Hygge is all about cosiness, maintaining a pleasant environment and spending time with the people we love. But we can’t always be physically close to the people who matter, and in a time when it’s so easy to like someone’s Facebook status instead of making the effort to catch up with them, it’s worth thinking about new – or old – ways to reconnect. I believe you can find hygge everywhere, and there are ways we can send a comforting glow across the miles. I’ve come up with a few ways to show someone they matter even if they’re not nearby.
Put it in writing
If you’ve ever seen my handwriting, you’ll hope I never send you a letter. Someone once said it’s like hieroglyphics and they weren’t wrong. Someone once said my Teeline shorthand from my journalism training was more legible than my regular handwriting – they couldn’t read shorthand. But I love putting things in writing. When it matters too much to say it out loud, I write it down so there’s a permanent record. I used to write letters to my friends as a child and I’m desperate to find another penpal now. You know I care if I write you a letter. And is there anything more exciting than finding a handwritten envelope in the post? Go out tomorrow, buy some beautiful stationery and send a surprise letter to someone who matters. Knowing you’ve gone to the effort of writing and posting will make their day.
Say it with flowers
I rarely receive flowers, but when I do it makes me giddy with joy. They’re a great gift for any occasion – birthday flowers, thinking-of-you flowers, Christmas flowers, just-because flowers. They don’t last forever, but that’s alright, because a beautiful burst of blooms bring so much life into a room (and fresh flowers are great for hygge). I recently received this gorgeous New York bouquet from Prestige Flowers, and the peachy roses and sunshine yellow lilies are the perfect way to see out summer. I can’t stop admiring them, and they’re lifting my mood over and over again. It’s a brilliant way to literally brighten someone’s day.
Send a gift
I get a real kick out of sending people little surprise gifts. I just get them sent straight to their address so they think ‘Hey, I didn’t order anything’ and then boom! Pick’n’mix! It’s never anything expensive; just a little something that says ‘I’m thinking about you and I thought you might like this’. Sweets, socks, seeds and books are my favourites, but this is a chance for you to get creative and put your knowledge of your friends and family to the test. If you’re ready to do a random act of kindness, pick a lucky recipient out of a hat, set a tiny budget and see what you can find!
Everyone likes to hear compliments, but I feel like Brits in particular are bad at paying them when they’re due. I know I’ve always been a bit rubbish about this, so I’ve been making a concerted effort this year to tell people when their hair looks nice or when they’ve had a great idea. Nowadays, if I remember a funny thing someone said months ago, I’ll text them about it to let them know it’s still making me laugh. If you’re thinking about a friend just because, tell them! I love knowing people are thinking of me, so I like to do the same in return.
Give to charity, pick up your brother’s favourite biscuits on the way home, do a chore someone else doesn’t enjoy, send a terrible joke to a friend, stroke a puppy, write someone a song, choose a pub that serves someone’s favourite drink, put someone’s phone on charge if they forget before they fall asleep, organise a film night for your friends when it’s cold and blustery outside, create a signature cocktail for someone, lend someone your favourite book, send a postcard, give someone a lie-in. Being kind is the best way to encourage hygge, and you can do it absolutely anywhere.
What do you do to stay connected with far-flung friends and family? Do you have any ideas of your own for keeping the hygge alive across cities, countries and continents?