Growing up, December was really celebrated and not so much for Christmas, but more as a tradition to making winter bearable since long, dark, cold days were the norm.
Greenery was brought in everywhere, baking happened more often, cosy textiles came out, more friends and family visited and there were lots of celebrations from Advent every Sunday to Saint Lucia, Solstice and then Christmas.
As an adult I keep that approach, making December more about celebrating cosy, charm and happiness than Christmas. The latter just isn’t the focus which is why I think I am able to avoid a lot of the holiday burn out.
I think by also avoiding malls and not focusing on Christmas, I can stay in the sane, charm zone longer. Which means for me, putting up a tree on December first doesn’t feel too soon. It feels just right.
Once the tree is up, the scents in the house change from summer fragrances to all things pine and woodsy. More candles are put around the house, more greenery comes inside, I switch from Ice Coffee to how tea and smoothies to hot porridge dishes. I bring out woolen blankets and darken the home up a little to contribute to a cosy, let’s stay in vibe. And like so many others, I put on my favourite christmas films and have them play in the background whilst writing Christmas cards, baking or just being plain old lazy.
Having this change is especially important since I live in Southern Californa which is not known for cosy, dark winters. I physically crave winter so it’d be easy to be depressed about not having it. So instead, I create my cosy as best I can with what I have. And it works every year.
My holiday decor tends to sway on the more natural side of things (see photos from winter past) and I think it’s just part my preference but also because I try to have a little winter celebration versus just straight up Christmas. I also gravitate to old fashioned things like mercury glass ornaments and vintage elves. Somehow, it helps me feel both timeless and present. And that’s definitely hygge.
These battery candle lanterns by Luminara on QVC are my favourite! Guests always think they’re real but they’re not. You can turn them off/on with a remote but I have them on timer so they come on in the evening and create the nicest glow in the hall. I put little fake trees and Scandinavian decor from Ikea next to them and it’s a nice holiday space without being too much since the wallpaper from Hygge and West is the year-round show stopper.
No Danish Christmas would be complete without nisse about (Danish Elves). Growing up we had the paper elves doing mischievous things that we put all over the house but now I just put a few ones around the home and the more traditional ones on the tree.
My tree is actually a fake (and also from QVC)! I’ve had real ones but last year the dryness instead caused massive issues with the tree and needles getting stuck in my dogs fur. So I went fake with lights built in and I have to say, I really love it. But, in true Danish fashion, I at least have real candles on the tree.
A lot of ornaments and my tree skirt are from Terrain or local shops from Philadelphia, Santa Barbara, London and Copenhagen. And my friends tend to send me some every year which I love. My stocking is handmade by Alicia Paulson who gave it to me well over 10 years ago I think. It’s nice to have things from friends around the home, especially during the holidays.
What holiday would be complete without a candle to match? My favourite winter scent/candle it Cashmere by Linea Lights. This I burn from November-February because it literally smells like hygge to me.
For December and Christmas, woodsy and pine scents take over. The Thymes Fraser Fir collection is the gold standard in my opinion. I keep a diffuser by the door so my home in the canyons smells like nature and I burn a couple of candles in the house. The scent smells real, not fake. It’s a Christmas must.
I also love woodsy scents especially placed over my fireplace. It really does smell like a (good) burning fire. And Diptyque’s Baies is also one of my favourite winter scents; it’s cosy and full without being smoky or sweet. Really good for people who don’t like traditional holiday scents.