Ways To Keep Warm And Cosy Through Winter

Matt Brown
Dec 12, 2023 By Matt Brown
Originally Published on Nov 05, 2020
A girl and a baby wearing winter clothes
Age: 0-99
Read time: 3.4 Min

Don’t mourn for the summer; embrace the winter. Those shorter days and darker evenings are your opportunity to spend quality time with the family -- especially with lockdowns and restrictions limiting our outdoor life.

The Danish concept of hygge (pronounced ‘heurgha’ or ‘hoo-ga’) has found wider popularity in recent years. The word, whose nearest English equivalent is “cosy”, describes a feeling of warmth, calmness and togetherness while all outside is dark and cold. Here, then, are the best ways to experience hygge as a family during the winter months.

Make A Cosy Space

To get into the spirit of hygge, you need to find somewhere warm and comfortable to cosy up. A sofa will do nicely, but how about making a special den of snuggles? Try these ideas for building an indoor fort (including a sofa fort!), or a torch-lit reading den. You might even attempt an indoor camping expedition. If that all seems too much like hard work, simply adorn your living room with more blankets and cushions to make things snug.

Women wearing winter clothes

Snuggle Up For A Film

Most families now have access to on-demand TV, which makes it a doddle to plan a movie evening. The main problem is narrowing things down. These lists should help. Try the must-watch films for under-12s, the best Studio Ghibli films for kids, or the best Netflix films for kids by age. Teens might appreciate the 21 best coming of age movies, while everyone can get behind the 10 best Pixar films of all time. Just pick something that’s not too frenetic.

Cosy Clothes

It’s tempting enough to stay in the PJs all day, or keep the baby in sleepsuits, and that’s all perfectly fine and hygge. But to take the snuggliness to the next level, check out these unicorn onesies and toastie slippers for bonus warmth.

Get The Lighting Right

Changing the lighting can have a big effect on mood and atmosphere. Use a dimmer switch, or a single table lamp to put the room into low light and everyone gets more relaxed. Candles and tealights are an even better alternative, though take the obvious precautions if you have small children. 

Play A Board Game

Before iPads, Netflix and smartphones, families would settle down of a winter evening to play a board game. It’s still one of the best ways to share quality family time without leaving the dining table. A good starting point is to check whether you’ve played all 15 of the “top board games of all time”. But we’ve also got a roundup of lesser-known games for all age groups. If you’re bored of the same old boards, then why not have a go at making your own? Finally, crack open the ultimate family favourite -- Monopoly -- and see how many of these cliches somebody comes out with.

Hot Chocolate!

Is there anything cosier than a warming hot chocolate? It’s easy to get things wrong, though. Most of the instant ‘just add water’ brands are a little bitter and disappointing. For a sweeter cup, go to the extra effort of heating some milk (or dairy-free substitute of your choice), and add a dash of vanilla essence for more flavour. If you don’t have hot chocolate powder in, you can make a decent cuppa using cocoa powder, sugar (or syrup) and milk.

Personally, I’d avoid adding marshmallows, foam cream and other adornments -- it just makes things messy and fussy, when we’re after something calm and relaxing (though kids might disagree). Most importantly, serve the drink in a mug with a wider rim than standard size; you get a stronger aroma and a bigger bowl to hug.

Get The Oven Going

An afternoon baking usually gives everyone a rosy glow, with delicious food to eat afterwards. In the spirit of hygge, take the opportunity to indulge in comfort foods. Browse through our list of dozens of novelty cake ideas, try these recipes for flour-free baking, or try these kid-friendly classics (mmm, chocolate concrete). Our food and drink section contains much more inspiration.

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Written by Matt Brown

Bachelor of Science specializing in Chemistry, Master of Research specializing in Biomolecular Sciences

Matt Brown picture

Matt BrownBachelor of Science specializing in Chemistry, Master of Research specializing in Biomolecular Sciences

With a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and a Master's in Residency specializing in Biomolecular Sciences and roots in the Midlands, Matt has developed a passion for writing about London. As a former editor and prolific contributor to Londonist.com, he has authored several books exploring the city's hidden gems. In addition to his work, Matt enjoys spending time with his two preschool-aged children.

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