The Danish concept of hygge has been something of a phenomenon in the last few years. A word with no direct English translation, hygge is a feeling of warm comfort from enjoying the wholesome, cosy moments in life. It’s all about spending time with the ones you love, embracing nature and those little moments that mean a lot.

Style of the City has created a list of activities and ideas for embracing hygge this Christmas time.

Relax with a spa day 

Before you get started with your hygge journey, make sure you’re as relaxed and rested as you can be. Whether it’s a D.I.Y. day or a splurge-worthy spa experience, take some time to treat yourself.

Fluff up those towels and light up your best candles, something as simple as a drop of bubble bath and some salts could make all the difference. Try making your own face mask or scrub.

If you want to get fancy, book a spa day at a local hotel. Penarth’s Holm House offers a festive spa day at £75 per person throughout December.

Photo credit: instagram, @newyorkvacay and @newyorkloversnyl

 Go ice skating

Grab your closest friends and family and head skating. This classic winter activity encourages wrapping up warm and spending quality time with the ones you love: Hygge essentials.

There are lots of places to practise your figure eight around Cardiff. Cardiff Castle will play host to two ice activities this year: The rink and the ice walk. If you’re after something a little more pro, Ice Arena Wales offers public skating sessions throughout the week. Want the experience but don’t want to go on the ice? Ice hockey games are played most weekends at Ice Arena Wales. Cardiff’s very own team, the Devils, champions so you won’t want to miss their incredible games.

Have a game night

Monopoly, Operation! or Pictionary? Whatever you’re playing, make sure the whole family is invited. Cosy up by the fire, grab your favourite board game and prepare some light (okay, very heavy) snacks.

Try something different this year with an at-home escape room or murder mystery box.

If you want to venture outside the comfort of your home, Cardiff isn’t short of game night options. Chance & Counters on High Street allows visitors to pick from hundreds of games to play while they tuck into some delicious food and drink. Play at Pins in The Hayes has plenty of options if board games aren’t your thing. From bowling to karaoke, you’re sure to find something to keep the whole group entertained.

Get reading

As the nights get longer and the days get shorter, fill that extra inside time with something that isn’t just binge-watching Netflix. Whether it’s true crime or true love, pick a genre and get started on your new favourite book.

Don’t have the time to start a new obsession? Try a magazine (maybe Style of the City?) or audiobook to listen to on the go.

Nothing is a cosy and comforting as reading a classic next to the fire.

 

Cook some comfort food

Mac and cheese, anyone? Rummage for those cookbooks and stock up on the essentials (chocolate, obviously), it’s time to get cooking. Hygge is all about comfort food, a cuisine most of us are more than familiar with. It’s probably not good for you but it does taste good. Cinnamon rolls, creamy mashed potatoes and most meals involving cheese, you’ll need the warmth for these cold winter nights.

If you don’t want to get to0 hands-on, try a restaurant that serves filling food, like Pieminisiter on St Mary’s Street.

 Meet some local wildlife

 There’s nothing more heart-warming than a cute new friend. Spend some time outdoors greeting your not-so-human neighbours. Take a walk around Cardiff Bay to try and spot some swifts in their custom build houses along the pathway. However, you don’t have to go far to see some wildlife. Put out some seeds and make a birdbath to attract local birds to your garden. Hedgehogs might even stop by so try investing in a home for them or try making your own.

Photo credit: instagram; @aniaharasimczuk

 

 Light all the candles

 Candles and hygge go hand in hand. According to the Danish Lung Association, on average, Denmark burns 3.5kg of candles a year. Is it just a coincidence that they also happen to be the happiest country in the world? Maybe but it’s worth a couple of candles to find out if there’s any correlation. While unscented are the top choice for most Danes, scented candles will continue to provide us with lush smelling aromas. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a store that doesn’t stock candles but if you want to get a little creative there are plenty of DIY candle kits available across the internet.

 Decorate for Christmas

Dust off those Christmas baubles and get the ladder ready: It’s time to decorate. Get traditional with your long-time favourites or head out to switch things up this year. Inspiration is all around. Peek at the city centre lights and attempt to recreate the dazzle around your own home. Get some more ideas at John Lewis’s flagship store in Cardiff. Head to the Christmas shop to see what themes are trending for trees in 2021.

Don’t forget to get crafty. Grab the glitter and make something magical alongside your family for an extra special touch to the tree.

Get crafty

 Bust the winter blues with some colourful and fun crafts. Fill up those Pinterest boards and stock up on glue guns and craft paper. If you lack inspiration, try out a craft kit to help you along the way. Whether you want to try your hand at knitting, jewellery making or needle felting, there’s a kit for pretty much every hobby. If you require some extra support, why not sign up for a creative class? Pottery and ceramics are always a fun idea and a great way to gift something handmade.

 

Photo credit: Instagram; @hannahs_disney_adventures

 Host a gingerbread building contest

Okay, so you don’t have to take it to the extreme, but it could be a fun group activity. Encapsulating all the Hygge essentials (spending time with a loved one, comfort food and crafting), gingerbread houses are a hygge Christmas must-do. The smell of gingerbread and sugary icing will certainly fill you with festive spirit. Gather around the table and grab all the sweets and chocolate you find. Whether it’s competing to see who can make the prettiest, the wildest or just plain best, make gingerbread houses into a competition with the whole family.

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