Welcome to my final hygge gift guide for this festive season! This time we’re focusing on the fun side of hygge – not just languishing in front of a log fire, but the laughter and merriment that is so integral to Christmas. If the idea of parlour games or the endless game of Monopoly which inevitably ends up in someone throwing a strop when they land on a hotel-riddled Mayfair sounds too stressful, it might be time to introduce some new activities to your Christmas. These are my picks for bringing people together, doing things as a family and having a ho-ho-ho-hilarious time with your best pals. Laughter is VERY hyggeligt, so let’s give those funny bones a little tickle… off we go!
A jigsaw puzzle
OK, OK, this is a pretty sedate kind of fun, but I love that it’s such a simple, tech-free way to get the family involved in a project. I bought this Christmas jigsaw puzzle for my family to do this year – 1,000 pieces should keep us busy for quite some time. I also think that this colour gradient puzzle is beautiful, and if I ever completed it I don’t know if I’d ever want to dismantle it again. I’d kind of consider this 3D chronograph model a puzzle of sorts too – a puzzle in disguise maybe – or if you’re spending time with kids (or big kids), how about constructing your own 3D landmark – how about a Big Ben 3D puzzle?
If you don’t often get your friends or family all in one place, Christmas is the perfect opportunity to update your photo albums with some new snaps! This year, why not give your photos a fun twist with some ‘elf yourself’ photo props? Get grandma in a little hat, or Uncle Dave in some pointy ears, and snap away! You can also get huuuuge prop sets on eBay (like this one), or if you fancy an alternative to the usual mini screwdriver sets, whistles and plastic yo-yos, you can get some great photobooth prop crackers to add some fun to your Christmas table. For those of us who are saving a few pennies over Christmas, you can also print your own photo props, or get really creative and make your own. Glitter glue, pom poms, pipe cleaners… channel your inner Neil Buchanan and make something mad and beautiful (in its own special way).
Shots! Shots! Shots!
In Scandinavia, shots are totally a thing. Not like the shots you might do when you’re 18 and going to a bar – Apple Sourz, Jagermeister and tequila are off the menu here folks. Nope – instead we’re talking ice-cold vodka and aquavit. Aquavit is not for the faint hearted, I’ll warn you now! These shots are usually accompanied with lots of singing and a huge spread of food (you’ll definitely need to line your stomach for this), but if you’re looking to up the ante with your friends or family, why not invest in a cheap and cheerful shot spinner drinking game? This one definitely puts the merry into merry and bright, but it’s a fun way to drink to your health, Scandi-style.
In the UK, we’ll have cloud covering our skies until around March, so it’s not always easy to get our starry night fix in winter. As a kid, I always desperately wanted a star light projector, and I’d still love one now. If you don’t fancy heading out into the drizzle, this is such a magical way to elevate your evening hygge with your family. Kids will love seeing the stars in their very own living room (or bedroom!), and it’s a great excuse to get everyone to put their gadgets down for a bit and just enjoy the quiet time together. You can also get Northern Lights projectors – it’s not quite as majestic as the real thing, but if you’re not heading into the Arctic Circle anytime soon, it’s a fun way to pretend you’re hanging out in the Norwegian wilderness for the night.
Fondues and fon-don’ts
Who DOESN’T like a fondue? Whether you’re a family with sweet teeth or more into the savoury side of things, a fondue set brings everyone together. OK, so it’s not strictly Scandi, but who said it had to be? Let everyone choose a specific item for dipping, whether it’s marshmallows, raspberries or brioche for a chocolate fondue or sourdough, carrot sticks or red pepper slices for a cheese fondue, and let the eating commence. Sharing food is intrinsically hyggelig, and whether you’re sharing with friends or family, the hygge should be flowing in no time. Maybe you could make a festive fondue night one of your Christmas traditions! Just don’t forget to pick up a bunch of extra skewers for any surprise guests. I love the copper set I linked above, but if you’re looking for a super cheap option, this set is nice and simple.
A message from Father Christmas!
Yes, the real one! Portable North Pole allows you to create your very own personalised video from Father Christmas and his elves. You can pay for premium videos (such as videos about Christmas in specific places, or documenting his Christmas Eve journey), but the free options are just as nice, whether you want to make a video for children or grownups. And while we’re at it… don’t forget to bookmark NORAD’s Santa Tracker, and check back on Christmas Eve to find out where in the world Father Christmas is at any given time. Or for those of you who prefer your festive figures a little fluffier, keep a beady eye on Reindeer Cam to see if you can spot the reindeer warming up for the big night.
So that’s it! Are you introducing any new family traditions to your Christmas this year, or do you prefer to stick with your tried and tested board games and activities? Let me know – I love hearing about everyone’s Christmases!