Contributor: Sara Lasker, MEd, MCHES, CDE

“Oh the weather outside is frightful. But the fire is so delightful. Since we’ve no place to go” It’s time to bring on the most Hygge time of the year, Christmas! Hygge, pronounced “Hoo-Ga”, is a Danish word associated with the feelings of happiness, coziness, and comfort. Honestly, there is not a specific English word equivalent but imagine the smell of freshly baked cookies mixed with a hint of pine from the Christmas tree as you relax by the crackling fire while sipping on a cup of tea and look longingly out the window at the lightly falling snowflakes; not a care in the world. Not quite feeling that Christmas Hygge yet, let’s use some of our favorite holiday songs to create the feeling.

1. “There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays”

In Denmark everyone travels home for the holidays. Being home with family, and friends, is the perfect recipe for a Hygge holiday. Take it one step further, host a potluck get-together with friends. Have everyone bring a dish to pass that represents Christmas to him or her. Follow it up by watching a holiday film everyone can enjoy like The Grinch that Stole Christmas, A Christmas Story, or Love Actually. Add some additional Hygge ambience with candles and covers up to your nose while sipping lazily on cranberry mulled wine.

2. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”

Remember as a kid being outside sledding down a snow-covered hill? Or gliding across the frozen lake on your skates?  Yes, Hygge is about being cozy, but it is also about being in nature. Grab your hat and head outside.  It may seem counterintuitive but getting outside in the snow and fresh air is a chance to reflect. The outdoors is emotionally boosting and singing fills your lungs with the fresh air. So this Christmas season, enjoy time outdoors by having an impromptu caroling session…Stroll and sing with a hot chocolate in hand and bring your community together for an evening filled with Hygge!

3. “All I want for Christmas is You!”

If there is a food or beverage you want, have it!  If you share it with someone else, you’re embracing Hygge! This Christmas take time to reflect and indulge; the New Year is the time to start that new diet and make those exercise changes. Take a break from your normal course and splurge! Go ahead; get your hands dirty…bake some cookies with the kids, and yes of course sample the dough! After they are baked have a decorating contest then dunk the freshly baked treats into coffee!

4. “Simply having a Wonderful Christmas Time”

So often the holiday season is chaotic and stressful. This season I challenge you to keep it simple. Think back to your childhood and embrace the excitement, happiness, and anticipation of St. Nick sliding down the chimney; this is the feeling you are working for in the house all season long, so soak it up! Steep a cup of tea to spend time with friends and family making homemade arts and crafts; colorful paper chains are a personal favorite! Food, family, and comfort are key to simplicity.

5. “Joy to the World”

Most importantly, it’s time to relax.  Slow down. Turn off the mobile phone and focus on your loved ones. Forget the outside world. Live for the moment!  Reminisce about Christmas traditions from year’s past while toasting a glass of eggnog to new memories yet to come.  Take the time to create a feeling of warmth and belonging for all by playing a board game. You are with your tribe so let the togetherness, harmony, and gratitude shine through as you bring your authentic relaxed self to the world.

As the holiday season is fast approaching try one, or all, of the Christmas Hygge suggestions!  Begin creating embracing your old traditions while starting a few new traditions with loved ones. Feel, smell, taste, and listen your way into a festive holiday season!

Bio: Sara is one of the first Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES) dually certified as a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and owns Healthy and Hygge www.HealthyandHygge.com.  As a Life and Wellness Coach she empowers people to create health and wellness balance by engaging socially, growing personally, and embracing physical activity. Find Sara on: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter & Vimeo.

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