The older I get, the more I’m acknowledging that I can loathe winter and all that it brings with it in the midwest — snow, cold, ice, darkness, seasonal depression — and also appreciate that it’s a time of year in its own right and worth finding peace with. I can look forward to warmer weather and sunlight, of course, but that shouldn’t be in service of dreading every moment of the season we’re in. Part of coming to do this has been through picking and choosing practices of hygge.
Hygge (pronounced HUE-gah) is a Scandinavian concept without a direct English translation. Cozy is as close as possible to its meaning, and the purpose is in finding pleasure in the presence of gentle and soothing things. Scandinavian winters are no joke, and while hygge is a practice that works all year long, it’s especially useful during the months where it’s easy to forget the power of small pleasures. Where winter is so much about turning inward, so, too, can be the power within hygge.
When it comes to reading, it’s not too hard to find and create bookish hygge. In terms of habits or routines, it can be as simple as reading a book of poetry every day or choosing to enjoy a chapter or two of a book while sipping your first morning tea or coffee. It can also mean building your dream reading nook, hosting small reading parties, enjoying delicious snacks alongside an audiobook, or a myriad other hygge activities.
Whatever your take on hygge, one thing is for sure: you’ll want to surround yourself in cozy, including pillows, candles, soft socks, and other bookish hygge goods to make your reading life as serene, peaceful, and comfortable as possible. While practicing hygge isn’t a cure for depression or anxiety, seasonal or not, these things help in establishing grounding routines that can become a tool in one’s toolbox for managing their challenges.
Some of the finds below will be clearly bookish in that they relate to reading or books directly. Others will be more on the cozy and hygge angle: the kinds of finds you’d want to fill a space with to make your reading time as magical as possible.
Bookish Hygge Goods for Readers
Add light and scent to your space with this vintage books soy candle. It smells like “aged paper.” $21
A hyggekrog would not be complete without this minimalist hyggekrog print. Grab it as a hard print or a digital file, starting at $10.
Your next reading pillow should be on featuring a book, right? $38 and up, with a few sizes to choose from.
Jot down all of your bookish thoughts in this cute recycled wood notebook. $17
Can’t stay in your reading nook all day long like you wish? Take your reading nook and hygge vibes with you on these gorgeous polymer clay book earrings. $36
If you can’t get your own cat to snuggle with you while you read, a bookmark cat will do. This bookmark is all cozy, all the time. $4
Treat your feet to these socks featuring gnome homes! Your toes will thank you. $13 each.
Not only is the name of this folklore and fables candle perfect, the scent profile is everything you imagine about a perfect cabin getaway. $16
Not all cozy adventuring need be reading only. Get your coloring on with this fun midcentury treasure hunt and coloring book. $10
This book worm banner might be the perfect piece of decor. $25
Not only does this cozy book sleeve keep your book physically protected from damage as you tote it around, but it also keeps it warm and snug. $35
Swoon over this sweater sticker. $3
If you share your books, make sure they are returned to their rightful owner with these fantastic fox book plates. $7.50 for five — the minimalist-meets-nature design here is just perfect.
Readers looking to splurge a bit and indulge the need for a new bookshelf statement piece need look no further. This oak table is perfect for all of your big books, your current reads, or any other books worthy of display. $320
The sloth is such a perfect animal for this season: it knows how to slow down, relax, and rest. This sloth print would look great in your reading space…or in your office, honestly. $30
The perfect fabric print for your next blanket, pillow case, or other sewing project. $5 a yard.
The goddess Hestia was all about hearth and home and is the inspiration behind this gorgeous linocut reading print. $42
The perfect hygge necklace charm to wear when you’re settling in for a long winter’s read. $20
No, this mug does not have books on it. Yes, this mug is amazing. Dig into your favorite beverage with your book in this folksy fox camping mug. $25
You’re here for hygge but you’re a rebel and not into the folksy or Scandinavian vibe? I’ve got you with this awesome antagonist candle. It smells of black pepper, lavender, and bergamot — in other words, amazing. $29
– Kelly Jensen