First, MUSICA, and second… Hello All💞, and third, I thought I would talk about this thing that’s very popular in Europe (and probably all over) right now called Hygge ~ While we were traveling I would walk into a bookstore in Great closet Music christmas falalalala (cropped!)(great and wonderful) Britain, and invariably, on the front table would be six different books, all with some cozy atmospheric picture of H💟ME on the cover and called some variation of “HYGGE,” which makes sense when you find out Hygge is Danish for “cozy.” So I checked it out and it’s pronounced “HYU-gah,” but I like to pronounce it “HUG,” since the word embraces (so to speak) the entire spirit of Hygge. We’ve had Hygge for a long time around here too, but we’ve called it other things … the way my mom said it was,little-things

And sometimes it’s known as Living the Dream; or Having it All; or Living Large; or The Pursuit of Happiness; and let’s not forget . . .

derelict wordsOh yeah. It’s all about making a world of Contentment in your own


Unfortunately, we can’t control what goes on in the outside world, which seems to get more ridiculously uncontrollable every day, but we CAN control what goes on in our own homes ~ whether it’s one room, an apartment, or a mansion. Hygge has nothing to do with money, it’s an equal opportunity bringer of joy.word shell summer

Hygge is a state of mind and a recognizing that what you seek, you already have. I’ve perfected my Hygge in rented rooms and tiny apartments when I was younger. I make it every time we travel in a small train compartment when I bring along my feather pillow, my comfy slippers, a new wonderful book to read, my electric kettle, my favorite cup, my favorite tea, and some homemade cucumber sandwiches. That’s Traveling Hygge, there’s more to it, but today we’re talking bout Hygge In-House. In YOUR house to be exact!inspirationThere are a thousand ways to Hygge yourself, and if you’ve been hanging around this Blog long enough, you know that’s mostly what we love to talk about. How to make a Homemade Happy Life . . .homemade-happy-life

Over the years, I’ve recognized that most of the little things that make life wonderful are found in the same basic framework I use when I give a party: They always seem to appeal to one of the five senses, plus that magical sixth sense, the highly personal one called Good Housekeeping 1911-11“imagination.”  Because the senses are kind of your everything.  If they are constantly fed a diet of car exhaust, too many people at the mall, the dentist’s drill, fast food cheeseburgers, news of starving children, killer germs on the loose, and culture collapse, staring into your phone for hours on end, and perhaps a quick frisking at the airport, you are just not going to be happy! SO simple. You might have to go out and experience all of that, but then you can come home, where YOU are in charge. Whew. Look around your home. How does it feel? How does it sound? How does it look? How does it smell? How does it taste? Are there flowers, candles, a cozy throw for you, books, teacups? Is there toast and cheese? Are there pancakes? Is there pretty music that sends you to the moon?  Now for number six: see any whimsy, anything that only says YOU in all caps? The question is, does your house FEED you from the well of sweetness?

Little things in lifeHygge thyself!

health girlfriend how to be happy


When it’s all rainy and gray outside . . .


Make a fire or light a candle . . . light many candles!


Lots of you know how much I love houses ~ I have one room where there are only paintings of houses on the walls. Over the years, when I’m out and about, I might see a little candle house, the one with the green roof is my newest in this long slow-growing collection. I found it in Scotland where so many of the real houses are white stucco. What could be more Hygge than a candle IN a house? It’s the Hyggiest! And long, and slow-growing? That’s Hygge too.hygge

Light the candles and then go make yourself a cup of tea, and cuddle up to watch an old movie . . .word winter fall recipe movie snow


This is Audrey Hepburn and Gregory adorable Peck in Roman Holiday. Five Stars! I have a wonderful list of old movies that could keep a person busy and in Hygge City for a whole winter if they wanted!junetopartThis is the June page from my new 2017 wall-calendar and just a reminder, because the main thing about Hygge, as you can probably tell by just reading about it, it’s so HEALTHY! It doesn’t weigh you down, it makes you buoyant, up and ready to go! It’s priceless, and it’s a gift you can give yourself because it’s FREE!oh happy daylittlethingsthatmakelifesweetRead a book that will light your soul, send your heart to the moon, make tears flow down your cheeks, and inspire you to greatness. Read biographies about your heroes. I love reading about the life of Beatrix Potter because she makes me want to be a better person.💞


I think it’s very Hygge to put dried flowers in her books . . .echoes-quoteimg_7280

Even housekeeping and doing laundry can be Hygge, if you wait a moment and let yourself SEE the before and afters . . . and just how pretty wrinkles and patterns can be, smell the cleanness, feel how organized you must be as you are hanging things to dry, there in the Village of Hygge, where you are in charge of your environment, and your environment is not in charge of you.CountingBlessings


And how lovely it is to have your hands slippery in warm water caring for your things, washing them, loving them, making them last forever.  You can sing while you do it, and that will make the other people in the house happy too. Really, it will.🎵word home


Pursuit of Happiness


Luv-lee bubble baths, where all tensions rooooolllll away in the water . . . play the MUSICA! Because guess who’s in charge? You are!



It’s hard to find words for how wonderful a little petty-pet can be, but I tried.


Put something fun on the calendar, something to look forward to! Hygge is having a dream, and making it come true, even if it takes ten years!


Make a picture wall in your bathroom.  It’s zen. No one wants to come out of my bathroom now! See HERE.timetodreamquote


Have a Jane Austen tea party and Celebrate her birthday on December 16th, use her books as centerpieces, tell everyone to wear a hat … I have lots of recipes for delicious tea party food! (Just click on which recipe you’d like to have.)tea party


There is also Doing Nothing that is totally Hygge, especially if you find you are doing too much: sleep in! Do it in the coziest flannel jammies you can find. Keep the room cold so you are cuddled under the covers. Moosh the pillow around your ears to keep them warm. Don’t laugh. This can be done! As my mother said, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!” Put it on your calendar if you have to!get-attachment-aspx


This is Joe (look close to see him), enjoying the Hygginess of it all!


This was the sky over our house this morning, after a few grey days and even some rain.  How heavenly is that?quotestars over our house

When I was little I used to go outside at night before bed, to look at the stars, and fill my lungs with a big breath of fresh night air to take back to my cozy (Hyggie like crazy) bed with me. I still do it sometimes. The stars, they have secrets, and if you put your ear down close, and listen hard, they will tell you.❤️be an elf christmas

hotchocolaterecipeMy dad used to say, “Be an Elf,” and to me, that’s the same exact same thing as Hygge.  It’s a hug. Kind of virtual, but you definitely still feel it.  Christmas can be a  lonely time for some of us, especially if we’ve dreamed of a certain kind of magical Christmas but have never quite gotten it.  I say, this year, think about how you can give it to yourself … a nice big Hygge box of jammies and candles just cannot hurt, with a card signed, “Te Adoro, with all my heart, 💞 your darling Santa, who loves you.” You can wake up, find it all wrapped up under the tree along with the cashmere sweater he left for you, smell the roast chicken he put in the oven, drink the hot chocolate he made for you, count your blessings and be very surprised and thrilled.💝

hyacinths-for-the-soul And another thing this season: Be sure to Shop Small and Buy Local. Because most of the money you spend when you do that, STAYS in your community. That’s a very good thing. Very Hygge. Wear a cute hat when you do it, spread some sunshine.  Send love to Tennessee, if you have a little extra, to help the families affected by the terrible wildfires.  Send them a little Hygge. And that’s it, oh no, it’s not, I forgot, one other surprise I have left for you! Pretty Hygge too.


This is the Giveaway we have from the new Willard (which just started going out today, it takes about four days for it all to go, so be patient, and if you’re not on our mailing list, you can still sign up)  . . . Anyway the prize is a signed copy of the new Heart of the Home, a bird in a gilded cage for your tree, and two dream charms, one is Christmas Joy, and the other (the red one) is Heart of the Home…and all you have to do is leave a comment and you’ll be entered for the drawing!  BUT, there’s something else, because Hey, it’s Christmas, and Hey, we’re Hygging today!


Oh yeah, It’s Heart of the Home AGAIN, signed, like the first one, and also, the now out-of-print A Fine Romance, also signed ~ and there’s a little dream charm too, “Girlfriends,” plus, yes, img_7285it’s the teapot that we bought in an antique store in the Peak District in England that I wrote about in A Fine Romance … I thought, because I have enough teapots, that I would get quadruple the pleasure from this one. First I got to use it, then write about it, then I got to paint it, and now I get to share it. How much more Hygge can you get? Te Adoro, with all my heart, 💞 your darling Santa, who loves you.

So there will be two drawings! Two winners! Just leave a comment, and I’ll announce the winners here on the blog in a week or so, when everyone’s had a chance to enter, and I’ll email them too.

I’m home.🏡 Feeling so lucky! Happy to be here. Sending love to you all.💝


closet Music christmas falalalala (cropped!)

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3,190 Responses to HYGGE for the HOLIDAYS

  1. Paula says:

    Yes, living alone makes it especially important to have a cozy home. Your inspiration has helped make mine more comfy. Thanks so much for all you do!

  2. Nancy Allison says:

    I love reading about your travels. You give wonderful descriptions of the places you visit. My dad gave me the spirit of adventure by seeing & doing unusual things. When I was 11, we took a road trip from So. Cal to British Columbia. When we were approaching Vancouver, we got into a lot of traffic. We went into a town, hoping to avoid the traffic. Daddy got out of the car to see what the commotion was all about. A few minutes later, we saw him running down the street. He said, “Get out of the car and come down to this corner. The Queen is coming in just a few minutes.” We hustled to the corner, and sure enough, a group of Mounties (in their red coats) came by, and then an open convertible with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. It was very exciting. We were traveling more or less the same direction as the royal motorcade, so we saw them several times that day. Thus began my life as an Anglophile. I’m so excited that Will & Kate are having many children. You have given my love for all things English a much-needed regeneration. Thank you.

  3. Maria says:

    I absolutely love the shape of that glassware with the thin red bands. So lovely…..💚💙💛

  4. Nanci says:

    As I read this uplifting and special post, I realized that I too have room of house pictures on the wall. I’ve always been drawn to houses and wanting to peek inside. Anyway this room is my sitting nook off our bedroom. One picture I painted from a photo I took of a Cotswold cottage with hollyhocks by the door. Only one of 4 is not a house but a photo of lake ullswater taken when we stopped for tea in the Lake District after a long hike full of green hills, herdwick sheep and stone walls. And by the way we stayed at Sawrey House inn next to Beatrix Potter’s cottage in Near Sawrey. I need to go back! Could move there!

  5. mimi lulu says:

    We subscribe to the New Yorker and every day I get in my email something called the New Yorker Today, highlighting articles that may or may not show up in this week’s coming magazine. Today: “The Year of Danish Coziness” with this sentence as a teaser-“At least six books about hygge, the Scandinavian concept of comfortable conviviality, were published in the US in 2016.”
    Better check this all out–I know I will :}

  6. Julie Ann says:

    “You are my sunshine” Susan Branch! I just want to spend four hours at a time chatting and dreaming with you over a cuppa, as I do with my angel friend, Celeste, of 42 years! Hubs and I just moved 19 miles as the crow flies, but an hour and a half by car and ferry, to a little seaside town. This 115 year old farm house is my Dream of all dreams! My idea is for this huggy place to be a free bed and breakfast for all our friends and family! I know you would feel at home here, as we are kindred spirits, so I hope to have you and Joe visit in the near future, and then I can add your picture to my photo wall! Love, love and a big hygge from the Great Pacific Northwest, and your one in a millionth girlfriend, Julie Ann.

  7. Deb says:

    A very Happy New Year, Susan! Always enjoy your blog and beautiful pictures and writings.

  8. Cindy says:

    Love the post! I have been researching hygge since Sept. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  9. Marilyn Young says:

    Love your blogs/postings/emails, and etc.

    You know, I’ve been hearing about your wonderful Dad and I’m so sorry he’s no longer here, although we both know full well, he’s trapsing around watching every move you make, because that’s what Father’s do! I know, because I had a beloved Dad too. He left this earth way to early at 68, but I think of him alot, a whole lot. Now I wonder about your Mom? Will we get to know her too? I love parents and grandparents and great grandparents, Of which I am, etc. Thanks for the lovely drawings, paintings with pretty colors, and all you do for and with us Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      My Dad loved to go on the Blog and make comments and give advice and “Be the Dad” here, I never knew when he would show up or what he would say, and it was usually something very funny to me (family jokes!) . . . but my mom is much more private, she also has no interest in the computer. I wrote about her in my Fairy Tale Girl, because she was the original FTG, you can read about my wonderful mom in that book. Yes, thank you Marilyn, where we come from is as important as where we’re going, it can inspire us in SO many positive (or negative) ways, whether we had happy childhoods or not. My Mom taught me how IMPORTANT the job of motherhood is to kids (and therefore to the world). It’s everything. xoxo

  10. Marilyn Young says:

    Keep these posts, recipes, pretty things that brighten up our day coming!

  11. Susan Embody says:

    You’ve made me feel real! Thankyou!

  12. Terri Lowe says:

    I found this posting this morning, and reading it was a wonderful way to spend some quiet time. I recently discovered you and now am reading A Fine Romance for the second time, a bit before going to sleep each night (for sweet dreams). I have traveled to England three times, and hope to go again. My first time was when I was 47 (almost 20 years ago) and went on my own, traveling on trains and staying in B&Bs. A fairy tale girl’s dream come true. All your books are now in a neat stack in my living room, reminding me of simple beauty and wild possibilities, and I am thinking I would like to play with sketching and painting using your little pictures as my training ground! You have enriched my single life!

  13. Deborah Metzger says:

    Our temperatures in Minnesota in January range from 30 degrees above zero to 20 or 30 degrees below zero. Today is one of those single digit snowy days and, since I have the freedom to schedule my work days however I want, I enjoyed scheduling a day off and snuggling in a soft bed all to myself instead of driving over slippery roads.
    Looking up country decorating ideas online or watching recorded TV shows about country decorating make my cottage style condo feel extra cozy.

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