How to have a very Hygge Christmas

What is hygge, and how do we invite some of it into our homes and lives?

By Delna Mistry Anand

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family, hygge and people concept - happy mother, father and little daughter reading book with torch light in kids tent at night at home
family, hygge and people concept - happy mother, father and little daughter reading book with torch light in kids tent at night at home

Published: Tue 21 Dec 2021, 11:13 PM

Just like it’s been for millions of families around the world, Christmas has always been a very special time for us too. My cousins would stay over on Christmas Eve, we’d wake up surprisingly early to warm, loving hugs and gifts under our little tree. Some of us recount our experience of seeing Santa climbing into our Mumbai apartment, tip-toeing through the verandah. Christmas morning was always a beautiful time for stories, laughter, cuddles, delicious food and just spending time with our loved ones. Those memories stay with me till today.

Christmas means different things to different people. But for most of us, it means family time. In today’s scenario, many of us can’t be with our loves ones this holiday season. It isn’t easy being alone, but I like to believe that the magic of the festive season will see all of us through. How, you may ask. Firstly, through Christmas nostalgia. Oh yes, there’s magic in revisiting old photos and memories. Scientists have explored the sepia-toned sentiment of nostalgia, finding that it serves a positive function, improving mood and possibly mental health. It does not cement us in the past but actually raises our spirit, could bring a few laughs and warm your heart.

And something else that is sure to warm your heart is Christmas Hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”)! Hard to explain and even harder to pronounce, the Danish word “hygge” translates roughly to “cosiness,” but ask anyone who knows it, it means so much more than that. It encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being by enjoying life’s simple pleasures, not just during Christmas but any time and any place.

So what is hygge, and how do we invite some of it into our homes and lives?

Hygge has recently grown in popularity and become a lifestyle trend about noticing and appreciating little things: what others have done for you, what you have done for them, the little moments of laughter, a sweet conversation, a home-baked cake by tiny hands. Hygge is simply bringing your awareness to these sweet moments. And Christmas is the perfect time to bring some Hygge into our lives. Whether we’re planning a quiet or busy Christmas, it forces us to stop and savour the moment, smile at the little joys. It is that uninterrupted and wholesome awareness of doing what makes you happy — and doing it often. And the proof is in the pudding — Denmark has been consistently voted as the happiest nation in the world.

So if you’re ready to bring it on, here are some thoughts:

To Hygge is to:

• Stay warm and cozy in soft clothing, soft blankets, cozy cushions and throws

• Eat wholesome, home-cooked, delicious warm meals. Danes honour their culinary traditions by eating and drinking traditional goodies. It is a popular way to slow down the moment

• Light a scented candle

• Declutter your home

• Declutter your mental space

• Make space for what truly matters

• Listen to Christmas carols

• Go out with loved ones, or just snuggle in your living room with your favourite book/Netflix show (I highly recommend Ted Lasso if you haven’t seen it yet)

• Get your favourite photos printed and framed

• Write in your journal

• Read a good book or write a letter

• Wear clothes that spark joy within you

• And for us folks in Dubai, going to the beach on a winter morning or a day cycling at Qudra, trekking in Hatta

What isn’t Hygge:

• Staring at your phone all day is the least Hygge activity as per the Danes

• Rushing through the day without a moment of bliss

• Not making the attempt to connect with friends and family

• Complaining

• Messy home

• Messy mental space

Hygge is all about creating special moments for yourself. So if you are fortunate enough to be with family this holiday season, enjoy it, savour it. And if not, even then, consider spending a few moments to invite Hygge into your life and allow it to spin its magic into your days. Remember that one of the greatest messages of Hygge is that you are never alone. Just start by appreciating simple, little things. And soon you will see that they were never little.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Connect with Delna Mistry Anand across social media @DelnaAnand

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