Last year the world seemed to go mad for hygge (hue-gah), that Danish concept of cosy times together, but I passed the word into my professional pile rather than anything that I thought I could adapt personally, due to living with two of the bounciest children that have ever lived, who only stop when they finally fall asleep.
That was until Francesca from Diddle Tinkers asked me to write about hygge and how it can be applied to life with kids…. After I stopped laughing I suggested that I would plan a hygge afternoon with the family and then report back on how it went. (this is a slightly shorter re-release of the full article which you can find here on the Diddle Tinker website)
I did some further research into hygge, and this is what I learnt:
Think of it like mindfulness, but rather than alone, be together – ‘we-fullness’ if you like!
Hygge can be a fixed amount of time
No phones, TV or other screens during hygge time
No discussions of stressful or possible opinionated things like work or politics (this also includes family logistics which I was up for!)
If you like discussing politics etc then you’ll need to do that at another time!
No-one should take centre stage or be boastful, it’s an inclusive time.
Hygge time could come across as exclusive rather than inclusive especially if you’re a visitor; it could feel rather cliquey.
The Danes eat a lot of cake, sweets and bacon; all these things are Hygge!
A hyggekrog is a cosy place in the home that is perfect for Hygge.
Hygge is best with candles, comfy clothes, warmth and good things to eat.
So how to translate all of that into a British family time?! After chatting things through with the hubby, I talked to the kids about it. They got really excited by the concept, and once they’d finished stomping round shouting, “hoo gah” like some kind of rugby war cry, we discussed what we could do together. We’d decided that cooking a meal all together and playing some games would be a good plan and the kids agreed, adding that they thought pancakes would be the perfect ‘meal’.
On the day, my son and hubby went to the shop to buy some goodies while my daughter and I fixed up our hyggekrog. We choose our big squishy sofa in front of the window in the front room, covered it with a warm throw, piled on the cushions and placed candles along the window sill. When the time came we put our phones away, lit the candles and cuddled up in the hyggekrog together.
And it did feel very nice! A bit like that feeling late on Christmas day when all the excitement is over and you can finally relax. One thing to bear in mind about hygge is that while it is a good balance to the busyness of the day, without the busyness you wouldn’t appreciate the hygge.
My husband and I chatted about it after and we agreed that we created a cosy atmosphere that meant we all relaxed. In order to make it a real family tradition I think it would need to be done at least weekly, it felt like practise would be required to get it feeling easy, makes me envious of the Danes who are brought up with it.
Have you tried it yet? What happened? Did you do anything different? I’d love to hear!
*One note on the candles and kids….mine were completely fascinated by them and we had regular bursts of ‘happy birthday to you…’ I would suggest lighting one at a different time and letting them get used to it and forming your own family rules around them.