Creative Child

Hygge through the Holidays

by Rebecca Eanes

Would you like a cozier, happier holiday season in 2017? I think it would be a much needed ending to what could surely be described as a crazy year here in America. “Hustle and bustle” is the American way of holidays, but what if we looked to our happy friends in Denmark (the happiest country in the world in 2016 and second happiest in 2017 while the U.S. was ranked 13th and 14th respectively) to learn a fresh way to do the holidays?

I spoke with my friend and author of The Danish Way of Parenting, Jessica Joelle Alexander, to discuss the popular Danish tradition of hygge and how it relates to the holiday season. Here are 5 very “hygglige” ideas to transform this usual stressful time into a satisfying, peaceful experience.

  1. Visit a tree farm and cut down your tree – as a family! Alexander tells me that Danes are very into real and natural products and that plastic is seen as quite an American thing. She says, “Many families go to literally chop it down together from a farm! Some families grow it themselves each year and chop it down together. This is a team effort to chop it down. Otherwise they buy it from a market. It is extremely rare to have a plastic tree.” 

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I can see how this annual tradition can add to the feel of togetherness and joy. Any time we honor a family tradition, we strengthen the family unit and connect heart to heart. If you prefer plastic trees, no problem! You can still create a hygglige tradition by putting on Christmas music, baking cookies, and decorating it together. 

  1. Light a candle. Alexander says, “There are a lot of candles happening at Christmas everywhere from morning to night. This is really the quintessential look and feel of hygge at Christmas. They are literally burning them at all times of day in houses and cafes. Most families have a calendar candle or a big candle that burns down all day for one day and is measured on the side. The candle is typically blown out at breakfast by one of the kids to symbolize one day has passed closer to Christmas. This is really cozy.”

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