Beat the win­ter blahs — how to en­ter­tain hygge style

Im­bue a sense of to­geth­er­ness by cre­at­ing a re­laxed, cosy at­mos­phere

StarMetro Calgary - - DAILY LIFE - De­bra Nor­ton

It’s Jan­uary, it’s cold, and a big warm blan­ket and Net­flix may be your idea of get­ting through win­ter. But con­nect­ing with peo­ple, in real life, might be one of the most im­por­tant acts of self-care you can do for your­self and your hap­pi­ness.

Den­mark has con­sis­tently ranked as one of the hap­pi­est coun­tries in the world, and what may set it apart from other coun­tries who rank high on the hap­pi­ness scale, in­clud­ing Canada, is hygge. Hygge (pro­nounced hoo-gah) is a Dan­ish term that loosely trans­lates as a feel­ing of com­fort, con­tent­ment, and cosi­ness achieved through gath­er­ings with friends or fam­ily, in a warm and invit­ing at­mos­phere, and the Danes are ex­perts at it.

Meik Wik­ing, au­thor of The Lit­tle Book of Hygge: The Dan­ish Way to Live Well and CEO of the Hap­pi­ness Re­search In­sti­tute in Copen­hagen, says that spend­ing time with oth­ers is a key part of hygge. In his best­selling book, Wik­ing ex­plains that while you can hygge by your­self it’s also about to­geth­er­ness. “Time spent with oth­ers cre­ates an at­mos­phere that is warm, re­laxed, friendly, down-to-earth, close, com­fort­able, snug and wel­com­ing. In many ways, it is like a good hug — but with­out the phys­i­cal con­tact.”

Ana Diez, an en­tre­pre­neur, and her hus­band Jeff Dou­glas, who co-hosts the pop­u­lar CBC ra­dio show As It Hap­pens, have been en­ter­tain­ing in their own hygge style for the past few win­ters. It started with a group of friends they reg­u­larly met after church for drinks at a lo­cal pub and found it was get­ting ex­pen­sive. So, in­stead they de­cided to gather at their home lo­cated in Toronto’s west-end.

“It’s al­ways very low-key. Quiet con­ver­sa­tion, si­lence, the fire­place chan­nel, red wine is favoured and a lot of blan­kets … it’s restora­tive, sit­ting around with peo­ple we are com­fort­able with, very re­laxed,” Dou­glas says. “Right,” says Diez, “It’s win­ter and it’s long and you are look­ing for things to do to break up the monotony.” Mir­rored Block Throws are the per­fect ad­di­tion to a hygge hang­out, drape your­self in com­fort as you kick back and re­lax. Throw in a few Casa Cu­bista Cross­hatch Bowls to mix up the pat­terns on your ta­ble, it’s all about what makes you happy.

The cou­ple’s ap­proach to hygge en­ter­tain­ing is to take the stress out of hav­ing peo­ple over by keep­ing the fo­cus on just be­ing to­gether. They say it’s about im­promptu, re­laxed en­ter­tain­ing. For them, that means not wor­ry­ing about hav­ing their house in per­fect or­der, us­ing what’s in the fridge or pantry. Ev­ery­one con­trib­utes, but the agree­ment is to just bring what they have. The re­sult, they say, is a feel­ing of re­lax­ation and con­nec­tion that makes them feel good.

“Peo­ple will show up with half a bot­tle of wine or half a ro­tis­serie chicken,” says Dou­glas. “For us, our ver­sion of hygge, the comfy fac­tor of hygge, was who was there. You are com­fort­able with them and there is no pre­tense … it’s about be­ing to­gether. The spirit of hygge is not in prepa­ra­tion but in the spon­tane­ity.”

En­ter­tain­ing hygge style is a re­laxed and low stress ap­proach to spend­ing time with peo­ple. So why not host your own hygge style din­ner party?

In­vite your friends over and fol­low these tips to host a cosy, re­laxed evening.


Fill this p’sifik col­balt mug with some­thing cosy and warm to sip on as you slow down and en­joy a hygge hang­out with friends. Beeswax pil­lar can­dles are a great way to warm up your space with the glow of a real can­dle. Cre­at­ing a per­fect cosy at­mos­phere.

Smaller groups of peo­ple make en­ter­tain­ing sim­pler. Try invit­ing just a few friends over, per­haps three or four to keep the cir­cle small.


Whether your style is a very in­for­mal, potluck style in­vi­ta­tion to bring what you have in the fridge or some­thing a lit­tle more planned but sim­ple — such as a bowl of chili, mac and cheese or a hearty soup — you’ll want to let your guests know what to ex­pect. Re­mind guests to dress com­fort­ably.


Light­ing is key — limit stark over­head light­ing and fo­cus on mood light­ing. Warm up your space with dimmable lights or hang string lights across the room. The warm glow of real can­dles is es­sen­tial for op­ti­mal hygge. Fill glass jars with tealights,

group pil­lar can­dles to­gether on a tray, as a ta­ble cen­tre­piece. Try wax LED can­dles in win­dows and ar­eas where they won’t be su­per­vised to keep it safe. Cre­ate com­fort and warmth — have a bas­ket of cosy blan­kets for guests to curl up with and a few pil­lows to make it com­fort­able to sit on the floor. Use soft, cot­ton, easy wash dish tow­els as nap­kins. Pa­per might be tempt­ing but it doesn’t feel good to the touch and be­sides, it’s not very ecofriendly. If you have time, go for a walk to for­age for some­thing green to dec­o­rate the ta­ble.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.