HYGGE at Christmas
The Danes are regulary crowned the World’s happiest nation. Could it be because they embrace HYGGE? The concept is said to make homes nicer and people happier. At this time of year HYGGE really comes into it’s own. When the dark nights draw in and the cold weather arrives Don’t despair, follow our tips for a HYGGE Winter and Christmas.
Danes seek solace in candlelight and conversation. And the lower the lighting, the greater the hygge.
You’ll need candles and tealights a plenty to create the requisite soft glow without banging into the furniture.
A yellow/orange tinge warm light creates the perfect hygge atmosphere for most Danes. A survey for Meik Wiking’s The Little Book Of Hygge found 31 per cent of Danes light more than five candles at a time.
Start the open fire
The warm crackling of an open fire is the very essence of hygge and so crucial to the Scandinavians that a book about wood-chopping was last year’s non-fiction book of the year.
Lars Mytting’s Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking And Drying Wood The Scandinavian Way sold 300,000 copies.
But if you don’t live in a manor house, recreate the flame effect on your television with Fireplace for your home: A DVD for your TV, complete with crackling logs and realistic flame effect.
A gnome in every home
A nisseman is a traditional Christmas decoration in any Danish household. The Danish ‘nisseman’ is one of the most familiar creatures in Scandinavian folklore.
In the English versions of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, nisse is translated as ‘goblin’, but with their long white beards and conical hats they look more like garden gnomes.
Traditionally they protect houses from evil and misfortune. But beware – if insulted, they can play tricks and steal, so embrace it as a useful tool to remind any errant child to behave ahead of Christmas morning.
Get your Christmas jumper on
Those familiar with Danish crime drama The Killing will recognise the value of a good chunky knit – after all, the lead character, detective Sarah Lund, was never to be seen without hers. Chosen by actress Sofie Grabol, the jumper was all about hygge – and ‘a sign of believing in togetherness’. Who knew?
Create your own familial atmosphere with a festive sweater.
Hygge up your festive decorations. While nostalgia and home-crafting is considered very hygge, so is making new happy memories, so gather the family round the kitchen table for a frenzy of glitter glue and pom-poms – and laugh off the inevitable mess whilst you make your own decorations. It’s hygge, remember?
Gingerbread Man Sewing Decoration Kits for Children to Make Decorate and Hang on Xmas Tree by Baker Ross
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
Rain lashing at the windows, a howling gale – as long as you’re inside and not waiting at the bus stop without a coat, it’s the definition of hygge.
The most hygge feeling, for me, is when I hear the elements raging outside, but I can shut them out and light the fire for heat and light for me and my family.’
If you’re not in the Outer Hebrides, download Winter Storm Sounds from Amazon music.
Your feet will need to be warm for all that dancing around the Christmas tree, so invest in some hyggeligt socks. Preferably fair isle design.
Loosen those belt buckles
Christmas is all about comfort food – especially in Denmark. The national dish is frikadeller – pork and veal meatballs which are pan-fried flat.
For a truly Danish hygge Christmas, serve slow-roasted pork, duck or goose with caramel-drizzled potatoes and stewed red cabbage. And no more figgy pud – the Danes love an almond and rice pudding (risalamande) with cherry sauce.
Serve with craft beers and you’ll still be snoozing well before the end of the day.
For culinary inspiration, Trine Hahnemann’s Scandinavian Christmas will set you on your way.
Lashings of hot grogg
Glogg (pronounced glurrg) is the Danish version of mulled wine, and known as ‘liquid hygge’ thanks to its wonderfully (alcoholic) relaxing properties. Since it’s hygge, have as much as you like!
Make it yourself by throwing a bottle of red wine, orange rind, cinnamon sticks, raisins, almonds, cardamom seeds, cloves and honey into a pan and boil for 30 minutes. Then add a good glug of port or brandy.
For even less effort, use a gloggmix. Cheers!