How to Hygee in Duluth: Sanity in the harsh winter months

It’s this time of year —when we start dreaming about a vacation. Winter, snow and cold temps can start to wear on us. And we still have months of it to go.

We think we have it rough up North here, U-betcha, but it actually gets light later and dark earlier in Denmark. Come January, we get nearly two extra hours of sun over some of our Scandinavian friends! 

So we can take a tip from our fellow “light-lack’rs.” Hygee, pronounced hoo-ga, is a Danish concept that means “coziness.” And the coziness is a way of life for Danes that helps them embrace the long winter by doing things that are restorative and make them happy.

Here are some ways to get your hygee on in Duluth:

Sit by the fireplace with a good book in hand

Taking a vacation to a tropical island is not always practical or cost-efficient. What you can do is turn on the fireplace, grab a blanket and a cup of hot cocoa, and dive into that book that you have been dying to read for months but somehow never found time. Make time. Instead of bookmarking flights to Mexico or Jamaica, relax and allow yourself to be.

Crank that fireplace and put a Maple Bacon or Coffee scented pod into your fire. Made in the USA by Northern Lights candle company, these Firestarters are 100% biodegradable and 100% recycled. If you do not have a fireplace, they are great for wood stoves, campfires, and fire pits as well.

Light Some Candles

No fireplace? That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a soothing flame. Light some candles -- those ones you’re saving for a special occasion --  and enjoy the ambiance and fragrance  Sometimes thoughtlessly watching the flame flicker and dance is enough to calm an entire day of stress.

Northern Lights candles are perfect for that date that you make with yourself. Artisan candles fragranced with Smoke, which is infused with citrus orange with lemongrass, pear, light florals and sandalwood, or Desert, which is infused with zesty ginger, bergamot, lime, white tea, and spicy cinnamon bark, can bring you back to that summer day filled with family barbecues and games.

Enjoy A Bubble Bath

Rub-a-dub-dub, cold toes in the tub. When slippers and socks fail you, crank that hot water and hop in. Imagine you are in a jacuzzi hot tub with no to-do list, no worries, day dreaming of taking a dip in a Hawaiian lagoon.

Archipelago Botanicals Blue Sea Kale Marine line body wash, scrub, and soap could help you imagine that vacation destination. They are destined to soothe that dry, cracked, middle-of-winter skin while reminding you of blue sea lagoons just a flight away.

Play Cribbage

Why wait until summer at the lake to play that new cribbage board you got for Christmas when you could start a war today? A popular pastime in Minnesota, cribbage is a great way to fight off the negative feels of the frigid outdoors.

 Do a puzzle

Another great way to relax your body is to complete a puzzle. Get cozy with your card table in the living room and finish (or start) that Lake Superior Tall Ship puzzle that you promised you would do.


A few of my colleagues were talking about raising children and the one said, “I asked my mother if it ever gets better and she said ‘it gets different’.” I laughed, but since I don’t have children of my own, I compared this to the nausea we feel towards winter. Does winter ever get better? No, it gets different. It turns into spring and spring transforms to summer.

Much like raising children, the clock always ticks. The children continue to grow and learn and the seasons change.

You might try to do things with your four children and fail miserably.

You might get snowed-in and have to shovel your way to work.

The clock keeps ticking. Why not embrace that which is? Stop, breathe, hug your child a little tighter, and shovel your way to that bottle of Pinot Grigio in the fridge.

Hygee like the Danes.