Have the winter winds already begun to blow? If so, you might wonder how folks in even colder climates survive the winter with good cheer.
Many people who live north of the equator survive the cold season by embracing hygge. What’s that? This term refers to creating a cozy atmosphere and enjoying the best things in life with the people you love: scary stories around the fire, toasted chestnuts, candlelit evenings accompanied by hot chocolate and herbal tea.
How can you incorporate these principles into your lifestyle and decor to survive the snowy season? This is how you can create the coziest home this winter.
The words “cozy” and “cluttered” are not synonymous. Spending time in an untidy home stresses you — the opposite of what you want. Too much stuff overwhelms your visual field, making you feel like you’re gazing at an endless to-do list.
Take a room-by-room approach to decluttering, evaluating what you need to make more space for items that spark joy, eliminating those that do not. When you clear away things that do nothing but make more work for you (all that dusting!), you instantly feel lighter. Ask yourself these questions when deciding what to keep or donate:
- When was the last time I used/wore this? If it hasn’t seen the outside of your closet or cabinet in over a year, put it on the donate or sell pile unless it has sentimental value — like your wedding dress.
- What’s the replacement cost? You can’t put a price tag on memorabilia. However, is it really impossible to replace that $19.99 sweater if you regret giving it away?
- Does someone I know need this more? If you can’t stand to part with a little-used item, is there someone else in your life who could benefit from it more often? That way, it’s still in the family.
You don’t need movies with blue light filters to know that winter is dark and cold. However, you need sunlight to feel cheerful. Many researchers link seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression, to lower natural light levels in winter.
Take down your heavy curtains. If you’re using them to block drafts, get out the caulk gun instead or evaluate if it’s time for window replacement.
Instead, replace blackout models with gauzy numbers, or, better yet, a one-way film that offers you an unfettered view of the outdoors while showing peeping toms nothing but their reflection. This stuff has the added benefit of protecting your floors and furnishings from UV radiation — it can even prevent one-sided skin damage if you habitually sit by the same window.
Hygge is more than a decor style — it’s a mindset. Everything that touches your senses affects your mood and outlook, so include sound, scent and taste when creating a cozy home atmosphere this winter.
Aromatherapy misters do double duty. They perfume your abode while adding moisture to the air. If your nose often bleeds from dry indoor conditions over the winter, these devices can be lifesavers. Plus, some fragrances, like eucalyptus, may boost your immune function thanks to messages your scent receptors send to your brain.
Scented candles are dreamy, but paraffin can release toxins like formaldehyde, made worse in winter by enclosed indoor conditions. Instead, stick to soy or beeswax.
If you have a fireplace, the sound of wood crackling creates a melodic ambiance. Why not throw on some soothing jazz if your home lacks one? YouTube is a glorious resource of videos featuring relaxing winter scenes — put your smart TV to use. The final touch? Scatter a few candy bowls and jars of covered snacks to invite noshing, earning bonus points if you provide homemade treats.
Winter winds can chill your bones, but you don’t want a sky-high heating bill from running the furnace nonstop. Plus, doing so isn’t good for the planet. You might be too young to remember President Jimmy Carter’s fireside chats but can still benefit from his advice.
Blanket your home in indulgent throws and pillows to invite behaviors like afternoon naps and curling up on the couch with a juicy novel. Why not hang a spare cardigan or two as well to keep your arms warm while you read?
Hygge invites nostalgia. Remember the best parts of your winters of yesteryear by displaying your prized keepsakes for incoming holiday guests to admire.
Spend a quiet snowy afternoon assembling a scrapbook for your coffee table or designing a picture wall featuring shadow boxes of holidays past. Dig out those homemade ornaments your kids made when they were five and use them to decorate your mantel.
Is there anything better than coming in from the cold to a cup of warm cocoa and homemade cookies? These treats warm your soul and make your house smell heavenly. Try these recipes:
- 4 cups milk
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Blend all ingredients in a small saucepan. Whisk until the chocolate melts, and serve warm.
- ½ cup softened butter
- 3 cups powdered sugar, divided
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat for 30 seconds. Add flour and beat at a low speed until fully blended.
Preheat oven to 375. Roll the dough, cut it with cookie cutters and bake in batches for eight to ten minutes until brown.
People in cold climates survive winter by embracing hygge. You can do the same.
Now you know how you can create the coziest home this winter. Enjoy a happy hibernation until spring.
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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