Ugh, January is dragging isn’t it? It doesn’t help that 16th January is Blue Monday, considered the most depressing day of the year because Christmas is over, payday feels a long way off and everyone’s being sensible after the winter binge.
That’s why I’m very excited to be teaming up with GLORIOUS to inspire you to throw your very own hygge party to brighten up Blue Monday. GLORIOUS are running a competition with Stylist magazine to win a hygge hamper worth over £200 for one lucky person who shares a photo of their Blue Monday hygge party on social media using #GloriousHygge. The hamper is AMAZING – it includes a gorgeous throw from The White Company, a Diptyque scented candle, M&S pure cashmere socks and other goodies to help you hygge this January, along with a pot of the limited edition GLORIOUS Greens soup, which contains spinach, broccoli, coconut and mango.
I’ve put together 10 top tips to get you started if you want to enter – and I really recommend you do, because this is a brilliant prize guaranteed to get you feeling cosy.
1. Get the lighting right
Lighting is absolutely essential for hygge – you can’t expect your guests to hygge in eye-searing brightness! If you can’t bear to let Christmas go just yet, ease yourself into the new year gently with some pretty, twinkly fairy lights, or go for the hygge essential – candles. I love scented candles, but little clusters of plain tealights (yes, the kind you buy in a bag in IKEA for about £4) will do the job just as well.
2. Keep it casual
I love glitter and getting spruced up (sometimes – I’m not Paris Hilton), but there’s a time and a place, and that time is certainly not Blue Monday. For my hygge party, I’ll be chilling out in a massive chunky jumper, leggings (with plenty of stretch) and some cosy boots. You want to make sure your guests are completely comfortable, so set a casual dress code to ensure everyone’s ready to hygge all evening.
3. Be a social alchemist
Hygge isn’t about throwing a massive party and inviting everyone you know. As this will be a Monday party, you’ll be relieved to know that this should be an intimate affair. Invite your closest friends and family for a thoroughly relaxed evening. Think about how the different personalities will complement one another. It’s also worth remembering that hygge is great for introverts, so you may be able to coax some of your more reserved friends over for a more laid-back party.
4. Serve hearty food
Just because it’s January, that doesn’t mean it’s time to lay off the hearty food. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll be looking for something less rich after a pretty intense December filled with food. Soup (I’m looking at you here GLORIOUS Greens) is the perfect starter, as it’s warming and nourishing. Follow this up with your favourite comfort food – mac and cheese, a stew or lasagne are all good options. And don’t forget to round off with something sweet – how about homemade Danish berry pudding?
5. Comforting sounds
You don’t want the music to drown out the pleasant conversation, but a little background noise can help smooth over any comfortable lulls in the conversation. Nothing too intense – keep the heavy metal or pumping techno for another night! I’ve put together my own Hello Hygge playlist, or other playlist options on Spotify include Evening Chill, New Nordic Sounds, Peaceful Indie Ambient and Jazzy Dinner.
6. Engage in light conversation
I know it’s tricky at the moment, but try to steer the conversation away from heavy, contentious issues like politics. Blue Monday is not the day to be solving climate change or world peace – recognise when the conversation is taking a controversial turn and get it back on track with some fun talking points or dinner party games. This will help keep everyone feeling comfortable and relaxed and avoid any awkward moments.
7. Bring the outside in
I’m obsessed with flowers, and I can’t imagine having a dinner party without a fresh bouquet. I’ll be opting for wintery whites for my hygge party, but sunny yellows and peppy pinks can give us the brightness we’re looking for on these bleak winter days. Go for one big bouquet, or several little posies to place in mismatched jars and glasses across the table.
8. Moderation, not overindulgence
Lots of people believe hygge is about going all-out with the overindulgence, but that’s not the case. In my last post, I looked at some other Nordic words, including the Swedish term ‘lagom’, which roughly means ‘just the right amount’. That’s what you’re aiming for here – don’t take a third helping just in the name of hygge, but ensure there’s enough food available to satisfy everyone. That means plenty of nibbles available for grazing, and perhaps a light signature cocktail (think lemon or elderflower) to keep the evening flowing smoothly.
9. Somewhere to relax
There comes a time in the evening when everyone is full and they just want to go relax somewhere comfortable. Ensure your living area is up to the job with lots of throws, blankets and cushions so everyone can create their little nests, and don’t forget to keep the food and drink topped up to make the hygge as seamless as possible.
10. Don’t panic!
Something always goes wrong, whether it’s burning the bread, spilling a glass of wine over the carpet or someone cancelling at the last minute. The key is not to panic! Hygge is sometimes described as ‘the absence of all things irritating, annoying or stressful’, so don’t let these little things get you in a tizz. It’s not the end of the world, so focus on your guests, maintaining the atmosphere and making the hygge as easy as possible.
What will you be doing for your hygge party on 16th January? Let me know in the comments! Full competition terms and conditions are available here.