These 12 Hygge Christmas ideas will ensure that your Christmas celebrations will be the coziest and happiest ever. How to decorate, crafts to make, cookies to bake, and what to wear; this is how to incorporate these Scandinavian celebration ideas into your Christmas spirit. Plus, these ideas are all free or very low-cost.
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If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I have a slight obsession with the Danish concept of hygge, which I loosely define as a feeling of cozy contentment. I also love celebrating Christmas and, although my children are grown and no longer live at home, I still like decorating the house and generally making a (low-key) fuss.
So, of course, I really lean into all my favorite hygge habits when the holidays roll around. I love the serenity and coziness of sitting on the couch enjoying my Christmas decorations while I sip on a cup of hot tea (or maybe something just a bit stronger – it’s the holidays after all!)
If you want to bring the hygge spirit to your Christmas celebrations this year, then you’ll enjoy these 12 traditions I use each year to make our holidays just a bit more hyggelig.
1. Get Rid of the Clutter
I always start my Christmas decorating by decluttering first. Hygge is all about surrounding yourself with things you love in a calm and peaceful environment. If your house is filled with clutter, you’ll feel stressed and won’t be able to relax into a hyggelig mood. Plus, any Christmas decorations you put up will only add to the feeling of messiness, rather than standing out.
Take an afternoon and put away any items that have been left out. Take some time, too, to edit your home accessories. If a surface is filled and crowded, see what you can put away until after the holidays.
You don’t have to get rid of everything; hygge isn’t about minimalism. Just look around your living spaces with a fresh eye and put away (or get rid of!) anything that doesn’t make you happy to see.
2. Add Soft and Cozy Pillows and Throws
Once you’ve decluttered, it’s time to add some hygge elements to your home! You’ll need lots of cozy pillows to relax with and some warm throws to cuddle up in on the sofa when the weather outside is frightful.
Holiday Hygge Throws and Pillows
3. Fill Your Home with Lovely Holiday Smells
You can get in the holiday spirit before you even start decorating by filling your home with lovely scents. A scented candle is always nice, but hygge-loving Danes prefer to use natural ingredients rather than an artificially scented candle.
Leave this Christmas Stovetop Potpourri simmering on your stove and you’ll enjoy the scents of the holidays for hours.
Or add a few orange pomander balls to some greenery for a lovely holiday centerpiece that also fills that house with a delicious scent.
4. Celebrate the Advent Season
Advent is celebrated during the four weeks prior to Christmas. Traditionally, this time is spent reflecting and preparing our hearts to celebrate Christmas. Taking time to celebrate Advent by lighting a candle and having a moment of quiet reflection is a wonderful way to slow down from the frenzied pre-Christmas rush and spend time savoring the present moment.
Celebrate Advent with an Advent Wreath
Celebrating the season with an Advent Wreath is a treasured tradition in Scandinavian cultures. A traditional Advent Wreath consists of 5 candles. Each Sunday during the Advent Season (the 4 Sundays before Christmas) you light a different candle and you then finally light the final candle on Christmas Eve.
There’s no need to buy a big fancy wreath. I usually make a simple wreath with candles in mason jars surrounded by festive greenery.
Of course, you can always purchase your advent wreath. Here are some unique and beautiful options.
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Light an Advent Candle
Another way to bring a bit of the hygge spirit is with an Advent Candle. We started doing this last year and I love this tradition because it helps bring a bit of mindfulness and anticipation of good things to even the most ordinary day.
Every morning at breakfast, you light your Advent Candle and let it burn down to the next day.
Advent Candles You Might Enjoy
5. Decorate with Simple, Natural Materials
Hyggelig Christmas decorations aren’t flashy and expensive. Taking the time to make a few handmade ornaments is a very cozy way to spend an afternoon, especially if you invite a few friends over to help.
Julehjerter – Danish Woven Hearts
Julehjerter or Danish woven hearts are quite easy to make. They are typically made of paper, felt, or ribbon and you can make enough to hang on your Christmas Tree in an afternoon. These instructions include a downloadable template to help you get started.
Scandinavian Advent Stars are often made of simple materials like wood or paper and they are a beautiful way to dress up your home for Christmas. You don’t have to spend money to decorate with Advent Stars. This Advent Star decoration is made from the pages of a book.
And these paper advent stars would look beautiful hanging from a wood branch or as the main decoration on your Christmas Tree.
6. Bring Nature Indoors
Put Up a Real Christmas Tree
Hygge is all about bringing nature indoors so an artificial tree, while convenient, doesn’t give the true hygge vibe that a real Christmas tree does. Your tree doesn’t have to be huge or fancy. A small tree, decorated with simple, natural ornaments,, really brings the Scandinavian Christmas Spirit alive.
This beautiful tree uses ribbon, handmade ornaments, and plain Christmas balls to pack an elegant punch.
Of course, there’s no more hyggelig experience than venturing out to cut down your own Christmas tree.
Decorate with Greenery
Another way to bring the outside in is with greenery you’ve foraged from a walk in the woods. (Or purchased from your local Christmas Tree lot – I won’t tell!) Don’t be intimated; creating a greenery wreath is quite simple. These instructions will show you how.
7. Wrap Your Presents with Homemade Gift Wrap
Hygge is all about simplicity and presents wrapped in fancy gift wrap are the opposite of the hygge aesthetic. Instead, use simple brown paper and string and let your creativity shine.
Design Mom has a great tutorial on wrapping presents with brown paper that’s filled with inspiration to help you get started.
8. Shop a Christmas Market
I’ll confess that I’ve never visited a European Christmas Market, but it’s definitely on my bucket list. They look so magical that just looking at photos of them put me in the Christmas spirit.
I have been lucky enough to visit New York’s Union Square Christmas Market and so I can confirm that nothing feels more hyggelig than walking through snowy weather looking at all the beautiful Christmas ornaments and presents to buy.
Check and see if there is a Christmas Market in your area; many places have them now. Or, if this isn’t a good year for visiting a Christmas Market, take a virtual visit with this video.
9. Get Together with Friends Outdoors
This year might not be the best year to have a large indoor party, but you can still celebrate Christmas the Hygge way with an outdoor celebration around a warm and inviting fire. Be sure to provide your guests with soft throws so they can keep warm and light the area with a multitude of candles.
10. Brew Up a Nice Warm Drink
If you’re hanging out outdoors, you definitely need to offer a soothing hot drink to your guests. No Scandinavian Christmas is complete without a glass of glogg, or Swedish mulled wine. It’s easily made at home with vodka that you infuse with dried fruit. Let the vodka sit for a week to really soak up the flavors.
11. Bake Cookies for Your Neighbors
The concept of hygge always includes cozy companionship. Why not spread a bit of Christmas spirit by spending an afternoon baking cookies as gifts for your neighbors? I do this every year and I always enjoy baking the cookies and seeing people enjoy them.
These Danish Vanilla Rings are a family favorite. They are light and buttery without being cloyingly sweet. You just have to be careful you don’t eat them all yourself!
Deliver your cookies in a homemade box made of scrapbook paper to really keep the hygge holiday spirit alive.
12. Cozy Up with Some Hygge Clothing
Scandanavians love to say, “There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather, Only Bad Clothing.” If you want to celebrate Christmas the Scandinavian Way, you’ll need some warm and comfy clothing for your outdoor hikes and fireside celebrations.
I’ve put together a selection of some of my favorite hygge clothing. Warm, seasonal pajamas are a must!