Perched on the edge of the Arctic circle, Scandinavian countries endure months of seemingly endless winter each and every year. However, an ingrained appreciation of life’s simple pleasures means that their populations are consistently ranked among the happiest in the world, even in the midst of these bleak and bitter winters. Here’s our guide on how to channel this sense of contentment to have a very Scandi Christmas.
Of course, the concept of hygge is nothing new – the enduring popularity of this Danish mindset demonstrates the appeal of the serenity that it promises. And yet this seems to be a feeling that escapes us each December, as we get tied up in the trappings of Christmas and become ever more stressed. This year, why not take some tips from the Scandi lifestyle to make your Christmas a time of comfort and calm?
Less is more when it comes to Nordic decor. This may feel counterintuitive at Christmas time, but a few cleverly placed decorations will make your home feel more serene than a festive overload. Mix and match natural materials for a curated aesthetic; untreated wood, glass, and metal look great on the boughs of a fir tree.
Scandinavian fare tends to be simply flavoured and lovingly prepared – imagine a table laden with delicately cured salmon on homemade bread, or warm fruit pastries sitting alongside cakes spiced with cinnamon and cardamom. However, the true essence of Scandi living is to treat yourself to your favourite food, whatever that may be, so don’t deny yourself that extra mince pie.
The Danish burn more candles per household than any other nationality – perhaps this is part of the reason they’re also the happiest country in the world. There’s something about a warm, flickering glow that is inherently hyggelig – the cosiness of staying inside when it’s raining outside, reading your favourite book by candlelight.
As the weather gets colder, the instinct to bunker down and snuggle up is hard to deny. Cushions, blankets, and throws all create a cosy atmosphere that can be a welcome haven in the harsh winter months. Layer up rich textures and soft knits, and nestle in.
Hygge is all about balance, so while it’s lovely to stay indoors in colder months, enjoying a leisurely walk with friends, family, or just the dog, is part of the joys of winter. So bundle up in your warmest jacket, grab a cosy knitted scarf, and step out into the snow – you’ll return feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Christmas is the time to be with your nearest and dearest, so make sure to fill your calendar with quality time. Why not invite your friends around for an intimate dinner party – perhaps on Christmas Eve, as the Danish do? Deck your dining room with candles, fresh winter flowers, and a Scandinavian Christmas tablecloth, and your beautiful table setting will be the focus of conversation. Check out our festive entertaining tips for more ideas.
SWITCH OFF SCREENS
There’s an important distinction to be made here: nestling by the fire to watch your favourite festive film is a great way to spend an evening, but scrolling endlessly through Instagram looking at other people’s present hauls is far from the spirit of Scandi living. Take some time to switch off from social media and your phone – you’ll feel calmer and more balanced.