The Danish are known for being the happiest people in the world. Some attribute this sense of well-being to the pursuit of hygge (pronounced "hoo-gah"), a feeling of contentment by creating a cozy atmosphere of the good things shared with the good people in your life—a mindful break from the demands of everyday life.
And there's nothing more demanding than the winter holidays. So with that in mind, we rounded up a few local finds to help you take pleasure in those blissful hygge moments—everything from a joyful cuppa tea to a blanket that will soothe the soul.
There’s something about a warm cup of tea cradled in the palm of your hand that encourages a time out. I tend to reach for Tea Forté blends—gourmet loose-leaf tea housed in a distinctly lovely silk pyramid-shaped infuser. For the season, the company has crafted a holiday collection of festive teas titled Warming Joy, starting at $15.95. Nice, too that all teas in this collection are kosher-certified. Elysian Fields, 1273 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 361-3006
In The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, author Meik Wiking states, “No candles, no hygge.” Enough said. Check out Seventh Avenue Apothecary candles ($28), crafted in Tampa using American-grown soybeans and other supplies sourced in the United States. Treat Boutique, 1849-A Hillview Street, Sarasota. (941) 366-6369.
Nothing says "comfort" better than food. Making it good for you is just a bonus. I vote you go for my favorite seasonal, healthy comfort food: the Pecan Pumpkin Pie Bowl ($14) at Crop Juice. It’s a blend of vanilla almond milk with pumpkin puree, pecan-cashew butter, banana, fresh ginger and pumpkin pie spice—and it’s topped with more goodness like maple syrup, pumpkin seeds, granola, banana slices and a yummy drizzle of coconut nectar and pecan cashew butter. Crop Juice, 1605 Main Street, #108, Sarasota, (941) 954-8728.
When you need to unwind in a hot bath, reach for Aveda’s Stress-Fix Soaking Salts ($42). The salts are crafted with certified organic lavender, lavandin and clary sage, formulated using the power of pure essentials oils. Just typing the names of those soothing herbs shifts my thoughts into low gear. And I can attest that the scents linger in the air long after the tub has drained, too. Nuovo Salon Group, 4952 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 684-9000.
Then there are times when you just need to turn the air conditioning down to December and cuddle under a blanket. My recommendation is the Parisienne faux fur throw from Soft Surroundings ($89.95). Honestly, I was not prepared for the opulent, soft-beyond-belief coziness. (It reverses to a velvety micro-mink, too!). This throw is the first thing I reach for when I hit the couch—it offers an instant disconnect. Soft Surroundings, 140 University Town Center Drive, #264, Sarasota (941) 444-3550.