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How Hygge makes winter photogenic

If you haven’t happened across the term hygge yet, well, let me introduce you.

First off, suppress your instinct to say “higgah” or “hahgee”. It’s “hyoo-geh”. Practice a couple of times, so you can correct your best friend over coffee later when she brings it up. (Just kidding, be nice.)

Hygge is a Scandinavian term that boils down to “wellbeing through comfort and togetherness”. It has roots in words for “hug”, “embrace” and “to consider”. It’s got to do with being intentional about things that make you feel good, connected, safe, and loved. And the Danish credit hygge for their ability to be the happiest people in the world in spite of living in weather conditions that give the rest of us Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Some great books and articles are making the circuit about the subject of hygge. 

And you probably tap into your own hygge without even knowing it!

Baking cookies with kids at Christmas documentary photo session

Slipping into your wooly slippers the minute you get home? Hygge.

Braving the wind chill to join friends for a low-key dinner? Hygge.

Keeping your very favorite warm throw blanket within arms reach? Hygge.

Making crafts with the kids at your dining room table because it’s too cold to play outside? Yep that’s hygge. Throw in some hot cocoa with marshmallows and you’re up to your cozy little turtleneck in hygge.


One way to up your hygge, and if the Danes are to be believed, your own sense of well being, is to just plan it. You already know what things make you feel cozy when winter gets past its holiday charm and starts acting nasty. Get intentional with your hygge, and make a little plan.

Invite over that easy-going friend, with the kids who play nice, and put on some 80s music and let the kids build Magnatile towers while you catch up with Cool Mom Friend and eat Thin Mints.

Make that stew your whole family loved, and play a card game with the kids after dinner.

Put your Christmas lights back up, sans tree.

Christmas traditions in Maryland

The magic of hygge lies in the intentionality – setting out to make yourself and others just a little happier, a little cozier.

And guess what: all this hygge — it makes for great family photo moments.

Documentary family photography was made for moments like these. Even when things don’t go exactly according to plan, you’re still taking time to give yourself what you need to feel happy, and that kind of family togetherness will always result in photos that show The Love, that make you feel The Happy years down the road, every time you look at them.

Bonus: next year you can pull out your photo album, tuck your feet under a blankie, pull the kids in close and look back over your happy memories together.

So book a winter session, and get hygge with it. (Sorry, that joke only works if you pronounce it wrong…)

Mt. Pleasant Family Documentary Session


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