoyable or relaxing, as someone who grew up around saunas, I can personally vouch for their awesomeness.  It’s a great way to spend a Sunday night!

26. Have an indoor picnic

Just because it’s snowing outside, doesn’t mean you’re limited to hot soups and heavy casseroles. Why not throw down a blanket, splash out on some out of season produce and put on a spring-ful playlist?

Ingredients for a successful indoor picnic!

* A thermostat that’s turned up
* A blanket
* Your cutest sundress (you can top it with a cardigan and wear it with cute socks and oxfords)
* Festive plastic dinnerware
* A thermos full of adult beverage (like ginger shandies or cucumber-lemonade chiller)
* Muffuletta sandwiches
* Watermelon and cantaloupe salad with mint vinaigrette
* Playing cards for all sorts of fun, old-fashioned games

27. Perfect a difficult recipe

Winter is the perfect time to get really, really good at indoor activities – and if those activities lead to something delicious – so much the better!

Why not devote a few quiet nights to perfecting an advanced, challenging recipe?  Sure, it’ll probably take you a few tries to get it right but it’ll be a great adventure and learning process.  Once you’ve got it mastered, you’ll win every dinner party ever.

Some super impressive recipes to try?
Savory souffles // Coq au vin // Mole // Beef wellington // Napoleans // Paella

28. Play board games

Words With Friends on your Iphone is great.  As is Angry Birds.  But one of the things that makes winter awful is the fact that no one wants to leave their house and engage in actual human contact.  Let’s fix that – invite a bunch of friends over for a night of vintage board games, drinks and nibbles!

29. Learn to layer

Chief among our frustrations with winter is the fact that we have to dress warmly.  Dressing warmly and cutely isn’t always easy – but it’s not impossible!

Tips for layering while cute!

1.Silk long underwear
I’ve sung their praises before but it bears repeating.  Go buy a pair.  Yesterday.  They’re comfortable, warm and so thin you can wear them under everything.  These are especially necessary if you walk to work, work in an under-heated space or are trying to save money by keeping the heat low.

2.If you’re wearing boots, wear wool socks
No one will the wiser, but you’ll be exponentially warmer!

3. Layer from the thinnest piece up
The thinnest piece of clothing you’re wearing should go against your skin (silk long underwear, a camisole or Spanks) and the heaviest layer (a sweater, scarf or jacket) goes on top.  If you mix this up, you’ll just look lumpy!

4. Show off the contrast between your layers
Layering a blue sweater on top of a blue tank top isn’t particularly exciting.  What about a solid color over a print?  Or two different prints in coordinating colors?  Or a silky scarf over a tough tweed?  Now we’re talking!

5. Don’t layer like with like
Ruffled cardigan over a ruffled shirt = no.  Ruffled cardigan over a simple chambray shirt = a hearty yes!

Here are some more cute layering ideas.

Whew! That’s a small novel devoted to making winter nigh-on lovely. Please read it, use it, share it with your friends who live in cold, snowy places! 

I’d love to hear from you! How do you make winter cozy and enjoyable?

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  1. Ashley Lorelle

    I needed this list. I grew up and still live in Rochester NY and every year it is getting harder and harder to make the best of winter.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      It’s weird, right? I’ve lived in Minnesota of 32 of my 36 years and it’s somehow not getting easier! 😉

  2. Hilary B

    This list is just perfect – thank you! Exactly what I needed to read as I gear up for another Canadian winter. You’ve inspired me to finally do something with my snowshoes!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Yay! As a Canadian you’re a fellow Winter Expert, right? 😉

  3. lindsay

    booooooookmarked. i am bound and determined to embrace hygge this winter, and i’m preparing by stocking up on beeswax candles, fancy hot cocoa mix, and board games. i’ve also found that having a sitting-on-the-couch hobby (mine is cross stitching) helps make hours spent under a blanket feel more productive and thus, a little more healthy. and i can do it while watching football!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Love it! I’m considering buying a pair of cross country skies! My new place is a block from the park and the lake – I’d be silly to miss the opportunity!

  4. zoe

    Love this! It’s still sunny here in northern Italy, but when the cold grey weather starts I definitely need a friendly push to do something with winter other than sit on my sofa and mope. I’m mentally planning out brunch menus already… 🙂

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      BRUNCH 4EVA!!!! Thanks for reading, Zoe!

  5. amalia kaplam

    well i’m from israel and the weather here is not so cold in the middle east but still great tips! i love your blog so much! best blog ever!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      You’re so sweet to say so, Amalia! I’m actually looking for someone from Israel to do a Mornings In post. Are you interested? If you are, just drop me a line at sarah (at) yesandyes (dot) org!

  6. Kate

    This is such a good reminder! I’m a Wisconsin girl, born and raised, and my mom definitely believed that there was no bad weather, just bad clothes. We went sledding all the time, I spent a huge amount of time ice skating at the local park, and she would also send me outside to play every afternoon. I also love the suggestion of going on a walk with a hot beverage–I will totally be doing that this winter. My parents and I would go on evening walks as a family (especially before Christmas) and it always felt magical, clomping around in boots and holding hands 🙂

  7. Melissa

    I need to frame this and put it up somewhere. Compared to my midwestern canadian winter (I lived real close to the twin cities), november in montreal is shaping up to be fairly warm so far, but I can’t help but feel dread as I know winter is coming.

    Seriously great ideas – the best snow forts are when the snow is really high and you can just fall in. And I’ve become obsessed with mixing my own tea-blends. Oh, winter. Some good may come of you yet.

  8. Tiffany D.

    GIRL! This is an amazing and extensive list! I don’t live in a place with extremely cold winter weather but I love the idea of embracing the season and trying new things when it’s dark and chilly out. Thank you for putting this together!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Thanks for reading, Tiffany!

  9. Lesley S

    This is a great list! I can’t wait to have a dreamy nighttime drink tonight. We live in TN, so winters aren’t super harsh, but we moved here from FL 3 years ago, so my body still gets confused when it’s very cold. This post has alleviated some almost winter depression. Hygge forever!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      So glad you liked it! Changing climates is always hard, no matter where you go!

  10. madge

    This is a great list … but I’m wondering what people do about the worst winter problem of all — static?! I got silk long underwear but had to give up on them because they were so static-y. That aerosol stuff works but I don’t want to be spraying that all the time. And we had a humidifier, too, but still … shocks and sparks many times a day.

    Any pro tips?

    • Lotte

      Spay with 1/10 – fabric softener/water. That should help. It’s used on furniture and makes them normal again. Try it 🙂

    • Cecilie

      Use 100% merino Wool 🙂 Sarah Von Bargen good job On your post im a dane and you were spot on 🙂 we also have baking Day where we bake for the entire december + gingerbread cookie for the Windows 😉

  11. Heikki Lapland

    Finland trip to the nearest town of Rovaniemi 120 Km. Travel only snowmobile. Went cold lung, the left lung was cut off. Now I live in Thailand one lung for 5 years. My job to run forestry.

  12. Laura

    I live in deep in the American South, where it’s basically warm all the time except for January and February. The only “winter weather” we really experience is a week or so every year of snow, then a week where everything just ices over! The summer, though, is truly miserable and lasts FOR-EV-ER. I’d love a flip list of appreciating summer when it’s too hot to even breathe!

  13. Noelle

    Did you know that the Norwegian phrase for the saying “There is no bad weather, just bad clothes” actually rhymes when spoken in the original Norwegian? Kind of awesome 🙂

    “Det finnes ikke dårlig vær,
    Bare dårlige klær”

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Love it!

  14. Sydney

    This is Awe-some. Canadian winters are dark, cold and unpredictable. As I write I’m sitting in front of my lovely (life saving) UV light. Growing up my mom always made the most delicious breakfasts during winter, I think to make the mornings more bearable. Cinnamon buns and oatmeal and this completely made up dish she called Snowy Morning Eggs. Fancy Winter Breakfasts!
    Also that Pandora station is 10/10

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      So good, right? I’m also stalking this Philips Wake Up Light on Cyber Monday!

  15. Marie-eve

    I guess living in Quebec city makes me an expert 🙂 We have two winter festivals. So make it festive. It helps a lot. A big yes to try a winter sport. Our 3 kids started skiing around 2 yrs old. Around october we start taking out the ski gear, what needs to be replaced, planning ski weekends with friends, etc. Gets everyone excited!

  16. Ella

    I love this article and I will definitely be drawing inspiration from it in those cold miserable January and February days! I live in Winnipeg (Winterpeg, colloquially) and it can be easy to plead mercy instead of enjoying those winter months. Skating at outdoor rinks or down our city’s river trails are definitely highlights.

    Thank you for this!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Thanks for reading, Ella!

  17. heidi @ aweekfromthursday

    What a lovely post! You actually have me looking forward to winter! I just bought a bunch of candles last month and I’m ready to take a crack at my growing pile of books to read. Also, you didn’t add furry friends snuggle time on your list!

    Bring it on, winter. 🙂

  18. Mary

    Wholeheartedly agree with 14 & 29! Silk long underwear is the greatest, as are cotton and wool sweaters, and silk-blend scarves to protect your neck from a scratchy coat collar. Acrylic sweaters are the worst, making you sweaty and smelly while not keeping you warm! Merino socks are now on my Xmas list.
    Thank you for helping us do hygge right!

  19. Andrea

    Hi Sarah! I loved this post. I just heard about hygge for the first time this year and it’s given me some much-needed perspective (especially since our first snow is supposed to fall today). Thanks for all the creative ways to bring it to life. I shared a link to it today on my blog to spread the hygge love. 🙂

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Thanks so much for sharing, Andrea!

  20. Kristie Ryan

    I love this post so much! I live in Florida so the winter part doesn’t really apply to me, but these are such great ideas for all times of the year 🙂

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      So glad you liked it Kristie!

  21. Orianne

    Thank you ‘snow’ much for this delightful read on how to make winter more cozy and appreciated, which as I’ve just learned from your post is what HYGGE is all about.
    I adore this concept and will remind myself of it next time I need to de-ice the steps and shovel some snow – with warm drink in a travel mug in my pocket! ❤

  22. Jessica

    As a Dane, it makes me RIDICULOUSLY HAPPY that you wrote this Sarah! Definitely sharing! 😀

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Thanks for inventing such an awesome concept! 😉

  23. Jan

    Ever since I’ve read this, I’ve been dreaming about a walk with a travel mug. Changed countries recently so it’s gonna be a great way to explore the new neighborhood! Now I’m only waiting for the snow.

  24. Lee-Ann

    This is a really nice comprehensive list! I live in country with sun all year round, but intend to travel and experience snow in 2016. I especially like the suggestions for an indoor picnic, and a cosy brunch.

  25. Bettina Dollerup

    Nice list! – but in Denmark, hygge is not specific to the winter season – we can hygge all year around 🙂

  26. Anonymous

    Best list ever for winter!

  27. Lotte

    As a Dane I most correct you. Hygge is not only a winter thing, it’s an everyday thing. Could be big stuff, could be small stuff. Sometimes in the company of others, sometimes alone. It’s just this warm feeling within combined with a sincere feeling of happiness. Trust me, it’s not only a winter thing.

  28. Lindsay Donaldson

    Yea! Everything you wrote makes me want to be your friend!!!!!!!

  29. hanna

    It’s funny how much money it takes to do even simple things.

  30. Marissa

    I’m from Arizona where “winter” doesn’t even exist! Oh, how I’d love to incorporate some of these ideas LoL.. Sound so…well, cozy! There needs to be words/ideas on how to enjoy intense unforgiving heat and too many days of Sun!

  31. Anonymous

    Love this. Makes me want to move back to MN. Re-watching “The Story of Winter” also helps! 🙂

  32. Alejandra

    What a great post to learn how to live better and happy during the long winter months, I’m new in Quebec, Canada; everyone use to ask me how do I handle Canadian winter weather as I’m Mexican.
    I got inspired by this list on how to Hygge during the winter, will do my Hygge winter list to do!

  33. Angie

    I LOVE this list! The older I get the more I dread winter – pinning this for the dead of winter!! 🙂 Thank you!

  34. Ali

    Definitely some great ideas here. I hate winter, hate being cold. I lived in Atlanta from 15 to 31, so I got used to not-so-cold winters (though I even hated how cold Atlanta gets!), but now I live in Berlin, Germany where it gets much, much colder and darker in the winter. It really is a struggle, and I have to travel someplace warmer and sunnier for at least a few weeks every winter. FYI you mentioned vitamin D a few times, simply going outside in the winter does not get you vitamin D. The sun is too low at mid to high latitudes for you to get any vitamin D during the winter, so you could be outside all day long on a sunny January day, and you won’t get even a drop of vitamin D. I now take vitamin D in liquid form (because it’s fat soluble, the liquid is oil) every day for 6-7 months of the year.

  35. A. Crance

    I’ve lived in the snow belt region of NY all my life where “Lake effect snow” is a common occurrence. Winters can be extremely long, cold and gloomy. After the holidays, I try to settle into Winter by trying a few new things each year. I may buy a new jigsaw puzzle and leave it out to work on over the months. I’ll visit a museum or attend a cultural event that I wouldn’t do in the summer. I may take an online course for fun or venture to the library and browse books I don’t normally read. I begin looking for vacation or get-away opportunities for the new year and write ideas down in a new notebook. Sometimes I just sit in the dark, watch the candles burn and unplug from screens thinking of all the blessings in my life.

  36. Mia

    Great list! I love a good hygge session. Drinking my favorite coffee and listening to vinyls is what I like to do. x

  37. Anonymous

    I am from Louisiana and we have about 4 months of extreme heat in summer ! I would love to experience all these Hygge moments at least once in my life! Travel is my passion ! I have been fascinated with how other people lives since fourth grade . I am now 65 years old and still get excited! I guess I live through other people’s experiences! You need to run a bed and breakfast that would provide this experience for those of us who will never get to experience this otherwise .The only problem is I should have done this when I was younger and not on Social Security Budget but I at least get to experience this in my mind through a very well thought out post! Thank you for this opportunity! I don’t and never have responded to post before and probably won’t again but this touched my happy place travel ,simplicity and dizziness ! I found this on Pintrest

  38. Jonnah

    I really enjoyed this 🙂 looking forward to the rest of the blog. I nearly lost it at “spoons widdled” though. I think the word you’re looking for is “whittled.” Widdling is something you do in the bathroom, or maybe down your leg if you don’t make it in time 😉

  39. Lida Perfetto

    I love winter. Time to relax after the busy rest of the year. Another hygge activity: jigsaw puzzles

  40. Hattie

    My mind is blown right now. For the past year, I’ve been consciously making the effort to create a way of life that warms my soul and that I can genuinely enjoy no matter what else is going on in my life. Finally, I have a name for it! I’m an American but I have never identified with the “go, go, go” way of life that we have here. Unfortunately, that way of life permeates friendships, families, careers, health, etc. I made a promise to myself that I would not let the pace of the world around me disturb my hygge way of living.

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