First and most importantly, get cozy
Up your ambiance
"You make an effort with the little things—we light tons of candles in the house during the wintertime. We always have music on at home. Always," Levy Redzepi says. Richard Tellström, Swedish historian and professor at Stockholm University, agrees. "You live your life indoors, but with a lot of light," he says. Consider giving your home a full sweep to declutter, too. Organized homes are happy homes.
Stay in (and indulge!)
Find ways to be active outdoors
"I take the kids out sledding whenever I can," says Sven Ållebrand, a Swedish native who currently lives with his family in upstate New York. "When you get older, you spend more time indoors and you get a little depressed. I rediscovered the joy of being outside—because the more activities you can do, the happier and healthier you are. Skating, skiing, hiking… even just playing with the kids in the backyard." Here are a few other snowy day activities to try with your family.
Think of the snow as a source of light
"The Scandinavian approach to finding the best in every situation is very important to us. People aren't pessimistic," Levy Redzepi says. "Yes, it's cold outside, but we're going to make it super nice and cozy and warm inside. Without the cold, we won't appreciate the summer or spring. So we sit back and enjoy this time." Here are ways to be optimistic every day.
Cook for others
If the Danish "hygge" is about warmth and coziness, the Swedish "fika"—a term used to describe the time Swedes take to drink their coffee alongside close friends or colleagues—reminds us these feelings are best when shared with those we love. "The fika is not an occasion to talk about work. It's a time to talk about what you did during the week—how your husband is doing or what your plans are for the weekend," Tellström says. "When it's dark outside, we see it as a good occasion to do things together indoors. Being social is what makes all of us happy, wherever we live on this earth. It doesn't matter if you live in a country where you have sunshine 24 hours per day. Sunshine doesn't make you happy. People do. And we believe that."