A Seasonal Guide to Cozy Living: The Danish Tradition of Hygge

Posted in About Stephanie, Family Life, Inspiration
on March 22, 2017
A Seasonal Guide to Living a Cozy, Purposeful Life

Hygge (actually pronouced “Hoo-gah”) is a Danish concept that has completely changed my day-to-day living.  Traditionally, Hygge is described as a way of embracing a cozy life during the cold winter months.  But, today I’d like to share with you a seasonal guide, that will help you “live Hygge” all year-long…

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Living a Cozy, Purposeful Life

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

I wrote a post recently called “A Peaceful Happy Life”, where I discussed 20 different ways to live Hygge this winter, including how to enjoy the outdoors even in the frigid cold of months.  I talked about how my husband and I still enjoy nature walks in the wintertime, and how we embrace the snow and ice.  We’re from Michigan, so we kind of have too.

The concept of “cozy living” doesn’t change from month to month, season to season.  In fact, I think that this Danish way of life can actually be enhanced by the changing seasons.

Here’s some examples of how we enjoy the outdoors all year…

For instance, my husband and I look forward to different festivals and activities all year-long.  We enjoy The Fire & Ice Festival and Snowfest in the colder months, and other festivals like the Lavender Festival, Balloons Over Bravaria, & The Dog Bowl in the warmer months.

Every Sunday night, we go for nature hikes at a local park where they have a nature center, kayaks & paddle boats on the lake, & an enormous playground for the kids.  I look forward to our Sunday Night Dates to the park every week. We are able to talk and/or enjoy the quiet of just being together.

We also invest in a yearly membership to our local zoo.  We enjoy walking around the zoo during all seasons, especially wintertime when it’s less busy and the animals are very active.  But, especially enjoy the Late Nights At The Zoo and concerts in the park.  This would be another great way for your family to enjoy being outside together all year-long.

Can you think of some other creative, affordable ways for your family to enjoy spending time outside together?

Living a Cozy, Purposeful Life

Pamper Yourself

Taking care of yourself is another concept in Hygge Living that is invaluable.  You know what “they” say…you have to take care of yourself so you can take even better care of your family.

“Pampering” could include all sorts of different things, from taking a hot bubble bath in the evening, to a few minutes sitting in the sun, or taking the time to paint your nails.

Try to do more of whatever you find relaxing.

Is your idea of pampering sitting outside in the warm breeze reading a good book?  Or, is it getting a mani/pedi with your girlfriends?

Maybe you like to make homemade bath bombs or sugar scrubs {to enjoy when you do finally get the chance to shower}.  Or, maybe you find a hot foot soak in the evening while watching your favorite TV show to be quite relaxing.

Do more of what makes you feel extra special and well taken care of.

Take the time to pamper yourself.

Start A Gratitude Journal

I’ve been in the midst of starting a new morning routine since I won’t be working midnight shifts at the hospital anymore.  I feel like I’m joining the land of the living again, and going to actually enjoy sleeping in my own bed at night.

Part of my new morning routine is some quiet time in the morning with a cup of coffee, my Bible, & my journal.

I bought a simple journal with the quote “Be Strong, Be Brave, Be You” on the cover…in rose gold too!

I jot down my favorite verses, my bucket lists, my goals and ambitions, some inspirational quotes, and special memories from the day before.

I also keep a list of things, places, & people I’m thankful for.  When you begin to realize all the blessing around you, you will embrace a life of gratitude…which is very Hygge.

Living a Cozy, Purposeful Life...

Host Seasonal Parties

Another principle in Hygge-living is spending time with family and friends.

As we all know, being around the people we love, can be one of the most satisfying things in life.

So, how about hosting a party to show your appreciation for your friends and family?

What do you love to celebrate from year to year?  Maybe it’s Cinco De Mayo, for instance…so you could plan a make your own taco bar party, complete with bright decorations and salsa dancing.

Or, maybe you love Christmastime, so how about hosting a cookie exchange, or a secret Santa brunch with your girlfriends.

I always thought Halloween parties sounded so fun, and this one that Kate from The Small Things Blog hosted for her friends looked amazing.  I love their flapper dresses from the 1920’s, that made her Murder Mystery Party exceptional.

Do you like to host your family for holidays?

We enjoy hosting for various occasions.  We have just recently started hosting Easter Dinner where we decorate Easter eggs and have a Glow-In-The-Dark Easter Egg Hunt.  We also love hosting my family for trick ‘r treating on Halloween, Thanksgiving Dinner, & a mini Christmas Day for the Wilson’s.

We often times bust out the games as well (Pictionary on the Wii U-Draw Tablet & Catch Phrase are our favorites). But, this year we went a little over the top at our Mini Christmas Day celebration with this Jelly Bean Game.  We all were cracking up or throwing up…sometimes both at the same time.  The kids had so much fun watching us adults squirm, and we made a lot of memories.  I still smile when I think of that day.

Maybe you’re hubby’s a whiz at the grill, and backyard BBQ’s are your kind of shindig.  Or, maybe you love celebrating fall so how about inviting your friends over for a pumpkin carving contest?

Whatever you love to do, share it with your family and friends.  Spend time with them, and celebrate the seasons together.  These memories are what will add laughter and love to your cozy life.

Living a Cozy, Purposeful Life...

Enjoy Seasonal Food

What kind of seasonal food do you like to enjoy?  Do you like warm, spicy Mexican food in the wintertime like I do?  Or stick-to-your bones pastas and pies?  How about BBQ in the summertime, along with homemade ice cream and fruit from the farmers market?

Are you obsessed with all things pumpkin in the fall, and race to Starbucks to get your first PSL of the season, or are you more of a Caramel Brûlée latte fan like me?

In the wintertime for instance, I love to enjoy fondue.  It doesn’t matter…chocolate or cheese…it’s all yummy.  I love to eat anything warm and spicy in the colder months too, like my homemade chili or roasted chicken.  Whereas in the summertime, I’m all about BBQ, burgers, & fresh salads.  A trip to the farmer’s market for local goodies is never far from my mind.

What kinds of food does your family enjoy each season?  Do you have signature dishes that accompany your parties and get-togethers?  Does your family look forward to certain dishes from you year after year?

Try to think of new ways to spruce up your kitchen.  Make a list of your favorite dishes that you enjoy making…and then eating.

Keep this list handy for when meal planning seems like a chore.  If you don’t have many staple dishes yet, try a new recipe together, and have the pizza delivery menu on backup just in case.

One of the many families I admire and look up to, hosts a pizza making party in their backyard every summer.  They are Italian, so they have amazing recipes for dough and sauce.  They are so passionate about their pizza, that they even built a brick pizza oven in their backyard.  It is a fun party that everybody looks forward to, and their pizza is absolutely delicious.

How amazing would it be, to celebrate the foods of each season, as much as we celebrate the holidays and other traditions.  Grill pizzas on your grill (or fancy pizza oven if you happen to have one of those lying around). Or how about roasting s’mores in your firepit or fireplace (or could you make this s’mores dip for a slightly less messy experience).

Build memories and experiences around seasonal food.  It’s what the Danes do.  They enjoy their lives and eat good food surrounded by good company and laughter.  Who doesn’t love that concept?

Living a Cozy, Purposeful Life...

Enjoy Seasonal Activities 

I spoke about our Sunday Night Park Dates already, but something that I particularly love about them in the summertime, is the chance to watch the sailboats out on the lake.  Sometimes we sit on a bench and watch the families set out onto the lake.  Watching the white sails off in the distance amongst the sunshine sparkling on the water, is very relaxing to me.

Families bring their bikes to ride.  Here’s the bike I’d love to get soon…isn’t she a beauty? But, for a slightly less expensive option, I would take this cute bicycle in blue or coral with this adorable Bike Basket!

Some families enjoy a quick trip around the lake in a paddle boat, kayak, or canoe.  It’s fun to listen to them giggle and splash in the water. Good old-fashioned fun, am I right?

We usually stop for frozen custard at Erma’s afterwards, and enjoy the beautiful sunsets as we scarf down the flavor of the week.

Spring and Summer Activities vary differently from Fall & Winter for us.

In the spring we love to make a trip up the Mackinac Island to see the tulips and lilacs blooming.  We enjoy watching butterflies emerge from their cocoons and spending time in our garden.  We decorate Easter eggs with our nieces and nephews, and take our mothers out for tea to celebrate Mother’s Day.

The summer is filled with days at the lake, ice cream, & carnivals.  We countdown the days to our first corndog and elephant ear of the season over Memorial Day weekend, and ride the Tilt-A-Whirl until we can barely walk from dizziness.

Summertime to me includes scrumptious BBQ food after long hot days at the zoo; trips to Cedar Point for their epic roller coasters & days at the Drive-Thru Safari with my niece giggling in the backseat as Watusi Cattle & Giraffes poke their heads in our car for a much desired carrot.

I love spending our days at the pool, making s’mores, and watching fireworks during the 4th of July…my favorite summer holiday.  We go to hot air balloon races, and proudly wear brightly colored tutus in The Color Run.

Once upon a time, we loathed summer.  Fall is our absolute favorite season, but we were missing valuable time and opportunities during the warmer months.

So, together we wrote down seasonal bucket lists, which included vacations, festivals, & activities we wanted to experience and enjoy.  It was helped us to embrace each season, and now summertime is almost my favorite time of year.

(To read my summer bucket list, click here!)

Living a Cozy, Purposeful Life

Fall, to us, is the creme de la creme season.  The changing colors, the blanket scarves & riding boots, and the apple cider & donuts, make this my favorite time of year.  That’s probably a huge reason why we chose to have a fall wedding.  (Read about our destination wedding here)

Each year, we visit the Apple Orchard & the Adventure Farm.  We go the pumpkin patch and pick out the perfect one to carve later on.

We take our niece trick ‘r treating, and make Mummy Hot Dogs & Chili.  We visit Yates Cider Mill for our favorite donuts and cider, and walk along the babbling creek to watch the leaves fall.

We host a special fall day for our nieces and nephews where we decorate pumpkins and watch Halloween movies.  And, don’t even get me started on the holidays traditions that follow Halloween.

(For a How To Guide to hosting your 1st Thanksgiving, click here.  And, for Christmas inspiration click here, here, & here!)

Point is, embrace each season and the activities that come with each of them.

What activities do you and your family enjoy doing together?

What are the memories you want your kids to have of their childhood springs, summers, winters, and falls?  Fishing at the lake?  Yearly camping trips?  Apple picking?  Sledding with mom & dad?

Can I encourage you to sit down with your family, and create your Seasonal Bucket Lists?  What traditions do you want to carry on, and how do you plan to enjoy each season of life?

The Danes know how to embrace each season, even what some would consider the worst of them all…winter.  They turn their winter into cozy, wonderful memories.

Why not learn from them, and turn each season into something brilliant for our families?

Living a Cozy, Purposeful Life

Create A Seasonal Capsule Wardrobe

In my last Hygge post, I talk about how the Danish invest in cozy weather-appropriate clothing to help them make the most out of wintertime.  Well, who’s to say we can’t apply that same concept to our year-round wardrobe.

Have you heard of this new-ish trend about building a Capsule Wardrobe?  The basic idea is to invest in staples, like a couple of pairs of pants/shorts and a few nice shirts, and then accessorize the clothes to make a variety of outfits.

Less is more, is the basic take-away.

So, what pieces of clothing would you like to invest in?  Maybe you need a nice jacket for spring, and some rain boots to enjoy puddle splashing in.  Or, maybe you need a nice pair of sandals to accompany your summer wardrobe.

Do you like to wear bright colors in the spring and summer like I do? Or, have you been eyeing a fancy dress that you’d love to have on hand for formal occasions?

The point of a capsule wardrobe is to invest in good quality pieces that bring out your personality and make you feel your most beautiful, and donate whatever you don’t like, want, or need anymore.

The Hygge way of living would suggest you buy articles of clothing that can optimize your quality of life too.

For instance, do you need a good supportive, somewhat comfortable bathing suit that will allow you to feel as confident as possible at the beach in the summer?  Then, go out and find “the one”.

Do you need some cozy sweaters that will keep you warm & comfy as well as stylish as you frolic around the pumpkin patch?  Then, buy your absolute favorites and donate the rest.

What pieces would you love to add to your closet today that you know you need or want for the upcoming season?  Do you wear all of the items in your closet, or is it time to clean our, organize, & donate what’s not being used?

Living a Cozy, Purposeful Life

Plan A Getaway 

Would you love to take you family on a fall vacation to the Smokey Mountains to relish in the beautiful foliage?  How about renting a cabin, and spending a day at Dollywood or playing as many rounds of putt putt golf as you can imagine?

Maybe you’re thinking you’d like to escape to a sandy beach in February when the winter blues have reached their peak, and you need some vitamin D.

Have you always wanted to take your family to a beach house to celebrate the end of summer, and watch the sunset over the ocean while the kids build sand castles in the distance?  Or, maybe you’ve been wanting to spend some quality family time in America’s Chocolate Town?

Part of why the Danish are so happy with their lives, is because they plan “holidays”.

We are often guilty of working ourselves to death, aren’t we?

Do you purposely plan time away from the monotony of everyday life?  Do you take the time to escape with your family and have a new adventure together?

Planning a getaway doesn’t necessarily have to be fancy.  Stay-cations can be amazing too.  After all, it was on a stay-cation when I decided to finally start this blog, hence why I termed that week my “blog-cation”.

Staying at home for a few days, and giving your family your undivided attention is so valuable.  They don’t need the beaches of Hawaii, or Cinderella’s castle gleaming in the distance.  Time together is what matters.

Time to relax.  Time to breathe.  Time to enjoy each other’s company.  That’s what’s important.

What destinations are on your travel bucket list? Do you have a plan in place to make those adventures a reality?  Or, are you more of a stay-cation kinda family?  What new places would you love to explore in your own state?

Living a Cozy, Purposeful Life...

Decorate With Seasonal Decor

In our home as quickly as summer turns to fall, so does our decor.  The warmer palettes of color emerge in comfy blankets and pillows.  The scent of the candles turn from salty sea breezes to cinnamon. My mantle is suddenly filled with gold, orange, and burgandy votives and glass pumpkins.  The change of decor really ushers in the season.

Then, when Thanksgiving has ended, and I pile myself on the couch with another slice of pumpkin pie and the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special on TV, my mind begins racing with Christmas decorations.

The Christmas tree is placed in the corner of our living room, which is quickly filled with the soft glow of Christmas lights.  The scent of pine fills our home, and the stockings dangle in their appointed places above the fireplace.

I love changing the decor and feel of our home to match the seasons and holidays.  How about you?  What pieces would you love to add to your home to up the cozy atmosphere & seasonal spirit?

Enjoy Seasonal Desserts

Another principle in the “living Hygge” movement, is spending time in the kitchen baking and indulging on delectable desserts.

I talk about my love of baking in this post.  I just so happen to find it very relaxing.  And, of course, there’s always some amazing goodies to be devoured in the end.

Do you have a favorite seasonal dessert that you enjoy savoring?

I love frozen custard from our local ice cream shop in the summer, and cinnamon sugar donuts from the cider mill in the fall.

I also love homemade brownies and chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven on a cold day.  There’s nothing sweeter, to me, than being “snowed-in” and baking with my hubby while watching movies or playing games.

So many traditions can be formed around food.  What are your families favorite sweet treats that bring back pleasant memories and promote family time around the kitchen counter?

Living a Cozy, Purposeful Life

Other Principles of Hygge

Some of the cozier elements of living Hygge, can still be applied throughout the year.

Things like “sip something hot” can be changed to “enjoy a nice tall glass of freshly squeezed lemonade” or “savor a cup of warm cider with cinnamon sticks on a brisk fall day”.

Roasting marshmallows, another Hygge tradition that I talk about here, can be applied all year long as well.  Is there anything more summery than s’mores around a bonfire, while watching the fireflies dance around you?

“Playing Board Games” can transition to “fly kites on a beautiful spring day” or “play sand volleyball at the annual family picnic at the park”.

Candle scents turn from warm and cozy, to light and airy.  Reading a good book, can be enjoyed as much outside as inside by the fire, and movie nights can be enjoyed in the backyard on an oversized bed sheet using a projector.

 The lesson we learn in “living Hygge” is to embrace the simple things in life, savor every moment, and make memories that will last a lifetime.  We learn to take care of ourselves and our families in such a way that is traditional and timeless.

To Learn More Information of Living Hygge, check out these books…

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living

The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of the Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge

The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country

Hygge: 25 Secrets From The Danish Art of Happiness, Getting Cozy And Living Well

The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection

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13 Comments

  • Reply Leah Weber

    I was recently introduced to the concept of Hygge and I love it! You have some wonderful ideas as to how to implement Hygge into everyday life, can’t wait to try some of them!

    March 22, 2017 at 7:49 pm
    • Reply Stephanie Wilson

      Thank you, Leah! Glad you enjoyed this post!

      April 3, 2017 at 9:50 pm
  • Reply Jennifer Smith

    Hygge Forever! I love everything about this post! Cozy mean more blankets, lattes, and movies for me!

    March 22, 2017 at 8:55 pm
    • Reply Stephanie Wilson

      Jennifer, we could be besties! Give me a fluffy blanket, a chick flick and a latte and I’m one happy girl! Thanks for stopping by!

      April 3, 2017 at 9:51 pm
  • Reply Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries

    I just discovered hygge and I have to say — it’s a game changer!

    March 23, 2017 at 8:41 am
    • Reply Stephanie Wilson

      I agree, Corey! It really has changed my day to day life. I’m glad you stopped by my blog today!

      April 3, 2017 at 9:51 pm
  • Reply Harmony, Momma To Go

    For me I most need this reminder in the winter which I hate. But it all makes sense … embrace instead of get annoyed!

    March 31, 2017 at 4:39 pm
    • Reply Stephanie Wilson

      Winters can be the worst, right Harmony?! In Michigan, they can be quite long and difficult. I think that’s what intrigued me about the Hygge life. Thanks for stopping by the blog today! Glad you enjoyed this post!

      April 3, 2017 at 9:53 pm
  • Reply Michelle

    Beautiful, my dear! Embracing the seasons, and what they have to offer instead of focusing on the drawbacks, is a wonderful concept! I need to put the principle to use in my life, for sure!

    April 1, 2017 at 9:17 am
    • Reply Stephanie Wilson

      Thank you so much, Michelle! So glad you like this post!

      April 3, 2017 at 9:53 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    Wonderful ideas! I love being cozy 🙂

    April 3, 2017 at 1:35 pm
    • Reply Stephanie Wilson

      Ditto, Sarah! Cozy for life! 🙂

      April 3, 2017 at 9:54 pm
  • Reply Firdaus Ysf

    Brilliant post!I would love to relax and chill. In need of breaks from my work =(

    April 4, 2017 at 7:19 am
  • Leave a Reply

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