Spending time with friends and family is a great way to relax and rejuvenate after the stresses of everyday life. That’s why quality time plays such an important role in the Danish ‘hygge’, and why we’ve included it as one of the key components of a Great British Hygge too.
The hygge, meaning ‘cosiness’, is a traditionally Danish practice that centres around creating the feeling of warmth and happiness associated with spending quality time with others, amongst other things. As part of our series exploring what makes a British hygge, we asked a range of experts to give us their thoughts on how to get the most out of quality family time.
Erica Price: Mum Blogger @ Nine To Three Thirty
With more than 10,000 Twitter followers, Erica is a well known and respected parent blogger, who regularly shares her tips on parenting, childcare and life with a family. She kindly shared her tips with us for making the most of family time. Erica’s tips:
- “Eat dinner round the table together at least once a week. Talk about your week: the highs and lows.
- Plan a games evening. Board games are a great way to spend time together having fun. We like Monopoly and Cluedo, but Scotland Yard and Skull are new favourites.”
Michelle Atkin: Expert @ Conversations That Connect
As a mum of seven children, Michelle has picked up a few tips over the years to preserve sanity and also quality time as a family and with each child. Here are her top ten tips on quality time in a hectic house:
- Always have a meal together – preferably once a day, at a very minimum once a week. Every Sunday all the children return home and eat together. (as they get married and have partners, this is getting a larger number by the year!)
- Spend one to one time with each child on a regular basis. While it is easy to let the children entertain each other (or fight, squabble and bicker), making the effort to spend some time with each child is a must. Even if it is just washing up with them or watching x factor
- Hold weekly family meetings. The youngest child, who is able to write, takes notes and minutes. This is a time when everyone gets an opportunity to share their plans for the week and to co-ordinate diaries. A must for the amount of activities in our house!
- Mummy time – even if it’s just in the bath. Some time where it is just you and no one else. I have perfected the art of water meditation! Also sitting down at the beginning of the week and diarizing what needs to be done and accomplished. (Goal setting)
- Couple time – spend time as a couple just to refresh batteries.
- Plan rewards and holidays together. Ask the children to set jobs and what rewards they would like when they are completed.
- Turn off all screens – have a self imposed time when there are no screens. Get the board games out or cards and have a couple of hours, that is not just on Christmas Day, when you play the ‘old fashioned games’ (strangely we have quite a few power cuts where the internet dies!!!!)
- Communicate with the children at their level. Use texting, facebooking, whatsapp, snapchat or whichever social media platform to good use. Often teenagers will say things to you via a messaging service that they wouldn’t face to face.
- Cooking together – every birthday, each child picks their own birthday tea. This can be a great way to teach children how to cook.
- Have boundaries and stick to them. Children will break boundaries but they also understand them. It makes them feel secure. This includes bedtimes.
Nicky Roeber: Horticultural Specialist @ Wyevale Garden Centres
As a specialist at nationwide family garden centre brand Wyevale, Nicky regularly runs workshops and shares his tips to help families make more of their special time together. He kindly shared his advice on making more of your time together as part of a Great British hygge, suggesting some festively themed activities:
“A great idea for decorations is to make use of your autumn leaves. When raking these up, save a few, place them between two sheets of paper and pile some heavy books on top for a couple of weeks to press them.
Once they’re dried and flat, spray them silver or gold. They’ll look fabulous in a bowl or scattered across a table.
If you fancy something different to a real Christmas tree this year, try a Corkscrew hazel in a pot – the quirky, twisted branches are perfect for hanging baubles from, and will add an original touch to your decor.”
Chris Lee: Founder @ Silvester and Finch
Chris is the founder of London-based strategic communications, content and training consultancy, Silvester & Finch. We asked him for his advice on how to get the most out of family time in today’s digitally driven world. He kindly shared his advice:
“It’s easy to forget, in this era of social networking and always-on connectivity, that we are social animals that need quality face-to-face with other humans, and also time to ourselves to reflect.
In that respect, we’re not that different from our cave-dwelling ancestors; we still love to hear stories, share experiences and gossip. All that’s changed is the range of platforms, richness of content and range of people we can reach instantly.
Social media is just a platform. It’s up to human nature what appears on those networks and influences how we in turn respond to it emotionally, from the positive to the negative via the ambivalent.
Call it ‘hygge’, call it what you will, but it’s great to turn off and take pleasure in the simple things. And the Danes are the “happiest nation on earth”, so they must be doing something right!”
Claus Bermann: Danish Travel Blogger @ Visit Football
Claus Bermann, Italy-based, Danish football travel blogger from VisitFootball.dk. Being Danish, he knows a thing or two about a traditional hygge and he kindly shared the following advice:
“The Danish “hygge” is primarily a social event (could also be alone though) and it’s not a specific or well defined thing.
“Hygge” can cover anything from a cold winter night at home with your favourite TV series, a family summer barbecue in the garden or having a beer with friends at a bar.
Basically it’s about having a good time either with great company or alone. It’s about creating a time and space where you’ll find comfort, relaxation and joy. It’s a little break from the everyday (very) efficient Danish lifestyle and culture, where we allow ourselves to do something non-efficient and relax.
I guess you’ll find something similar in every country or culture, we’ve just given it the name “hygge” and in Danish culture we need a lot of “hygge”. Most Danes will find the time a least once a day to do something they’ll define as “hygge”.”
Ales Zivkovic: Author @ Huffington Post
Ales Zivkovic, author at the Huffington Post and owner of private psychotherapy and counselling clinic https://aleszivkovic.com/ told us why spending time with family is so important:
“It’s hard to believe that living in London—one of cosmopolitan centres of Europe and one of Europe’s most densely populated cities—could be regarded as lonely. But the people around us have nothing to do with loneliness. Loneliness is not the same as solitude. Loneliness is the absence of relations with others—the ones we love or just relations we strive for—because we are human.
As humans we are social creatures—that is in our nature—and as social creatures we want people we care for around us; we want recognition; and we want genuine relations.”
As a British manufacturer, we’re very proud of our roots and of what we achieve in this country. We’ve spent decades honing our skills and perfecting our water softener product, and we’ve grown our brand through a combination of home sales and exports to partners overseas.
We recognise that there is so much value in learning from other countries as well as our own, and hygge offered us the perfect opportunity to combine a foreign concept with home based values. That’s why we’ve put together this series of guides to creating the Great British Hygge.
If you’d like to learn more about Harveys as a brand, take a look at our about us page, where you’ll learn about our founder Harvey Bowden, our history and our future plans. You can find out more about our water softeners too, or book a demonstration to find out how soft water can contribute to an even more cosy British hygge.