Learn the best hygge ideas for when it’s cold outside and turn those long winter days into a cozy dream.
Every year when the weather starts to cool down I get both sad and excited. While I miss the long, sunny days, I look forward to cozy nights. But, cold days and nights can get old fast.
I hate scraping car windows and driving on the snow. While first day snow is so pretty, it can get gross fast. I definitely don’t like trudging through muddy, slush or slipping on melted and refrozen snow that’s now ice.
So, what do I do to keep myself in a better mood all those cold months? I hygge. If you have no idea what I’m talking about then just keep reading. You’ll be all caught up by the end of this post and have lots of hygge ideas you can start incorporating today.
This post contains affiliate links. You won’t pay any extra for making a purchase through these links but we earn a commission for purchases made through links. You can read more about it in our full disclosure.
What Is Hygge?
The word Hygge comes from the Danish and it’s a not just a concept but a way of life. Hygge is a cozy state where you feel safe, connected, relaxed, content. It’s living for the moment and enjoying the beauty that surrounds you wherever you are in life.
The Danish have been ranked as some of the happiest in the world so it sounds like we could learn a lot from their way of living. Adding a little hygge to your life is a great way to start.
Now that you know what hygge means, you need to know how to pronounce it. Hoo-gah. Pretty easy once you know.
Creating a warm atmosphere is a big part of hygge but it’s more than that. It’s also all about enjoying the best things in life which can be a bit different for everyone.
For some people that means binge watching murder documentaries in bed. For others it can be snuggling up with a good book. For you it might both.
This list is just to give you some ideas. Don’t take it too seriously. Find some time to figure out what hygge means to you.
Hygge Ideas When It’s Cold Outside
- Bring the Outdoors Inside
I tend to spend less time outside when it’s cold out so it’s nice to bring the outside in. Bundle up and go on a nature walk to see what you can find.
Tree clippings, pinecones, sticks, potted house plants are all ways you can bring nature into your home. You can also include elements of wood in your decor and furniture.
- Decorate with Natural Colors
The fall leaves are gorgeous where I live right now but one windy night threatens to take all that beauty away. So, make sure you bring some of those fall colors into your home.
Natural fall colors add some warmth to your space while neutral colors help bring on a calming effect. Use white and beige colors for the bigger furniture and fall colors for your accent pieces.
Obviously, you can’t change out your furniture just to achieve hygge in the home (not right away, haha) but you can add neutral colors by using slip covers, blankets, pillows, tables clothes and other things like that. Then add pops of color through decor like flowers, vases, holiday decor and more.
- Calm Lights
You know that soft glow you get when it’s dark but you’ve got twinkle lights on? We want that look and feel in our home this season. It gets dark out so much earlier but instead of turning all the lights on in the house which creates a bright, harsh look, we want cozy.
Cozy means low, dim lights. You can get this effect by using candles, lamps, and even twinkle lights in your home. This mood lighting will set give your home the nice, cozy atmosphere you want.
If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace then use it. The flickering light from the flames is the ultimate cozy lighting. Plus, you get the added benefit of warmth as well.
- Seasonal Scents
Fall and Winter have some amazing scents. Have you walked into a craft store recently? They are setting the mood for their Christmas shoppers and the stores smell amazing.
You can easily create that same feeling in your home with some aromatherapy. You can use scented candles, wax warmers, diffusers, or room sprays to make your home smell amazing.
Bring in scents like:
- Pumpkin Spice
- Apple Cider
There are tons of essential oils you can mix and match to create your own blends all fall and winter long. Or stock up on your favorite scents from the store. Either way you’ll love settling in after a long day.
Learn to make your own seasonal room sprays. They’re super simple to create and make great gifts.
- Bring on the Cozy
You can add a lot of cozy to your home through textures. Thick, warm blankets are great to cuddle up under but also add a warm, inviting look to the home.
Your clothing is another way to warm things up and make sure you’re comfy. It’s called sweater weather for a reason. Knit sweaters, leggings, joggers, wool socks, and fluffy slippers will help keep your warm and cozy during these cold months.
Staying warm with blankets and thick clothing can also help keep energy costs down. You won’t have to crank up the heat in your home which is great for your budget and the environment.
- Cozy Mealtime
It’s so easy to cook comfort food when it’s cold outside. Wether it’s roasting veggies, cooking casseroles, or crockpots full of soups, chilis, or stews, winter weather cooking is full of cozy vibes.
It’s also great to gather with friends or family for winter meals. A big pot of chili is easy to share so make sure you stay connected when it’s cold outside. The winter blues are real so make sure you surround yourself with good people.
Our Favorite Warm Weather Dishes
I love to have the oven on in the winter because something delicious always comes out of it and the heat helps warm the house. There are so many things you can bake from fresh breads to holiday treats.
Since it gets dark so early in the winter months, take advantage of more time spent at home by baking treats for yourself, friends, and family. Baking as a family can be a great activity to do when it’s too cold to go outside.
Baking skills not so great? Now’s the perfect time to learn. Check out Katie’s tips and tricks for baking better bread plus here easy French Bread recipe.
- Seasonal Flavors
Bring on pumpkin and peppermint everything. Stores come out with all kinds of crazy and creative ways to bring holiday flavors to the shelves. Find a couple favorites and enjoy them this season.
My family loves eggnog, holiday flavored creamers for our hot cocoa, pumpkin cookies, Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Stars, and White Chocolate covered Oreos that only come out at Christmas. Figure out your family favorites and embrace them year after year.
- Create Togetherness
Holidays are meant to be spent with people. You can spend that time together as a family or with friends by planning some fun activities to do together.
Some activities you can try are:
- Movie nights
- Game nights
- Nature walks
- Reading together
- Go to a local football game
- Backyard bonfires
- Front yard bonfires with neighbors
- Sledding once the snow hits
- Build a snowman or an igloo
- Build a blanket fort inside
Want more ideas? Check out: Fun Family Traditions to Start This Year
Movie nights are a ton of fun but sometimes you need to get away from technology. Make sure you plan lots of activities that will help you unplug.
This is great for kids and adults alike. Make sure you put away those tablets and phones, and turn off the TV and talk to each other. This is also a great time to read or get outside.
- Get Outside
Speaking about going outside, this can be hard to do when it’s cold out but you still need to do it. Everyone needs to connect with nature and breath that fresh air.
Make sure you have great outdoor clothing so you’re properly dressed. Having a warm treat to come home to also helps. Set an appropriate amount of time based on how cold it is and then just go out.
- Explore Your Hometown
A great way to get outside more is to explore your hometown. There are always bound to be holiday activities going on in your city. Ask friends what they like around town or google things to do in your town during the holidays.
We enjoy going downtown to see the holiday decor, checking out a local pumpkin patch, seeing what’s seasonal at the farmer’s market, going iceskating, and looking at Christmas lights. It’s pretty easy to find something to do around town during the holidays so get out there and explore.
- Enjoy a Good Book
Reading is such a hygge thing to do because it’s easy to curl up with a good book. I’ve already mentioned reading together as a family but you can also read on your own of course.
It can be fun to pick a great adventure book to read together as a family and then watch the movie after. Then you can discuss the differences between the book and the movie as a family. You can also have a theme night for dinner and bring in some of the foods that you might find in the book.
Family reading time is great for individual time too. Everyone grabs a book at the same time but heads to their own room to read. Find out what everyone is reading and discuss the books during dinner.
Is everyone enjoying their book? Is it a series? Are you looking forward to reading the next one? Would anyone else in the family enjoy the book? There is so much to discuss when reading books.
Take advantage of your local library. Going to the library can be a fun trip that gets you out of the house.
Also, make sure to set the mood for reading by creating a cozy reading nook. This can be done pretty easily with a couple of comfy chairs or floor pillows, a soft rug, or cozy blanket. Having a hygge home might be hard to do but you can always create a hygge spot in your home.
Trying making more things this winter. More meals at home. More homemade holiday decor. Handmade gifts. Pick up a new hobby.
Making things with your own hands helps build confidence and creates a sense of pride. It’s also fun and takes up time that might otherwise be spent binge watching TV.
Filling your home or giving gifts with more homemade things adds a personal touch that anyone can appreciate. Anyone can be crafty if they just try.
- Boost Your Immune System
Flu season is here. Viruses that cause colds can spread easily in low temps. Boosting your immune system is important and taking care of yourself is definitely hygge.
- Make sure you get enough sleep which is pretty easy when it’s dark out early.
- Eat plenty of plants and less sugar. This one can be a little tricky with lots of treats around durning the holidays. Don’t deny yourself sugary goodies but don’t binge on them either.
- Get moving. Exercise is an important part of staying healthy. Remember to get outside to get that fresh air but also work out inside.
- Hydrate. Make sure to drink enough water. If you struggle to get your daily water in then try some tea during the cold months. Add a little honey to sweeten it up. Add an extra bump to your immune system by drinking a tea with some citrus or ginger in it.
- Wash your hands regularly. I love to make my own germ fighting hand soap. Handmade, uses fall scented essential oils, antibacterial and works great.
- Last, but certainly not least, is to stress less. I know. Holidays and stress tend to go hand in hand so try to simplify more. We’ll get into that hygge tip in a bit.
- Hygge Music
Music is so good for the soul. Create some hygge music lists to fit every mood of the seasons. Our family uses playlist for games nights (Playing Ticket to Ride? Try some Johnny Cash. Harry Potter Munchkin means music from the Harry Potter movies.)
Halloween music while carving pumpkins or doing a halloween craft. Some Indie/Folk for puzzle night. Trans-Siberian Orchestra to put you in the Christmas mood.
Calm music for reading in bed or fun music for cleaning the house. Find what works for you and play it more!
- Go Vintage
Turn to the past to add some simple to your life. This could be anything from watching a black and white classic or not using electricity for the evening.
You can call up grandparents and ask them what traditions they had growing up and try some of those. Use vintage decor to celebrate the holidays or find an old cook book at the library or thrift store and try some recipes from it.
You can learn a lot from the past. Getting back to the basics can create a lot of magical experiences during the holidays.
- Embrace the Simplicity of the Holidays
Keep it simple during the holidays and cut back on the stress. It seems like a lot of people tend to go overboard during the holidays. I’ve definitely fallen into that trap before.
With so many holidays packed into the end of the year, things seem to fly by and we’re left spinning. The solution is to find ways to simplify the holidays you celebrate.
Make sure to ask for help. You don’t need to make the whole Thanksgiving feast on your own. Or buy and wrap every gift yourself. Always get the whole family involved.
Pick a couple of favorite activities to do to celebrate the season this year. Don’t try to fit every activity you’ve ever heard of into one season.
Decorate with decor that can be reused as much as possible. Pumpkins can be used for halloween and stay out for Thanksgiving. Candles can be used the for fall and winter.
When you decorate with outdoor elements they don’t need to be packed away when you’re done with them. They simply go in the compost.
Make your own decor with the family. You get to spend time together and end up with homemade decorations. Think stringing popcorn to put on the Christmas tree or simple clay ornaments.
- Be Thankful
Things tend to get pretty commercial around the holidays so make sure you’re leaving time in your day to be thankful for everything you have. Being grateful can help boost your mood and create a positive feelings and that’s so hygge.
Think back on the good that has happened this year. It’s always fun to remember happy times and look back on everything the year brought. Looking at photos you’ve taken this year can be fun to do as a family and will help you see all the amazing things that you accomplished this year and all you have to be thankful for.
A hygge home is a cozy home you can feel good in. Having clutter everywhere can definitely ruin that.
Just because you’re stuck at home more because of cold weather, doesn’t mean you can’t get things done. Cold weather is a great time to roll up your sleeves and get rid of items you no longer need.
You can get rid of:
- Holiday decor you no longer use
- Clothes your kids have grown out of
- Toys they no longer play with
- Out of style clothing you haven’t worn in years
- Simplify decor so you don’t have a million things sitting on table tops or books shelves
- Use up candles that have been sitting around
- Paper clutter that’s piling up.
Need more decluttering tips? Check out Declutter Faster With These Tips and Tricks and get your house in order.
Hygge is all about creating a relaxing atmosphere and creating a life you don’t have to get away from. Make sure you find ways to relax every day. Don’t wait until you’re too stressed out and ready to blow.
Practice regular self-care. Incorporate it into your daily life until it’s a regular occurrence and you don’t even have to think about it. You can’t take care of everyone else properly until you take care of yourself.
Self-care is different for everyone so find what works for you. If you need some ideas then check out Simple Self Care Ideas You Can Do At Home.
- Simplify Things
Winter is a great time to slow down and take in life more. It’s the perfect time to develop better habits and focus on what you and your family really need.
Practice slowing down and looking at what you may need to cut out of your lives so that you aren’t so stressed all the time and can enjoy each other and life more.
Then when warm weather hits and you’re set to spend more time outside, you’ll have a plan that fits the life you want. Start looking at what brings the most stress into your life and finding ways you can cut back on it.
For example, if you are finding it hard to fit in all the activities that start up again when warm weather hits, then maybe you need to cut back on the amount of activities your family participates in.
Or, now that you’ve been decluttering all winter long, make sure you don’t continue with any bad shopping habits you might have. Stir clear of stores that you tend to over spend at. Use the money saved for a vacation or to fix something up in your house you’ve been wanting to update.
Need a little simple living inspiration? Then check out these simple living quotes that will help you gain a little perspective and hopefully help you slow down and enjoy life a little more.
How to Hygge This Winter
Don’t forget, hygge is all about creating a cozy life you love and this list is just to give you some ideas on how to achieve that. Don’t feel like you have to do everything. It’s not about checking everything off.
Start with a couple of ideas that really speak to you and start creating the hygge life you dream of. If you have any favorite cold wethaer hygge ideas that weren’t mentioned in this post I’d love to hear about them in the comments! Sharing ideas is definitely hygge.