Snug as a bug in a rug

The Welsh have ‘cwtch’, the Norwegians have ‘koselig’ and the Scandinavians all have ‘hygge’…it doesn’t translate in English, however, you naturally must have heard of it, everyone’s talking about it – but what exactly is this hygge thing? Well, firstly, it’s pronounced ‘Hoo-guh’ – we thought we’d have some fun with this and get the non-Scandinavians amongst us to say it out loud…the closest we got was ‘hig-guh’.

This wonderful concept comes from Denmark, where, apparently, the happiest people on the planet live! So, it bodes well that we should take a leaf out of their book.

Before you start thinking this is all about buying things and spending yet more money over Christmas – you’re wrong! It’s not an object – it’s all about simple living and getting pleasure out of the smallest things in life (sounds utterly fabulous, doesn’t it?). We’re inclined to think you’ll agree, as we love anything that involves socialising, relaxing and cosiness. Bliss – especially at this time of year. What could be better?

Christmas can be such a stressful time, with trying to fathom out what to buy for your Great Aunt (who you barely see) and let’s not forget the costs involved – meals out, the obligatory office Christmas get together when that ‘one drink’ turns into ‘five’. It’s no surprise then that we think it’s high time we brought a little hygge into our own lives.

Feel free to share this with your friends and family when your extravagant older brother decides that £800 for a MacBook for his 10-year-old is completely reasonable. There goes the arts and crafts game you bought from the local high street shop.

So, let’s all introduce some ‘hygge’ in the festive season with the top ten tips below. The first two are, of course, about lighting – it’s a critical element in the hygge approach, and the quickest and easiest way to create a warm and cosy atmosphere.

1)    Scandinavians absolutely LOVE candles, but they also like lots of lamps dotted about, creating soothing pools of light for reading or just lounging. If this is for you, ensure you have multiple sources of light: floor lamps, table lamps as well as wall lights and pendants. That will give you plenty of options for different moods and settings.

2)    To enhance your new lighting, try different scented candles (or diffusers) in different rooms. If you want your kitchen to be energising try a grapefruit scent, or if you’re after a bit of ‘Zen’ in the living room, try out lavender for that much needed calm.

3)    If you’re responsible for the Christmas dinner, why not get everyone to come round and prepare some parts of the meal beforehand? Be it soaking fruits or chopping vegetables, do it the hygge way and get your loved ones involved while having a glass (or two) of mulled wine.

4)    After Christmas dinner, take a leisurely stroll – even if it’s freezing! Wear your Hunters, take the dog and reward yourself with something when you get home (more mulled wine to create that ‘cosiness’, anyone?).

5)    Stash away phones and devices and all play a board game (perhaps not Monopoly – it always seems to end in tears and bitter recriminations).

6)    Fancy a lie down after all the ‘excesses’ of the festive season? Create a cosy bed in the living room. Buy the best pillows you can (duck down, goose, whatever tickles your fancy) and get as snug as possible.

7)    Watch Home Alone or Only Fools and Horses with your Dad and marvel in how hilarious he finds it.

8)    Make a Christmas reading list – there’s nothing better than being curled up on the sofa with good company reading a book in front of the fire. (Don’t forget to keep that iPhone switched off!)

9)    Start a new tradition with friends or family. Do you do the same thing every year? Why not do something different and create a new tradition. Always stay in on Boxing Day? Why not venture out for that breath of fresh air and connect with nature.

10) Snuggle up with some comfy woolies – we all love to be cosy and wrapped up, and to cocoon ourselves away from the world. Socks, jumpers, hats and scarves are all the right steps to create ‘hygge’ – cashmere, or cashmere blend if you can – nice and snug. You may never want to leave your homely ‘Christmas cocoon’!