Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian lifestyle concept that translates loosely into “hug.” Hygge has become very popular in the last few years with books and magazines dedicated to helping us bring this way of living into our daily lives. Most associated with the cold, dark winter months, Hygge promotes coziness, wellness, contentment, the warmth of friendship, and simplicity in food and decorative surroundings. Think candlelight, blankets, and steaming mugs of coffee and cinnamon pastries shared with friends around a table.
Winter hygge can be practiced alone – imagine sitting in an oversized chair, curled up in a chenille blanket with your favorite book in hand, seeing the snow fall gently outside your window as you light a candle on the end table. But most often than not, the hygge encourages interacting with friends; think sitting around a fireplace, drinking hot mulled cider, while playing board games with your friends. It’s this human interaction that helps get one through the cold, lonely winter months.
I love to hygge in the winter but I also want to bring it into my life in the summer. Can it be done? Absolutely! Here’s how you incorporate hygge into the warm and light-filled days of summer:
✿ Switch your fire source
Move from gathering with friends and family around the fireplace inside your home to an outdoor fire pit. Even on the hottest of days, the evenings are cool enough to comfortably enjoy sitting around a fire pit. Laugh, talk, tell stories, make s’mores. Even consider buying some “magical” powders to change the color of the flame: potassium chloride for purple flames, copper chloride for blue flames, and lithium chloride for pink flames.
✿ Turn off the oven
Going in the complete opposite direction of winter hygge, try not to use your oven for cooking and baking. Look up no-bake dessert recipes to serve your visitors – from icebox cake, to key lime cream pie, strawberry pie, and crunchy candy clusters.
✿ Host casual, outdoor gatherings
Continue to invite the company friends and family but move the gathering outdoors and make it casual. Think dinner under the stars either at an outdoor table or on a blanket. Create an outdoor movie theater with a projector and a white sheet – and bring the popcorn.
✿ Relax outside
Move your alone time from your indoor cozy chair to a macramé hammock or under a tree, on the beach, or sitting in a garden (yours or a public one).
✿ Bring in the light
Change out your décor and use lighter colors. This can be done inexpensively with just a few strategically placed objects that you find at a thrift shop or discount home decorating store. Develop a system of seasonally recycling what you already own – go “shopping” in the storage in your own home. Bring in the whites, creams, beiges, with touches of pastels. Look to nature for inspiration. And don’t forget the walls! Replace pictures of snowy woods, fallen leaves, and winterscapes with images of the lake, sea, or summer birds.
✿ Spruce up your home decor
Change out your linens, fabrics, pillows, and rugs. Replace your flannel sheets with cotton ones. Remove your heavy down comforter for a cotton bedspread. Use lighter throw blankets. Change out your dark-colored throw pillows for lighter ones. Replace the velvets with cotton. Consider rolling up that heavy wool rug and replacing it with rugs that are made of natural fibers. Again, this can be done inexpensively by shopping at discount stores both online and at brick and mortar stores.
✿ Eat lighter foods
Replace stews, roasts, and hot soups with quiches, salads, and cold soups. And eat your veggies and fruit – lots of them as this is the time that they are in abundance.
✿ Change your light source
Replace your candles with fairy lights – or better still, go outside in the evening and watch the fireflies dance around the garden.
✿ Spend more time outside
Live outdoors as much as possible. And let the outdoors in by opening your windows as much as possible.
I hope you fill your world with summer days with hygge. Continue to enjoy its benefits of simplicity, friendship, and nourishing company and food in the dog days of summer. Blessed be!
Anne Greco is a non-fiction writer who writes about her life experiences and travels with humor, keen observations, and the hope that her words will remind us that “we’re all just walking each other home.” Her book, Serendipity: Chance Pilgrimages, tells the story of Anne encountering her places of power. As she reconnects with herself at each site, Anne also develops a deeper understanding and appreciation of her connection to both the seen and unseen worlds. Learn more about her work here: http://annegrecowriter.com.