Happy Hygge | Tips for Relaxing and Cozy Snow Days
The snowflakes are falling outside your window. There is that familiar hush in the air outside—you can just tell. All at once, your phones light up with texts, tweets and voicemails from the school that today is in fact the day your children have been waiting for since school opened—a snow day! You can’t help to be excited, too, because after all, we were all kids once. But soon, for us mamas, the reality begins to also creep in that we are about to face an entire day with housebound children.
I have found that the best approach is to embrace this opportunity and turn your snow day into a cozy day to remember for years to come. Here are our top ten tips for turning your winter home into a warm and comfy haven for the kids—and for us mamas—on snow days or any day we just feel we need it. And best of all, you can create this retreat for the kids with little to no screens. By taking a page from the Danish people who value a concept they call hygge (pronounced “HOO-gah”), which I believe translates to a warm and cozy home but also the practice of warmth towards one another, snow days have become something I look forward to for a whole new reason. This is a day that I can really cozy up with my kids and all the rush and pressures of the day-to-day are left outside with the snow.
Here are our tips:
- Turn on some of that good music. You can change this up throughout the day. My favorites on Pandora are classical Spanish guitar, Bob Dylan, and classical music. If you can find a way to pipe this into the kitchen or a central location, that’s the best. Keeps everyone naturally close to each other and on the same vibe.
- Open the curtains and then dim the lights. For a cozy winter home, I truly believe lighting is everything. Especially in the evening, we really don’t need as much light as you we tend to think we do. Today is a great day to light candles or also start a fire in the fireplace. I recommend those great long, tapered candles you can pick up at the supermarket. You can light a few on the dining room table, a couple on the mantel, and I always have one going on the stove. Of course, keep the candles away from curious kids, but a few candles will give a glow to the house.
- Homemade potpourri right on the stove. Keep this at a low simmer and check it periodically because the liquid will need to be replenished. For my personal recipe, I use about 3 cups of orange juice, whole cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. You can also use apple cider. If you have it, you can also try to add some rosemary or bay leaves.
- Tidy up—nothing major—and then relax. I’m talking putting errant clothes in the hampers, shoes by the door, and get anything sticky off the counters. Maybe take out the trash. The trick is to have things clean enough that the house is comfortable and not chaotic, but you don’t need things to be "company ready." If you get into a cleaning frenzy, it will be hard to stop. Remember, today is about relaxing, even for you.
- Put on your “cozies”. My kids call this a pajama day. I call it a day in my husband’s sweat pants. No bra. Anyone have slippers or cozy socks? Today is the day to enjoy them.
- Throw blankets and pillows on the floor, couches, and even extras on the beds. Place what you have on the couches throughout the house so as you go from room to room you will have a blanket ready to snuggle with the kids.
- Bring out the classics. Go around the house and find the books and games that you loved as a kid. Today is the day where you can actually spend two hours reading Winnie the Pooh, Homer Price, Stuart Little or Charlotte’s Web. Teach the kids the card game that you and your best friend played that entire summer. Today’s a day to linger over Monopoly or even do a puzzle. If it is becoming tedious, you can always come back to it later.
- Warm drinks (tea, cocoa, coffee, cider) and plenty of snacks. This may be a day where the meals blend together. That’s fine. Relax the one-juice-a-day rule and let the kids enjoy the cozy party. This should be a relaxing day for you, too, so don’t worry too much about fancy meals. Throw a soup or stew on a low simmer and you can go back to it throughout the day.
- Let the kids decide what to do but give them fun and cozy options. For some suggestions: build a fort, have an indoor scavenger hunt where they get to choose what everyone looks for, throw a living room tea party or throw a birthday party for the stuffed animals. Our family’s favorite? Pretend you’re camping in front of the fire. Tell the kids the power could go out at any moment so they need to think of something to do that does not involve power. My personal favorite? Put the couches together and load it with pillows and blankets. This can become a boat, Santa’s sleigh, a spaceship. You can just lie there and the kids will play around you. Ahhhh...
- Warm baths. I mean really nice bubble baths. Go to the kids’ toy box and see if you can turn any into tubby toys. Let the kids take their time in the tub, no need to rush to bed for this mid-day tub. Let the winter light come in and the kids will escape in their own little world. And when they’re done, mama deserves a bubble bath, too. And perhaps…a glass of wine.