Christmas in the Haarkon House 2017

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This blog post was created in collaboration with Carlsberg. All words, photos and opinions are ours.

This year we wanted to leave preparing our home for Christmas until we could safely say we had completed all of our work for 2017 and take some time out to really enjoy a stress free couple of weeks.

It turns out that our last project of the year allowed us to do just that, as we were asked by Carlsberg to explore the Danish concept of hygge (hoo-guh) and discover how we can interpret this concept into our lives.

Hygge is a word which has been used a lot in the UK recently and it’s often associated with staying indoors with layers of blankets and candles to create the ultimate cozy space. We quickly discovered it means so much more than physical coziness to the Danes; everybody seems to have their own version of hygge and it’s only when you begin to discover it yourself that it starts to make sense. It’s more to do with a feeling of contentment, appreciation for yourself and others and taking the time to do something which makes you happy.

So we started with something which makes us happy; we wrapped up warm and headed outdoors.

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Winter walks are great because as soon as the temperature dips below zero degrees celsius all of the usual sticky mud freezes over and paths become more accessible than the familiar squelch under foot of a similar route in autumn. Just a short drive from our home we have access the Peak District National Park and so we have plenty of places we can visit when we need some outdoor time - of course we have our favourite spots where we repeatedly visit and like to watch how the seasons change the landscape.

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We’ve never had a ‘real’ tree at Christmas - except for our first Christmas when we lived in the world’s tiniest flat and could just about squeeze one of those 30cm supermarket miniatures in but we don’t really count that. Last year we got creative and decorated a branch, but this year we wanted to go further to the source and support a local business so we headed to our local Christmas tree farm. We took our time to look at nearly every tree (including ones that really wouldn’t even fit in our house never mind our car) before selecting the one we wanted, the farm owner chopped it down and we carried it back to the car. It’s something we see people doing in the USA a lot and we didn’t realise we had it right on our doorstep.

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In our home we like to think that we’re pretty minimal when it comes to interior style but that changes a little for Christmas; we have collected quite a lot of things which we use to make the place feel a little more festive… pine cones, hand-turned wooden trees, vases and something all households should own: a handmade wooden polar bear. In an attempt to keep the place looking as minimal and tidy as possible (we are neat-freaks) we kept everything to a simple colour palette of grey, white and green - with the odd accent of gold to bring a bit of festive joy to the whole situation. Our wreaths are all made by us and are packed with natural textures that we saw on our walk. We have greenery in our house all year round but somehow Christmas foliage is different and it is really therapeutic to get our hands dirty and make something out of a bunch of ingredients.

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We spend nearly all of our time in each others company and tend to have our work brains firmly switched on. It’s been good to take the time to slow down a little and appreciate what we have and enjoy our time just ‘being’ together. What we’ve learnt is that hygge is really difficult to put into words (or pictures for that matter), and that really it means something different to everyone but in our experience it’s something that goes way beyond thick jumpers and sitting by the fire. It’s a kind of internal warmth that ignites by being around the people in our lives that make us happy and remembering to appreciate everything that we have.

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We’d like to thank Carlsberg for setting us a challenge that actually turned out to not be that challenging at all, but instead allowed us to indulge in all the things that we enjoy and long may that continue.