April is the cruelest of months. You think it’s spring, it almost is. And them bam! Another blast of frigid weather. This month I’m totally crushing on The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well. It’s all about how to enjoy these months of crap weather and take pleasure in the simple things. Think cocoa by candlelight. April may not be full on spring (at least where I live), which makes it an ideal time to prep for next winter.
I know, I know. The last thing you want to think about is more winter, but hear me out. All the cosy winter stuff is on sale now. (More on that later). Also April is month that could use a project. Trust me, your future self will thank you.
What is Hygge and why do you need a box for it?
There are, like, dozens of definitions of hygge. I go with: creating a cozy atmosphere. A large minimalist home isn’t very hygge, but a rustic cabin is. Hygge isn’t fancy, complicated or expensive. It’s about fostering togetherness and slowing down enough to relish the moment.
The box is simply a collection of items that can help enhance a comfy, snug as a bug atmosphere. Mine isn’t even a box, it’s a canvas shopping bag, albeit a very pretty one. The idea is similar to the Feel Good Box I made with my daughter. We take that box down whenever one of us has had a bad day. With the hygge box, you can dig into next year, say after Christmas.
Think about it. January has got to be the worst month of the year. The holidays are long gone. The days are dark and dreary. You need something to cheer you up. Enter the hygge box.
What to put in your hygge box?
- Candles and lots of them. Soft lighting is essential to creating atmosphere. In a pinch you could use your dimmer switch.
- Thick blankets. Admittedly hard to cram inside a box, but who says your hygge box can’t be a suitcase?
- Bed sox. You can’t be truly cozy with cold feet. Indigo has their fleece lined reading sox on sale now!
- Bath bombs oils or salts. I like LUSH for their bombs and load up on Kneipp products whenever I find them.
- Really awesome magazines. I’m partial to U.K. mags. They’re twice the price, but are much thicker, so they last longer, plus the novelty factor makes them more fun to read.
- Warm drinks. Right now fancy hot chocolate is on sale at Williams-Sonoma. Alternatively, pick up some fine tea or stash a few of those tiny airplane bottles of liqueur. Don’t squirrel away coffee though – it should always be fresh.
- A recipe for a decadent dessert to make when the time is right. These chocolate chip cookies are stupidly expensive, but they are simply the best.
- Board games and a deck of cards. Sometimes we need these little reminders that it’s the simple things that can bring great pleasure
- A few quality bars of chocolate, just in case.
- A journal, some notepaper and a fancy pen. You just might rediscover the lost art of letter writing.
- A scrapbook or old photo album to rekindle memories.
- A good book. Why not pick one of your favourites from when you were a child?
How to hygge
Now that your box is made, don’t open it until next winter. You can keep adding things as you come upon them, but try not to sneak a peek. It’s so much fun to open the box, especially after you’ve forgotten what you put in there. What else should you do to get into a hygge frame of mind?
- Turn off all devices (at least for a little while).
- Make yourself a warm drink. It doesn’t need to be boozy, that’s up to you.
- Go outside and get really cold and wet. (I made this part up!) Still, I think it’s worth doing, if only so you can appreciate how fantastic it feels to get warm again.
- Get warm. Ideally by a fire or take a soothing bath. Here’s how.
- Cue up a movie. Watch it someplace different. Build a fort on the floor with pillows and blankets. I did this one winter in Japan and spent a happy weekend enveloped by futons and comforters while a storm raged outside
- Put something simmering on the stove. Do it with your housemates. Everyone can contribute a little bit. Think braised meats, zesty chili or a rich pasta sauce that takes hours to develop the flavour. Baking also works.
- Enjoy the moment with people you adore. The book recommendations you close your eyes and think of a happy moment. That memory probably includes people. Who would like to spend more quality time with?
- Break out the board games.
- Pamper your skin. Treat yourself to a pedicure or some great smelling night cream. My current fave is the hand whipped watermelon mask from Edmonton’s Pura Botanicals. These winter masks can also help you get started in the right direction.
And now we all have something to look forward to next January, don’t we?
Do you ever squirrel away things to be enjoyed at a later date?