It’s fall, y’all! And for me, that means pulling out all the stops to make life as cozy and hygge as possible. But sometimes it seems as if I have to spend a lot (or at least a bit) of money in order to experience the hygge that some people talk about. (A week at a log cabin in the Smoky Mountains in the heart of fall sounds like an absolute dream vacation, but I really don’t have that money… or time.) So I started looking for simple hygge moments that cost practically no money. And y’all helped! I asked on my Instagram stories last week what some of your favorite, practically free hygge activities were, and I got a couple responses.
I’ll go ahead and say right now that though candles, fuzzy blankets, wool socks, and cute chunky sweaters sound like instant hygge (and they are), you don’t have to buy those things to be cozy (but hooray if you already have them!). Hygge isn’t really a specific type of activity and doesn’t only happen in certain settings. It’s not cut-and-dry.
As Caroline shared with us last month, true coziness is enhanced by the chaos around us. Hygge is all about feeling safe and secure, even amid the turmoil of life. It’s about being present in the moment with those you love. It’s about embracing simplicity.
And while this is by no means an exhaustive list, these are some cozy, simple, practically free things that I love to do. (Also, these are by no means in any type of order, so bear with me…)
HANG LAUNDRY ON THE CLOTHESLINE
Okay, not the most glamorous one to start with, and I know some people who despise this task. I used to hate it. And I’ll admit, in the summer it’s still not my favorite thing in the world to have the clothes I’m wearing stick to me from sweat and from the wet laundry on my shoulder. And in winter your fingers get numb from the cold and wet combined. (Our dryer has broken in pretty much every season, so we’ve hung clothes year round.) But there is a sense of a simpler way of life, a sort of pleasant feeling in pinning laundry to the line while the cat bats at you from the pole and birds call to each other in the woods.
SIT ON THE PORCH
On the steps, in a rocker, on a bench, wherever. If you’re blessed to have a porch, enjoy it! There’s something restful about just sitting and watching the rain or enjoying a cool breeze, listening to the birds or watching the kids play in the yard.
TAKE A WALK
Another outside activity! Walking has lots of health benefits and clears your mind. Growing up, we lived at the beginning of a 1/2-mile road with a cul-di-sac at the end, so it was a mile walking to the end and back. We used to bike or walk that road at least several times a week. We also had the sweetest neighbors who would invite us in to see the new kittens or for cookies or hot chocolate if they saw us passing.
READ A BOOK
Add your favorite hot beverage (or iced one, if it’s summer) and you’ve got instant cozy feels. And read an actual hard copy of a book! Ebooks and audiobooks are definitely a convenience sometimes, but there’s something special about curling up with a worn copy of your favorite novel.
GET ON THE FLOOR WITH LITTLE KIDS
Little ones have a way of making you feel special and bringing back childhood memories. Some of my favorite moments are spent on the floor with my nieces and nephews or little friends.
PLAY BOARD/CARD GAMES
Sure, playing the Wii or computer games or those advanced-graphic-first-person-type-games on the iPad can be fun, but it’s not near as hygge as pulling down a game or deck of cards from the shelf and gathering around the table (or on the floor) for some good old-fashioned fun.
PUT TOGETHER A PUZZLE
Some of my favorite memories include puzzles. Grandpa used to always have one out in the closed-in front porch. During the holidays, we often set up a table and pull out a puzzle. Only problem (other than little ones’ curious fingers)? It’s pretty distracting when you’re supposed to be working, but there’s a piece that you’ve been trying to find for hours.
HAVE A PAJAMA MOVIE DAY
See? I’m not all against modern entertainment and conveniences! 😉 There’s nothing like deciding last-minute (or planning it in advance) to just stay in your pajamas and watch movies all day. We always tend to revert to our favorite period dramas, because they’re nice and long, but feel free to choose whichever movies you want!
BAKE OR COOK SOMETHING
But I’ll just throw out there that there’s nothing like baking something sweet. 😉
I need to find my journal and dust it off. Journaling is something that I’ve always loved (even if it was just recording what we ate and what time I finished school when I was younger!). There’s something soothing about the feeling of pen on paper, and something releasing about putting your thoughts and feelings on paper.
TURN OFF THE SCREENS
Take a break from electronic devices for awhile. Or, if you need to leave them on, try to only use them for productivity or connection with people. I’m super grateful for FaceTime, texting, and social media during this time so I can stay connected with my family and friends! But I often just need to take a break and refocus. And related to this one…
TAKE A BREAK FROM SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE NEWS
I don’t know about you, but reading a lot of opinions on social media and watching the news is pretty depressing to me. I never listen to the news if I can help it, and I’m not on my personal social media that much other than to catch up with a few friends. My heart and mind and life are so much more peaceful when I tune out of those things for awhile!
VISIT A LIBRARY
Probably the one thing I miss the most about living in Louisiana (besides the people) is the library. The libraries, I should say. East Baton Rouge Parish had an amazing library system, and we had two great libraries within thirty minutes of where we lived, and an hour or so to the main branch in Baton Rouge. Some of my favorite afternoons were spent sitting on the floor of a library, reading until my legs went to sleep, or hitching along in this weird crouching shuffle/crawl as I scanned the titles of every book on the shelf, looking for resources for school papers. (Who else probably looks like a complete weirdo when they’re looking through shelves of books??) We haven’t found an amazing library here yet, though there are a few small ones – and at least they still have that peaceful, slightly-musky library feel and smell! That is one thing that I would love to start doing more: visiting the library. It’s one of my favorite places ever.
GO TO THE PARK
With friends, family, and a picnic basket, an outing to the park can be very hygge. If you’re blessed to have a good local park (especially if you live in the city or don’t have a lot of property), plan a day there soon!
HAVE AN IMPROMPTU PICNIC IN THE BACKYARD
Have I mentioned that some of the coziest moments are made from spur-of-the-moment decisions and ordinary things? Just keep an eye out for pets who would like to share in the fun (i.e. help themselves to the sandwiches)!
CLEAN THE HOUSE
Maybe it doesn’t sound very hygge, but put on some upbeat music and don’t be afraid to have fun while you clean! And a spotless clean house is definitely hygge. This past Saturday morning, I woke up at 7 AM (I wanted to sleep until 10, but hello, I’m-used-to-getting-up-early-now version of me). So after I took a shower, I put on my favorite background jazz playlist, lit a fall candle, and cleaned the house, made pumpkin bread, and put a pot of coffee on. I do love housework, so that morning was very cozy for me.
INVITE FRIENDS OVER FOR A CASUAL NIGHT IN
Especially nowadays with lots of places still closing early. Put out snacks, pull down the group games, and just let the night take its course. Don’t stress out if the tea spills or if things aren’t going exactly like you might have liked. Just sit back and enjoy the visiting and laughter.
LIGHT A BONFIRE
Something about burning your face to a crisp and freezing your back is quite cozy. 😉 It’s getting to be the weather for bonfires, y’all, so get some hot dogs and marshmallows, pull out the lawn chairs (or logs or buckets or whatever you’ve got on hand), and have fun.
I haven’t done this in forever, but there’s something peaceful about lying flat on your back and watching the night sky. Even when it’s freezing cold outside (because those nights are almost always the best nights for stargazing anyway). Grab a few blankets, spread something on the ground so you’ll stay dry, and spend an hour or so outdoors enjoying the stars and the moonlight.
DIM THE LIGHTS
Did you know that a large part of the Dane’s hygge (which is where we get the word from, by the way) has to do with the lighting? They have some special lamps that they love, but even if you can’t get your hands on those, you can still pull out some Christmas lights, flick on some lamps, or light some candles, and turn off the bright overheads.
LEARN A CREATIVE HOBBY OR CRAFT
There’s something satisfyingly cozy about creating something yourself, whether it’s knitting a scarf, crocheting coasters, scrapbooking, drawing, or whatever it is you enjoy doing. I’ve spent countless cozy afternoons with my yarn and crochet hooks (and some relaxing music or a good movie or podcast!).
WATCH OLD TV SHOWS/MOVIES
Maybe you find the Marvel movies cozy, but those seem more like a chips-and-dip-and-coke party to me. One of my sisters emphatically disagrees with me here, but to me there is nothing cozier than a black-and-white movie or an old TV show. (By “old” I usually mean made before the ‘70s.) Add some hot chocolate and your favorite blanket, and you’ve got instant cozy entertainment.
During this time of the year, there are a lot of pretty colors out! The little girl that I nanny loves collecting leaves, and I agree that there’s something cozy about it. Dry them or press them in a scrapbook to keep the memories literally at hand!
OPEN THE WINDOWS
If it’s brisk outside, it will instantly make you feel like curling up and doing something cozy. Or it will energize you to get those projects tackled so you can do something hygge!
Sometimes there is nothing cozier than just simply doing nothing. And sometimes the best ideas come from letting your mind be still. There is a reason that God tells us to be still so much in the Bible. It’s good for your soul. Not in a lazy way, but in a restful way.
Well, there you have it. 25 practically free ways to enjoy hygge. Do you have any other ideas? I know there must be a ton more out there, but these are all the specific things I could think of over a week or so. Drop a comment with your favorite ways to hygge!
Until next time,