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7 practical tips for creating more hygge in your home

Embrace the winter season with cozy comfort and connection, Denmark-style.

warm lights and candles on a window sill

Hygge is an aesthetic, an atmosphere and an experience all at once.

Some people love everything about winter—the brisk air, the frosty trees, the long evenings. Others loathe the frigid winter months and have to be dragged through them, kicking their fur-lined snow boots all the way.

If you’re one of the latter, I’ve got bad news. Winter happens whether we like it or not—always has and always will. So rather than fight it, perhaps a better approach is to embrace it—or at least the good parts about it. Leaning into indoor warmth and playing up cozy comfort and connection make the dark, cold months much more bearable.

That’s the idea behind the Danish concept of hygge, which encourages slowing down, appreciating the simple things, and creating a warm, inviting haven of comfort in your home. Many of us have become familiar with hygge in recent years, but we may not know how to actually make it happen. There's no one right or wrong way to create hygge, but here are seven practical tips for bringing more of it into your home.


1. Maximize natural light—but also add string lights

string lights in front of a window

When in doubt, add more string lights.

Photo by Shashi Chaturvedula on Unsplash

We get less sunlight in the winter, so during the day, we need to maximize whatever natural light we have. Keep curtains open and keep your windows unobstructed during the day.

Then add more light! Fairy lights/string lights/twinkle lights—whatever you prefer to call them—aren’t just for Christmas and they add so much warmth to a space, even during the day. Drape them around the windows, across the mantle, along the wall or wherever it makes sense to put them. Also, once night hits, opt for lamps instead of overhead lights, which can feel cold and harsh.

2. Introduce soft, plush textures

woman reading under a fluffy blanket

The fluffier and softer the better

Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash

Plush blankets, fur pillows, throws made from sheepskin or cotton—all the things you’d want to cuddle up with add to hygge. Decor elements made out of natural materials like woven baskets, wooden accents, and textured rugs also enhance the warm hygge aesthetic.

3. Bring the outdoors indoors

\u200bPine and pinecone sitting on a table

Bringing in plants doesn't have to be complicated or expensive.

Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash

We bring fresh flowers indoors in spring and summer, but often neglect to think of plants as decor in winter. But bringing the outdoors in with potted plants and boughs of greenery promotes a sense of calm and well-being. Even just some simple pinecones or sprigs of pine can add a lot to the atmosphere.

4. Embrace candles and soothing scents

candles on a table

Candles warm up any space immediately.

Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash

Candles are a hygge essential, adding a warm glow and tranquility to any space. Even battery-operated flameless candles help with hygge if you aren’t able to use real candles in your space. Naturally scented candles or essential oil diffusers in soothing scents like lavender, vanilla or cinnamon can make the hygge experience multi-sensory, enhancing the calming effect.

5. Invite people over for a cozy, casual hangout

four friends laughing and hanging out

Keep company casual.

Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash

Warmth and coziness isn’t just about decor, it’s about well-being, and a hygge atmosphere really shines when you’re connecting with people. So have a get together, but keep it simple. Invite a few friends or family members over for a cup of cocoa. Maybe play a classic board game. Bake cookies together and enjoy them. Or just sit by the fire or the candles and chat. Invite them to come in their jammies if you want. Keep it casual and cozy.

6. Create a hygge corner for yourself

pillows, books and candle on a window seat

Make yourself a cozy personal space all your own.

Photo by allison christine on Unsplash

“Connection” also means connecting with yourself. Designate a specific area of your home as your personal hygge haven. Maybe you create a cozy reading nook, a quiet meditation spot, or a comfy armchair by a window. Fill it with books, artwork or cherished mementos that bring you joy.

7. Indulge in self-care with simple rituals

woman in sweater holding a mug

Cozy up with your favorite cup.

Photo by allison christine on Unsplash

Again, hygge isn’t just an aesthetic; it’s an attitude of embracing simple pleasures. What basic self-care rituals can you add to your daily routine? Maybe a warm cup of tea? Reading by a fireplace? A candlelight bath? Writing in a journal? Focus on self-care activities that promote peace and well-being.

Hygge isn't about accumulating specific possessions or achieving a certain style; it's about purposefully creating an atmosphere that nurtures comfort, contentment and well-being. Winter really is easier to get through when you lean into the season, which means slowing down, comforting all of your senses and giving yourself the gift of cozy, tranquil connection with yourself or with others.

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Mary Katherine Backstrom makes a strong argument for keeping Santa gifts simple.

Every family has its own traditions and ways of doing things around the holidays, from cooking specific foods to engaging in specific cultural rituals to how the myth of Santa gets handled. In general, it's wise to live and let live when it comes to such things, but one mom is making a strong case for rethinking what gifts Santa brings kids for Christmas in the larger context of community.

Mary Katherine Backstrom has been posting a public service announcement of sorts every year for the past decade, asking people to be mindful about other families' economic realities and how a family's Santa gifts can impact other people's children. Her message makes perfect sense, but it's something people who have never struggled financially might never consider.

"My annual PSA from a child who grew up poor," Backstrom captioned her video plea. She began by sharing that her parents separated when she was little, and she lived with her mom, who didn't always have the means to give her kids a lot for Christmas.

"Every Christmas, I would split my time between my mom and my dad," she said, explaining that her dad's side of the family had a lot of money. She would see her cousins getting thousands of dollars in gifts from Santa, while her gifts from Santa at home were far more modest. So she would go from being happy with what she'd received to questioning why Santa didn't think she'd been good enough to receive the expensive gifts he brought her cousins.

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Many people in the comments expressed gratitude for the message, saying that they, too, were the kid who thought Santa didn't like them.

"I was that child too," shared one commenter. "I hated when school started back after Christmas and the teacher would go around the room and ask everyone to tell what they got for Christmas. It was painful and humiliating. I thought I was the only one who hated how Christmas was such a stressful time."

"I remember very clearly my friend that lived next door getting everything on her letter to santa and I didnt understand why santa hated me! I agree 100%!!" offered another.

"100% CORRECT! I was also that child and yes, I wondered if I wasn't a good enough girl to deserve the same things Santa was bringing the other children," wrote another.

Other people shared that they had simply never thought of this aspect of Christmas giving and they were thankful for the widened perspective.

"Thank you for opening my eyes. I wish I had thought about this when I was Santa!!" wrote one commenter.

"I never thought of it like this. It really has opened my eyes and heart... You are so insightful and wise. Thank you," shared another.

"I love your honesty. I never thought about this when my son believed in Santa. I wish I had," wrote another.

Unfortunately, not everyone received the kind and gentle plea with grace and understanding. Some doubled down on their "right" to have Santa bring whatever gifts they darn well please. Backstrom posted a blunt follow-up video pointing out that she was speaking from her own lived experience, not sharing some hypothetical what-if with no basis in reality.

"This PSA is telling you that you are hurting children when you associate Santa Claus with expensive gifts," she said. "I'm not gonna be delicate about this anymore, because I've been doing this PSA for 10 years now and I still get people arguing with me about it. There is nothing to argue here. We are talking about children's feelings."

Backstrom pointed to the number of people in the comments who shared that they were hurt by expensive Santa gifts as a child to illustrate that this is, actually, a real issue. And the solution is simple: Keep Santa simple and let the expensive gifts come from parents or other family members. It's really not a lot to ask to preserve a little holiday magic for kids who don't have much instead of making them question why Santa doesn't think they're good enough. Santa is a tradition millions of people share—let's keep that collective reality in mind and keep the fun in it for everyone.

You can follow Mary Katherine Backstrom for more on Facebook.

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