Hygge Hacks with The Hygge Gathering
Early into selling the JMB Living Journal, we got connected with Kim Morrison, founder of The Hygge Gathering. Since our first interaction, Kim has been an avid journal user and advocate for JMB Living and we feel so blessed that the journal brought us together.
As winter approaches, we wanted to revisit hygge and share some great tips and hacks to add it into your lifestyle, and Kim is the perfect person to learn from! Kim was recently on Wave 3 News to share insight on holiday tablescapes and hosting gatherings. To learn more about her business and delve into all things hygge, we interviewed Kim to share the best information and discuss how mindfulness and hygge go hand-in-hand.
The Basics of Hygge: What is it?
What is Hygge and how did you learn about it?
K: Hygge is most closely translated from Danish to mean "cozy". It is about a cozy atmosphere and togetherness. I learned about it in reading about ways to manage depression and I think it popped up as a recommended book because the Danes are considered the happiest people on Earth despite living in the darkest and gloomiest conditions most of the year.
Why is winter such a good season for Hygge?
K: Winter is perfect for hygge, all seasons are for hygge! The days are shorter with less light in the winter which means getting creative with how we navigate our days. The Danish people use more candle wax than any other country in the world! Want instant hygge? Light a few candles. Winter calls us to cozy up with candles, warm drinks, and discover new hobbies. Most importantly, we can do all these things together. Christmas hygge is the perfect example.
What would you consider the core pillars of Hygge?
K: It's about presence not perfection. As a recovering perfectionist and someone who still deals with depression—this is my main ethos. Be present with yourself and the ones you love. Everything else can wait.
What are the benefits of practicing hygge in any capacity?
K: Personally, resiliency. If you do struggle with any mental health, it increases your resilience and fortifies your motivation and emotions with joy. Practicing hygge for yourself also strengthens your relationships and allows you to connect with people in a meaningful way. The tangible practices, such as creating an ambient space that creates comfort, can reduce stress and increase how content you feel in your home, and intangible hygge, from socializing or feeling cozy, is good for your mental and emotional wellness.
All About Kim & The Hygge Gathering
Tell us about yourself!
K: I grew up in southeastern Virginia and went to undergrad in the DC area. I studied political science and began working in politics after graduation—which is just about the most un-hygge thing to do or discuss because hygge is all about harmony and politics is certainly not about that, ha. But in my work, we built coalitions; so I guess I was still about bringing people together. I've always been a Type-A, go-getter personality so when I became very depressed after the birth of our second son, it really changed me. I had postpartum depression and anxiety that became postpartum psychosis. I was hospitalized. It was a terribly dark time. After I came home, I felt like a shell of myself. I always loved going and doing, hosting and organizing, but my life really took a long time-out as I recovered and discovered a new me.
I am married with two boys, Jack (7), Henry (5), and a Yorkiepoo puppy named Barney (3 months old). Fun fact, Henry and Barney have the same birthday!
Hobbies: I love to read. I've always loved escaping into others’ stories—my favorite genres are memoirs and historical fiction. Travel (I'll go alone and enjoy it just as much), thrifting/vintage finding, hosting, houseplants, trying to learn how to garden, and just being a bit extra in everything I do
What is The Hygge Gathering?
K: I started The Hygge Gathering to bring women together in cozy togetherness. I wanted to provide elevated workshop experiences with local artisans and women who desired to learn something new in a cozy gathering.
My business has evolved to hosting gatherings for private clients—some temporary event spaces, and others permanent, cozy spaces. My passion is sharing the spirit of hygge—cozy togetherness—with others.
What was your journey like from learning about hygge to starting your business?
K: I began hosting hygge gatherings in my home in fall of 2018 as a way to begin hosting again. It was very informal, just a charcuterie board, drinks, and unstructured gathering on my living room floor with all my pillows. It grew to include friends and friends of friends, and it was then that I began wondering if I could share hygge with more women. I have always loved to dabble in crafting so I began hosting workshops taught by local artisans in local businesses as a way to gather together.
How has Hygge impacted your life?
K: It helps me manage my depression in a non-traditional way, because it encourages me to be mindful and intentional and to step out of myself and gather with other people. The perfect hygge gathering is only like three or four people and I’m introverted, so it makes me feel really good that I gets to gather in a small group. This comfortable form of interaction helps me lean into who I am, and hygge gatherings are often considered “an introvert’s favorite way to socialize.”
What are YOUR favorite ways to feel hygge?
K: My go-to’s are candles, cooking or baking with my boys—my youngest especially loves to cook and bake—and enjoying it together when it’s finished. Hygge can also be creating traditions or rituals to do as a family. For our family, during the staple “cozy” months from fall to spring, we do family movie nights on Fridays and eat in the basement as a special treat to add to the experience, rather than the dining room. After eating, I lay down pillows and blankets and we snuggle on the floor to watch the movie. This tradition is very hygge because it’s cozy and we do it together with an element of routine and ritual. Hygge doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, it is very much what you make it.