Have you heard the term “hygge” used lately? Ever wondered what it meant and how it might apply to making your home and land cozy and peaceful? I think of this concept as vital to my family for reducing chaos and increasing peace! Below we’ve outlined specific steps for children and adults to create a hygge homestead.
What is Hygge?
Are you familiar with the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced hue-guh)? Hygge is defined as a general feeling of coziness and comfort – a feeling of wellness and joy.
- The word hygge comes a Danish one that indicates giving comfort, courage and happiness.
- The word also has connection to the Old Norse word hugr which developed in the word now used for soul and mind.
- There’s also a connection to the word hugge, which means to embrace. (I love language!)
For a deeper discussion please visit this post from Montana Happy to answer the question of “What is hygge?”.
Creating a Hygge Homestead
This sounds amazing on the surface, but how do we actually create such serenity and balance?
The same way we do anything – with planning and persistence. And a little grace for the days when chaos reigns. The only thing for a busy homestead family to do to create hygge is to put good protocols in place and form organized habits. One day at a time. And to loosen up and have some fun, of course!
Hygge Homestead for Kids
I feel strongly about the importance of establishing good bed and bath-time rituals for young children. As they grow into older children, these calming, consistent rituals create a healthy awareness of health and well-being.
If you have yet to get into the habit nightly baths and reading time with your children, this is a wonderful place to start with hygge for your homestead kids. Here are some nightly rituals to consider:
- Reading aloud as a family
- Turning down the lights and keeping voices low
- Drinking something warm (unless the child is still very young)
- Praying or meditating
- Hugs and kisses
- Tidying the bedroom
- Listening to soft music
Once their evening rituals are established, you can turn their attention to the mornings. Mornings can be harder for some children, especially if they need to get up early for school or work. However, with consistent discipline about bedtimes, mornings will become possible, if not easy. Here are a few other basic ideas for creating hygge with your homestead kids:
Homestead Hygge Rituals
- Apart from bed and rise times, there are other calming ritual behaviors that can be beneficial of a child’s day. As mentioned, consistent out-loud family reading can be of particular benefit for a child’s future love of reading, among other things. This time can be hard to carve out, especially if you have multiple children in a large range of ages. Do your best because family reading will ALWAYS be worth it. Books on CD in the car or the barn, or even by the fire pit on summer nights, can be helpful when you can’t snuggle on the couch. Be sure to keep soft blankets and pillows handy for a true hygge homestead feel.
- Part of what contributes to a balanced sense of hygge is seasonal living, but cycling with the seasons may be too esoteric a concept for your wee ones. Seasonal and holiday crafts come in handy when cuing your children in to the movement of the year as it hums along. See our post on natural crafts if you’re reading this in the fall or winter; read our post on botanical prints if you’re reading this is the spring or summer. Don’t go nuts with too many projects and too much glitter glue. The idea is too stay in tune with natural rhythms, so try to stick to natural materials for your crafts and activities.
- For monthly inspiration on seasonal living for children – including seasonal stories, songs and poems, as well as a myriad of natural crafts and healthy recipes – I heartily recommend Rooted Childhood’s monthly resource packets. These are beautiful, inspiring and useful for anyone wanting to create a sense of hygge with their children but who would also like to have a lot of the work already done for them (no shame in that!). See below for more details:
Homestead Hygge Chores
- Have your child sow and tend a small pot of herbs or easy flowers (calendula grow very easy from seed) to help them bring a little nature inside. Part of hygge is to bring in the green – living plants, that is! Keeping close to nature can be grounding; just think of how you felt the last time you walked barefoot in the grass (unless you live where there are chiggers).
- Try having your child take on a chore that will teach them a hygge homestead concept. For example, have them collect the recycling for awhile to get a sense of how much garbage your family produces. Talk with them about how you might reduce the amount or upcycle some of the items into other useful products. Likewise, to keep the hygge homestead-fires burning, you could assign your child to keep the wood pile next to the stove stoked each day.
—>>>To brainstorm a little more, please read Garden Chores for Children<<<–
Hygge Homestead for Grown-Ups
First, and probably most important I believe, is a daily allowance of quiet pondering for the busy adult. Thirty minutes of prayer or meditation, stretching and journaling is like cool water to a desiccated soul. Homesteaders, parents, kids – we all work SO hard, and that’s good. However, we need time to reflect and recharge. A cozy feeling of peace in our home doesn’t come about by magic; it’s deliberately crafted by ordered personal habits of renewal.
Here are a few more ideas to consider as you think about bringing more intentional comfort and cozy into your home…
Personal Homestead Hygge
- Keep the hot drinks coming each winter and the cool drinks flowing in summer. This is one thing that I try to do for myself, regardless of how busy I am each morning. When I make time for it, the day goes so much better for some reason. I’ve thought about it and I think it’s simply because I’ve taken a moment for myself – it wasn’t necessary to my survival, but it was kind and comforting and a sweet thing to do for myself just because.
- Take a bath, or something similar. My shower is clear upstairs, but my cast iron, claw-foot tub is downstairs. I started taking daily baths when we first moved in and I was exhausted from days of painting and ripping out old carpet. This has been such a therapeutic habit for me! Again, it’s not that I need to take a bath instead of a shower. It’s simply that, for whatever reason, I find this daily ritual soothing.
- Find a daily cleansing ritual that feels similar for you – it doesn’t have to be a bath. Maybe it’s a candle lit at the dinner table to clear away the stress of the day. Maybe it’s a special lotion you use only before bed because of how divine it smells. Don’t wait to begin doing whatever it is you’ve thought of because it’s so important to take care of yourself.
Happiness is a choice and I encourage you to choose it with a few little kindnesses for yourself.
Homestead Hygge With Others
- Set the table every day for dinner to encourage a feeling of deliberate togetherness and try to eat as seasonally as you can. There’s something I find so elegant about the bygone idea of dressing for dinner each evening. It’s a custom that has fallen out of our every day but there’s no reason we can’t dress the table for dinner. Keep a basic set of tablecloths on hand that are simple to match to any occasion and easy to launder.
- Make a goal to learn one new skill this year. Discovering our natural gifts is a fulfilling exercise but it also makes us more useful to others. We can better enjoy the richness of relationships when we can serve and work with people in meaningful ways. Find a skill you can develop in a group or with a friend acting as your mentor. Watch as your skill and your relationships grow.
- One last thing, try to surround yourself with objects that tell a story, as opposed to industrially produced items (not that those are all bad). We don’t really need to fill our space with stuff just to have it filled with stuff. However, we collect what is meaningful to us. The items we allow to be in our home should make us feel comfortable and familiar with our space. If your environment is sterile, see what you can do to bring a warm glow to it with a family heirloom or a book of significance. This is a very personal thing and I leave you to just ponder it for awhile.
Step by Step Plan for a Hygge Homestead
First of all, decide if you need a hygge homestead. Maybe, after reading this, you decide that this concept isn’t needed in your family. I’m willing to wager, though, that you might find one or two things to try, upon reflection.
Life is so busy and so stressful so much of the time. It doesn’t take a huge investment in hours or energy to make small adjustments. The idea of enormous course corrections may be too much right now. However, maybe twenty minutes of reading in bed tonight while drinking a warm cup of tea won’t be too much to ask of your schedule.
Try a Homestead Hygge Concept
Start with the kids, if you have you them in your home. If you don’t, see if you can help a young mother you know create a little hygge in her home tonight. Pick one thing from the list of hygge suggestions for kids (or invent your own) and schedule time with your family or some friends to see that it gets done.
Working as a group, you’re more likely to stick to your goal of creating hygge because a group keeps us accountable. For example, burning candles in the home is a huge part of a hygge lifestyle. If you’d like to try your hand at making some with your family, grandkids, or homeschool group, consider our book, Candle Making in a Day to help you get started.
Celebrate A Homestead Hygge Concept
Now, move on to the adult list! Pick one suggestion from the list above and do it with style. If you need to get out your planner and clear some time, do it. Do it even if it takes you eleven tries to get the thing done.
Don’t over-complicate the activity and don’t get stuck in the planning so long that nothing ever happens. Remember our homestead personality test? Be sure to know your type and honor it as you set your goal.
Make Homestead Hygge a Tradition
I’ve found that one of the best ways to keep hygge as a way of life is to keep streamlining and keep clearing away unneeded clutter in both our personal spaces and in our hearts and minds. Absolutely keep a stack of books, a stack of firewood and a stack of blankets to stay comfy and cozy. However, all the blankets in the world won’t manage to keep our families warm if the members have become sterile and de-sensitized from too much clutter. We can get saturated in stuff!
To begin thinking about this de-cluttering process in earnest, including “de-cluttering” our personal way of being, please read our post on KonMari for Homestead Families.
Do you have any further suggestions for us – what did we miss? How have you worked to create a hygge homestead?
*Bear Family photo gratefully attributed to Olivia Mckay Photography.
** Ewe Belinda in knit hat photo gratefully attributed to Kelli Weed.
Both photos used with permission.