Dormouse. Short-beaked echidna. Little brown bat. Big brown bat. Fat-tailed dwarf lemur. Human.
Which of these is not like the other? Oh, it’s humans all right. Why? Well, beyond the fact that only mankind is capable of reading this article (and if that claim is too presumptuous – a sincere and humble apology to any short-beaked echidna readers), us homo sapiens are the only species above that does not hibernate.
But why? Again, look beyond the most obvious reason – that early on we discovered fire, clothes, shelter, agriculture and a bounty of available food, rendering The Big Sleep unnecessary – and the 21st century-adjusted response is simple: Amazon exists. And not just Amazon, but Amazon Prime, Amazon Prime Now, Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Prime Pantry – we could go on, however we’d then fully expect a check (or at least a thank you card) from Jeff Bezos.
Now, although a seven-month long snooze does sound rather appealing, below you’ll find a comprehensive rundown of ways to make this winter more gratifying. Powered by the Danish concept of ‘hygge’ – pronounced ‘hue-guh’, which essentially means creating a warm, cozy, pleasurable AF environment – this compelling guide may well make you want to lobby for a prompt erasure of spring and summer from the calendar. (Fall can stay, for little more reason than Halloween and candy apples.)
1. Worship at the altar of conscious chill.
You wouldn’t want to embark upon this enterprise blind, so consider The Little Book of Hygge your seasonal manifesto. While endless books have since emerged – in a shameless attempt to monetize the craze of hygge – this New York Times Bestseller, written by Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, is something of a seminal text.
The tome unpacks why Danes are famously the happiest people on Earth, and pledges to help you “get comfortably cozy” as well, without needing to buy a transatlantic flight to Næstved or Sønderborg.
2. Lose yourself in a fabric embrace with this cozy as hell cardigan.
A snug, reassuring, wool-blend hug, there is something that’s both wintry and soothing about a chunky knit cardigan. And this Bbalizko Men’s Ribbed Cardigan somehow manages to exude warmth merely from its image alone.
As wearable in the outside world as it is when hunkering down in your apartment, we’d strongly advocate purchasing one that’s several sizes too big, simply so you can further submerge – or straight-up swaddle – yourself into the textured folds of calming fabric.
3. Bring the outside in with an alluring, aromatic candle.
As attractive on the eye as it is the snout, this Paddywax Wild Fig and Cedar Candle will honor the hygge-ish principle of embracing the outdoors, without having to trifle yourself with the actual outside world.
Filled with 15-ounces of hand-poured soy wax, the fragrant yet subtle blend of fruit and plant will transform your place into a winter wilderness – free for you to camp out in, without fear of being devoured by an angry bear and/or succumbing to hyperthermia.
4. Clay mugs so cool (or, rather, warm) that you’ll want to double-fist your morning coffee.
Solving a problem you weren’t sure was one to begin with, the Clay in Motion Ocean Tide Handwarmer Mug will heat you both inside and out.
The innovative and sleek clay design allows you to, essentially, insert your hand into the cup, which in turn keeps your fingers toasty while you sip on whatever hot contents are within. And fear not, lefties, while we presume there’s much more calling for the right-hand mug, the company duly sells a left-handed version.
5. Space heaters are ugly and dull, unlike this beautiful, real(istic) fireplace.
As appealing as it is adorable, the Air Choice Portable Fireplace is small (9.9in) but very mighty.
Free-standing, with a classic stove appearance and realistic 3D flame, the 500w heater can rapidly warm up any area up to 400 square feet. It is also cool to the touch, and switches itself off if it gets too hot or tips over – something that will come as blessed relief to parents and pet owners, as well as the generally clumsy.
6. Reclaim the bomb and make bath-time a ball.
Whoever first said that bath bombs are for women is a damn fool. Little grenades of effervescence that turn the water into a kaleidoscope of colors and tickles in all the right (and some wrong) places? We’re sold. Anyway, not only is this LifeAround2Angels Bath Bombs Gift Set loaded with enough fizzy orbs (12) to see you through the season, it also boasts a near-impossible five-star rating on Amazon.
Combining self-explanatory scents (Melon Ball, Mango Papaya, Lavender, Lemongrass Green Tea) with some that are utterly ambiguous (that’ll be Fun on the Beach, Fun in the Shower, Angel and Love), each one promises to moisturize and rejuvenate your skin.
7. Make a hollow gesture in the best possible way, by tidying your junk into a showpiece coffee table.
Splicing the cozy with the convenient, this Mainstays Lift-Top Coffee Table ticks all manner of hygge boxes.
Made from Sonoma oak, an all-natural aesthetic is further enhanced by the hollow innards – allowing you to de-clutter your winter abode by stowing loose items inside, instead of (or as well as) on top.
8. Drink your scotch in opulent style, with a weighty set of whiskey tumblers.
Winter nights can get bitterly cold. By all means, warm up with whiskey. Or, more specifically, whiskey poured into a set of Van Daemon Unique Whiskey Glasses.
Handcrafted, dishwasher safe and lead free, these crystal rocks tumblers are simply gorgeous – effortlessly blending contemporary flourishes with classic design. Each set of two glasses come with their own presentation gift box – making them an incredibly serviceable gift or, more likely, personal reward for having braved those aforementioned wintry eves.
9. Don’t wreck your head – invest in a fashion choice that is as timeless as it is temperate.
The Carhartt Men’s Acrylic Watch Hat is iconic, and represents a suitably speedy way to upgrade your winter style.
Don’t be sucked in by the weird (and not so wonderful) headwear that’s on the market these days – your ushankas, balaclavas, saggy beanies or hats with comedy sized bobbles – and instead ensure your choice of headgear passes two simple tests. Does it keep your skull warm? Does it look good? This timeless Carharrt staple answers both emphatically, and is available in a whole bunch of colors.
10. Give your insides a great big hug, by feasting on all the pastries.
If hygge = a feeling of innate contentment, then Al Bohsali balklava pastries are a sweet and serviceable way to get there fast.
An exhaustive compendium from the famed Mediterranean baker, the all-natural collection is freshly baked and shipped so quickly that they’re probably still warm while in transit. An obvious disclosure – nut allergy sufferers should beware (pistachios, walnuts, pine nuts and cashews are used liberally) – but, for everyone else: rejoice in the sweet splendor of pastry.
11. Let there be (just a tiny little bit of) light.
Beyond the fact that it’ll save money that’s almost certainly being redirected towards heating, you don’t want your winter cave to be too bright, so eschewing overzealous lighting is key. These Kohree Led String Lights fit the whole subtle hygge aesthetic, while also providing a cutesy embellishment to just about any fixture in your home.
Drape across some shelves, wrap around your TV, or even breach the perimeter of your balmy, dimly-lit palace to give your place some understated holiday cheer.
12. If you have to rejoin society, beat the freeze with a beverage that won’t let a) you down, or b) its temperature drop.
For the unlucky reader that totally has like, a real job or whatever, don’t allow leaving your cozy cocoon without taking the necessary precautions. Among the most crucial: a hot beverage, placed in a receptacle that’ll keep it nice and steamy. And the Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug is just the ticket.
A 20oz cylinder of vacuum insulation, it features a flip-open, safety lock lid, pictograph lock and nonstick coated interior. So whether it’s coffee, tea or noodle soup you’re taking with you, this baby won’t leave you – or its contents – cold.
13. Pimp your blanket fort with this luxurious throw.
One side fleece, the other side sherpa, both sides of the reversible Pavilia Premium Twin Size blanket are the height of comfy indulgence.
Ideal for your bed, the sofa, wearing as a cape or all of the above, you may find yourself at war with your partner, pet or family members as they try to liberate the throw from its rightful home – on you. If this is the case, skip the argument and just go right ahead and buy another (and then maybe another), as there are some things in life you can never have too many of, and while ludicrously snug blankets likely don’t top the list, they’re not too fair down it, either.
14. You better brie-lieve this throwback kitchen accessory will make you melt.
Suitably gluttonous and aptly named, the Nostalgia 6-Cup Fondue Pot is a throwback tradition that’s overdue a reprise.
Granted, chocolate dipped fruit has been a ubiquitous wedding day staple since the early noughties, however we’re talking about a river of pungent, gooey, molten cheese. Because nothing quite says winter bliss than developing a 10-kilo cheese paunch, then covering it with an XL sweater. On the plus side, body fat is a natural radiator and, remember, you’ve earned it: we’re talking about a river of cheese!
15. Spruce up your home’s inside with a bit of the out.
Bringing color, texture and florae into your home in a single swoop, this triple Hygge Décor – Air Plant Holder is as dope as it is furry.
Entirely bespoke, made to order and available in 28 different shades, the crocheted and felted planters are made from wool and alpaca. Although they sadly don’t come with the plants included, these look equally awesome with succulents, cacti or any other number of house plants.
16. Weatherproof your feet to beat the big chill.
You could have the toastiest apartment in all the land, and yet, sling on a pair of tatty, hole-ridden socks, and you may as well be living outside. Feet warmth is vital to body temperature, so treat your toes to a pair of plush socks capable of conquering the elements. Socks like J.B. Icelandic Artic Trail -40 Below Winter Sock.
Made of 85% pre-shrunk wool (the remaining 15% is nylon), these thermal socks are warm, yet very breathable, wicking away sweat or moisture to keep your feet dry and not smelling of, well, feet.
17. Make your beverages super-hot, with a teapot that is (whisper it) quite sexy.
Billed as “The nicest kettle you’ve ever seen” by its creators, the Will & Everett Tea Kettle is, in fact… the nicest kettle you’ve ever seen.
Made from surgical grade stainless steel, this whistling teapot (and, dogs notwithstanding, who doesn’t love a whistling teapot?) is nigh on indestructible, being impervious to rust, dents, scratches, corrosion and more. Even better, the stove-top kettle boils super-fast – due to its 5-ply capsule bottom – and includes its very own tea strainer. If hygge was a kettle, hygge would be this kettle. The nicest kettle you’ve ever seen.
18. Indulge your taste buds, with this sweet, fruity tea selection.
So you’ve got your sexy kettle, yeah? Then you’re going to want some equally alluring teas to pop inside it, right? Behold, the Chinese Tea Culture Tea Sampler, which features a host of premium loose leaf teas.
We’re talking blueberry tea, peach island, raspberry lemon rooibos, and much, much more. Spin the wheel (note: wheel not included), pick your poison (note: tea is non-toxic), and kick back in relaxed, tea-based bliss.
19. Kick back like a boss, in these luxurious lounge pants.
There is something uniquely alluring about that one pair of pants. That one, special pair, that you wouldn’t dare wear beyond the threshold of your front door and, yet, whenever you return from a long day in the outside world, they are the very first thing you slip into. They are, quite simply, comfort personified. As such, these Calvin Klein Men’s Body Modal Pajama Pant are, potentially, comfort squared.
Made from 90% modal and 10% lycra, these pants somehow succeed in hugging your legs, while also feeling like you’re wearing nothing at all.
20. Turn your couch into a cocoon with a heated throw.
Invest in a Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw, wrap it around you on the couch, fire up Netflix and, well, you may never leave the house.
Ultra-soft, made from 100% polyester and incorporating ThermoFine technology to deliver even distribution of heat, the throw is as cozy as it is warming. It also comes with three different heat settings and, like Netflix, will shut itself off after a few hours of inactivity, just in case you’ve fallen asleep. Which, inevitably, you have.
21. Give your leftovers a classy home.
Eating more in winter is baked into our DNA. A perfect storm of factors – cold weather stimulates our survival impulse; eating makes us warmer; winter gives us the blues – chowing down on a gargantuan feast is one of life’s great joys when it’s dark and depressing out. Why not house that feast in a stylish setting, with this Bloomingville Set of 3 Round Stoneware Bowls with Bamboo Lids.
Microwave, oven and dishwasher safe (lids apart), this bowl set is a one-stop shop for all your dining needs, saving on dishes as well as those rancid containers you saved from a Chinese takeout supper eight years ago.
22. Make your meals as slow as your movements.
If the spirit animal of winter is a sloth then, without question, the Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker is the spirit… oven(?) for the season.
Making all manner of convoluted meals a breeze, this programmable slow cooker can go for 30 minutes or 18 hours, has a wraparound element to make for even heating, and will also keep its contents warm once the time is up. Beef stew? Lamb shank? Entire roast chicken? Yes. Yes to all, and ideally in one giant bowl.
23. Yup, you should really get Amazon Prime (and nope, Jeff Bezos is seriously not paying us).
Getting Amazon Prime is something of a no brainer, and no more so than in the depths of winter. At a time that you’d rather not leave the couch, let alone the apartment, the idea of buying a truckload of items (including everything on this list) on your smartphone, doing so from the snug security of your blanket fort, and having it shipped to your door within two days, is probably worth $12.99 alone.
Add into the mix Prime Video – which features the binge-able likes of Man in the High Castle, Jack Ryan, Sneaky Pete and Mrs Maisel, plus recently movies and TV shows that are either recent releases or timeless classics – plus a load of things you might not even been aware of (Prime Music! Prime Reading! Prime Rewards!), and the package seems custom-built for winter survival.
24. Do your feet a favor – these slippers are like wearing a sheep for shoes.
Waterproof, anti-skid, and featuring a comfy memory foam inner, these Plush Fleece Memory Foam Slip-on House Shoes are so comfortable, you’ll immediately start resenting all other footwear that exists.
With a lightweight and durable rubber sole, you could indeed wear these slippers outside. But, given how warm and fuzzy the wool-like lining makes you feel from the feet up (not to mention, your actual soul), you’re far more likely to want to curl into a ball on the couch and doze for days.
25. Drape yourself in cotton (and bamboo) decadence.
In winter, entire mornings can seemingly be lost to showering, simply because everywhere but your steamy, personalized spa is so goddamn cold. Give yourself a reason to turn off the faucet, with a Chakir Turkish Linens 4-Piece Bath Towel Set.
Made with 65% superior Turkish cotton and 35% natural bamboo fiber, each towel represents the perfect blend of absorbency and silkiness. It’s the type of premium material you’d expect from an actual spa, and so it is absolutely worthy of your lavish, one-man steam room.
26. Soothe your chilly taste buds with a glass of better red.
Red wine is evidently an all-weather beverage, however it comes into its own in cold weather – unlike beer, spirit mixers or, indeed, red’s white or rosé cousins, serving it at room temperature is never not the way to go. Enhance the taste even further, with the Vintorio Wine Aerator Pourer.
An aerator and decanter in one tiny package, the unit’s air holes draw in oxygen while the liquid is being poured, injecting the optimum amount directly into the wine. The result? Superior tasting red, with a tablecloth safe from wine stains.
27. Winter will fly by when you’re sleeping on cloud nine.
The notion of something feeling “like a cloud” is ridiculously overused (who even knows what that feels like?). And yet, excuse us for being utter hypocrites for one quick second, as this Hospitology Products Hypoallergenic Mattress Pad/Topper is almost definitely the closest you’ll get to snoozing on a cumulonimbus.
Overstuffed and infused with 24oz of gel, this microfiber goose down topper is so thick and luxurious, it’s basically an extra comforter for your underneath. Sleep is very important, and although you are not seeking to hibernate, this is so very inviting that rousing yourself in the morning following a deep and decadent may prove inherently tricky.
28. Bring hygge into the kitchen, with a hearty winter cookbook.
Winter is all about comfort, therefore it stands to reason that winter food is all about comfort food. Imbue your gastronomy with a little Nordic flair, with the Scandinavian Comfort Food recipe book.
Written by Trine Hahnemann – hailed as “the doyenne of Scandinavian cooking” – this thick catalogue of 130 Nordic meal ideas, from pancakes to meatballs, rye bread to yule logs. Bon appetit. Or, more appropriately, Vær så god!
29. Shed light on any situation, with a versatile flashlight.
Less hygge, more effectively deal with your issues outdoors, to facilitate further hygge-ing out back inside, these RockBirds LED Flashlights are a wallet-friendly solution to navigating the dark in winter.
With three modes (high, low, strobe), super-bright lumen, a zoom function, water resistance, fluorescent rings and a belt clip, plus the fact you get two of them, they’re a backpack staple at exceptional value.
30. A rug so snug you’ll want to give it a hug.
You’ve got to love a shag rug. You’ve got to. And the Actcut Super Soft Carpet Floor Mat is no exception. Soft and utterly comfortable – that’ll be the 4.5cm thickness – it’ll tie any room together.
Given that rugs are often hideously expensive, this large, plush and thick synthetic carpet represents tremendous value, and really is cozy enough to sleep on.
31. An oven that’s Dutch by nature, yet Danish in spirit.
Sear, sauté, simmer, braise, bake, roast or fry, this Lodge Cast Iron with Dual Handles is ready to take on just about any wintery hygge-ish meal.
Five quart in size, it is unparalleled in heat retention – whether in the oven or on the grill, stove or even campfire – and even self-bastes due to its domed lid, which expertly preserves moisture. It’s also rugged as hell, looking 100% sturdy enough to conquer 10,000 consecutive meals and yet remain hungry to go again.
32. Keep your fingers feeling warm and looking cool.
When the weather tilts toward the wrong side of sub-zero and bitter, opting for style over substance represents a grave mistake. Somehow, these LETHMIK Wool Lined Knit Gloves have managed to storm it on both fronts.
Pairing high-quality acrylic with a super-warm wool lining, these gloves look the absolute business. Also, considering modern culture means that we’re all part human, part smartphone nowadays, the addition of touchscreen functionality on three fingers is a very welcome, and helpful, addition.
33. You’ll never feel SAD again with a HappyLight.
At its very core, hygge means feeling warm and contented. But what if the long, cold winter leaves you feeling blue? Fear not, for the Verilux HappyLight provides a beam of safe, comfortable, natural spectrum light that’s shown to ease seasonal affective disorder.
With 5,000 Lux moderate UV filtered output, not only can this light help improve your mood – stimulating hormones and neurotransmitters that influence general feelings of wellbeing – it will also help focus and boost energy, while combatting common sleep issues by resetting your circadian rhythm.
34. Nest like an expectant mother, with a pillow that’s bigger than you are.
A crap pillow – whether too hard or too soft, lumpy or barely there – can kill any chance of relaxing, never mind sleep, all on its own. A Naomi Home Cozy Body Pillow, on the other hand, is so ingeniously excellent that it almost renders the rest of your bed obsolete.
A hit with expectant mothers, the gigantic cotton pillow engulfs you into a whole-body hug – supporting your back and belly (and, if you’re pregnant, baby). Add this into the mix with the heated throw, chunky knit cardigan and wool-lined slippers mentioned above, and this feeling of utter relaxation will be the closest you’ll ever come to re-entering the womb.
35. Diffuse the situation with four months of non-stop, natural freshness.
Something of a home run in the hygge stakes, this Binca Vidou Reed Diffuser Set recreates nature in a soothing manner – as wooden reeds circulate the crisp and comforting smell of the outside world.
With top notes that feature star anise, magnolia and mandarin, the middle scent comprises lily of the valley peony and white tea, with ylang ylang, white musk and sandalwood at the base. Designed to enhance – and not overpower – your home, this candle alternative will last up to 120 days of constant use.