Entertaining, Food, Joyful Living

Come at Me, Winter: It’s Hygge Time


It’s officially autumn. The leaves changing colors. I got out my thick socks from Vermont, my cuddly blanket from Germany, and my hot chocolate mug. (What, you don’t have a dedicated hot chocolate mug? Mais pourquoi?)

In This Post

  • Sliding into Winter
  • Embracing Winter Even Though It’s the Worst
  • How to Hygge

Sliding into Winter

This time of year always has me hankering to decorate, bake, make chili, and wrap gifts. But while autumn is a festive time – with the promise of other winter holidays around the corner for those who celebrate – it is also a portent of the gray, cold, windy winter to come (at least in the Midwest of the United States).

And so I go into full-frontal Seasonal Affective Disorder Avoidance Mode. The goal: make the house feel extra cozy and cuddly and take pleasure in simple things to ward off the seasonal blues. I will not be sad, cold, and tired in my own house this winter!

Embracing Winter Even Though It’s the Worst

One way to keep things from feeling too bleak is to embrace hygge, the Danish concept of warm and cozy togetherness. I’ve written about hygge before because, simply put, it’s awesome. The Danes are experts are warding off the winter doldrums with candles, thick socks, cookies, roaring fires, and quiet nights with good food and friends and family.

Many other Northern European countries embrace their own version of hygge. Winter nights can be gemütlich in Germany (and you can plan a Brotzeit for dinner) or gezellig in the Netherlands. Le shout out to my good friends Christiane and Winnie!

Tellingly, the English language has no hygge equivalent. We Americans are too busy making and attacking our to-do lists (le sigh).

How to Hygge

After reading The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking a couple of times, I started incorporating some hygge elements into our home during the winter and making some fun new snacks. Getting cozy and relaxing at home is a great way to reflect on the past year and look forward to that ahead.

Last year, I planned and hosted a hygge night for my vaccinated VIPs. (No mouth-breathing germ hatches during my pandemic pregnancy, merci beaucoup.) Together with Le Chien, we got cozy by the fire and nibbled away.

Oui, I am shamelessly reposting old pictures. I have a five-month-old bébé and needs must (le wink). Read on for a scrapbook of my hyggeligt night last winter and some tips to plan your very own!

To start: a small hygge display, including a custom menu of Danish treats for the evening’s eats.

For a hygge table, incorporate candles and natural elements like wood and leaves. I added small pumpkins and gourds in various colors to a casual centerpiece and filled it in with miniature pinecones harvested from my old yard in Vermont.

And for the drinks: mulled apple cider with ingredient from the Common Ground Coop in Urbana, Illinois. Drunk, naturellement, from heavy pottery mugs decorated with evergreen trees and snowflakes.

For the main event: a traditional spread of Danish smørrebrød, little open-face sandwiches built atop dark rye bread.

We had a spread of meats like ham and roast beef; Danish havarti cheese and cream cheese; condiments like butter, mustard, and horseradish; pickled beets; and gherkins.

And last but not least: a dessert bar! Danes love gummy candies and butter cookies, and we threw in some Linzer cookies for good measure.

How will you plan your own cozy hygge party?

Merci for reading and please subscribe and share!

À votre santé,


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