If your winter checklist includes drinking tea in front of the fire, lighting candles, or enjoying the warmth of sunshine on your face, then you’re hip to hygge (pronounced “hoo-guh”), a Danish philosophy grounded in relaxation, indulgence, and gratitude.
Although the word has no direct English translation, “cozy” comes close, and Louisa Thomsen Brits, author of The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection, calls it “a practical way of creating sanctuary in the middle of very real life.” But hygge is more than a lifestyle trend—Danes actually consider it part of the national character and doctors are known for recommending “tea and hygge” for the common cold.
It’s the best excuse we know to stay in, curl up with a warm blanket, and instill some healthy rituals, too. To carve out some cozy in your own life this season, here are six simple ways to welcome hygge into your everyday.
Try a new cuppa
A mug of tea will always be a go-to brew, but heat up your beverage game by incorporating some new additions into the rotation. Here are a few ideas!
Want to relax during the coldest days of the year? Try this cinnamon and ginger spiced tea that offers antioxidants.
This comforting drink is laced with warm spices and filled with healthy fats to give you sustained energy.
Could roasted dandelion root tea actually mimic the flavor of coffee? With the addition of cacao nibs, yes!
Spread your (social) wings
Although hygge can be experienced in solitude, spending quality time with friends and family is just as important. Here’s one of our favorite hygge party ideas: play board games, talk in front of the fire (with a hot beverage; see above), and host an indoor picnic complete with a signature cocktail, card games, and a potluck to share. Before everyone stops by, spray the room with an uplifting mist or turn on a crystal salt lamp.
Food always tastes better when you cook with in-season ingredients, and it tends to be more affordable, too! Even during the coldest months, there are lots of vibrant and satisfying ways to sustain yourself ‘til spring—think citrus, sweet potato, cauliflower, and kale.
Mild yet hearty, cauliflower is the perfect match for bold spices like curry and cinnamon. Roasting it with onions allows the edges to caramelize, bringing out a natural sweetness that's perfectly complemented by raisins and coconut flakes.
Tired of plain salads and steamed veggies? Try this stuffed sweet potato instead. Filled with sautéed greens, topped with sliced avocado, and drizzled with a tahini-turmeric dressing, it's a totally satisfying plant-based main or side.
This salad brings together a medley of bright colors and varied textures that will melt in your mouth. A big bowl of kale is tossed with sweet potatoes, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and dried cranberries, plus a honey-lemon dressing.
Roasting Brussels sprouts in garlic-infused ghee locks in tons of flavor right from the get-go. Once they come out of the oven, add lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and chopped dates—a perfect blend of tart, salty, and sweet.
Swap comfort foods for superfoods
Don’t shy away from your favorite meals, but be mindful of ways you can supercharge the ingredients. Add zucchini noodles (aka “zoodles”) to chicken soup, sip bone broth or hot cacao, and pour a bowl of grain-free granola at breakfast or enjoy an invigorating acai bowl.
Make your kitchen a hygge bakery.
Wholesome eats are welcome year-round, but there’s always room for a little indulgence, too.
When life gives you apples, make a tart! Tarte tatin, to be exact—an upside-down dessert featuring caramelized apples. This French favorite is often made with puff pastry, but we switched up the crust with a mix of nutty granola, gluten-free coconut flour, and sweet maple syrup. It’s the perfect ending for winter dinner parties!
Embrace the hygge spirit with a batch of gluten-free molasses cookies! A trio of warm spices—cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg—will make your kitchen smell irresistible. Although you may be tempted to take a bite before the cookies fully cool, don't! They puff up when baking, then deflate to the perfect, crinkly texture as they rest.
There aren’t many reasons to mess with the classic s’mores flavors of graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows … except when cake is involved. Thanks to a gluten-free baking mix and a few pantry staples, this dessert-in-a-mug can be whipped up in no time and cooked in 1 minute flat. It’ll definitely give you those campfire vibes without leaving your hygge house.
It’s tempting to huddle in front of the fire all winter, but don’t forget to head outside! Grab your coat and walk around the neighborhood, or get away from your desk during your lunch break. And if you think it’s too cold, just remember this Scandinavian outlook: There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.
Give a few of these ideas a try, and you’ll be a hygge expert in no time!