Hygge (hoo-ga) is Danish for cozy

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#HOWIHYGGE: Aimee's Holiday Hygge

Posted on December 22, 2015 by Melissa Andersen

For us, hygge isn't just a concept, it's a way of life, and that's no more evident than during Christmas. So today, we're doing things a little differently around here, and instead of interviewing the talented designers we know and love, we're interviewing each other about how we find hygge during the holidays (and beyond!). 

Next up is Aimee, who shares her secret to instant (furry) hygge, her favorite holiday foods, and how she embraces the cold Minnesota winters.

The boys enjoying life at the cabin

H&W: Hygge is at the heart of everything you do at H&W. What does that word mean to you?

AL: It’s just that feeling you get when you’re perfectly content in a simple, everyday moment. For me, it’s laying on the couch in front of the fire and reading magazines all day up at the cabin, snuggling with the dogs, watching a movie with my husband and boys, eating my husband’s “homemade” popcorn, sitting around the dining room table with friends for hours after dinner’s over, visiting (and drinking).

Mom's Christmas tree

H&W: What are some of your favorite ways to add a little extra hygge to your holiday

AL: Most of them involve food or drinks! I’m not a big holiday decorator, so I focus on making special meals and enjoying more cocktails with friends. I always cook a New Mexican Christmas Eve dinner – being from New Mexico and living in Minnesota, I love that our kids still get a taste of the food traditions I grew up with. I make a big pot of posole, and we get great tamales from a local place. And for dessert I fry up sopaipillas – yum! Last year we spent Christmas in Paris, and I fell madly in love with hot wine. It was available EVERYWHERE and was delicious. So this year I plan on making and serving lots of hot wine during the holidays.

The boys with mom's reindeer

 Our annual Holiday Singalong Jamboree

H&W: The holidays are all about tradition, which is exactly what makes them so special. What's your favorite holiday tradition that hasn't changed over the years? Do you have any traditions that you've updated or put a special twist on?

AL: My mother is an amazing holiday decorator – she puts fancy department stores to shame! Every year, she puts out this reindeer stuffed animal right by the fireplace and stockings because my dad gave it to her the first Christmas they were together. I just love that this sort of shabby reindeer takes center stage amongst all the beautiful decorations for sentimental reasons. And we’ve created our own holiday tradition with our annual Holiday Singalong Jamboree. We’re very lucky to have friends who are incredibly musically talented, so we all get together one night for dinner and to sing Christmas carols with our families. At some point, it devolves into the kids escaping downstairs to watch a movie and the adults singing Wilco songs rather than carols, but it’s always a fun evening!

Ice skating at the Eiffel Tower on Christmas Day 2014

H&W: We all have a special holiday memory or two that makes us feel warm and cozy inside every December. What's yours?

AL: My favorite one is a bit more naughty than warm and cozy – when we were little, I convinced my sister to unwrap and then rewrap all of our presents while my parents were gone! We almost got away with it, but my mom noticed that the tape didn’t match up exactly on some of the presents and we had to come clean. My favorite recent memory is watching the boys ice skate on the Eiffel Tower on Christmas day last year – it was a beautiful evening, and the tower was all lit up – it was so wonderful that it felt completely surreal. I know it’s something I will always remember, and I hope the boys will, too.

H&W: Hygge isn't just for the cold winter months! How do you add hygge to your home all year round?

AL: We have three dogs who are pretty much instant hygge!

Ice skating on the Lake of Isles

H&W: Where do you go around where you live when you need a little extra holiday hygge or spirit?

AL: Ice skating on Lake of the Isles is a favorite thing to do around the holidays. It’s such a lovely setting and it makes the cold feel cozy and charming which is a pretty hard thing to do! And our cabin is our most favorite hygge place. In the winter, we just hunker down with books and play cards. The boys play outside on the frozen lake, and I cook huge meals. It’s the best.

H&W: Lastly, if you could have holiday cocktails with any three people - real or fictional, dead or alive - who would it be?

AL: Definitely my Grandpa Ed and Grandma Frances who sadly are no longer with us – I miss them all the time, but especially during the holidays as we always spent Christmas together. I’d love to be able to tell them all about the boys and share everything that’s happened in the past few years with them. And then, I’d have to say Bono, because I was recently very, very close to him (at a U2 concert in London with Christiana) and I’m in the midst of a pretty serious Bono obsession episode. Plus, I think that he and my Gramps would totally hit it off. Actually, the best would be if they could all attend our Holiday Singalong Jamboree!

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