New Year’s Eve is supposed to be all about celebration and new beginnings. But sometimes, the stress of figuring out epic New Year’s plans, traipsing from party to party in the freezing cold, and the pressure to be somewhere amazing and have someone to kiss when the clock strikes 12 feels like no fun at all.

If you’re over it, here’s the perfect alternative: hygge (pronounced hoo-ga). You’ve probably heard of this Danish concept by now. The word describes heartwarming feelings of happiness, comfort and well-being during winter. And usually it’s all about creating a cozy atmosphere at home and enjoying it with loved ones. Sounds like a plan.

So invite your best pals over for a New Year’s Eve in—make it a sleepover, even. Or snuggle up with just your S.O. if that’s what you’re feeling. Here’s how to have the chillest night ever. It’s about to get real cozy up in here.

Slip into your warmest PJs

Skip the gown and the sky-high heels and just get into your fave pair of pajamas and warmest socks already.

Cook some comfort food

Everything about this night should be relaxed, including cooking dinner. Cook up a giant pot of pasta or a hearty soup or stew that’ll warm you and your guests up. To keep it even easier, make it in the slow cooker if you have one.

Prep the sweets

Hygge would not be complete without some treats. Make sure you have some chocolate on hand, and bake up a batch of cookies, brownies, muffins or cakes to fill your home with sweet smells and of course, to indulge in later.

Turn your living room into a pillow pit

Gather all your pillows and blankets and arrange them in the living room in the most inviting way possible. Make sure everyone has a warm spot to sink into.

Get the mood lighting right

Fill the room with candlelight, or make sure all your lightbulbs are warm toned and low wattage. While you’re at it, this is probably a good time to also light the fireplace and take in a little hygge for yourself before anyone arrives.

Make a relaxing playlist

Put together a playlist of your favorite mellow jams and press play.


Silence your phone and keep it out of sight. Ask your guests if they’d be willing to do the same. Can’t be having everyone staring at their Instagram Stories all night. This is not the time for FOMO.

Make a round of warm drinks

Just cause you’re staying in, doesn’t mean you can’t imbibe. Hot buttered rum hits the spot. For non-alcoholic bevs, tea is a hygge special. Or whip up some superfood hot cocoa with caramelized brioche.

Talk IRL

So many of us communicate via text or email these days. Here’s a chance to get into some really deep (or light) convos with your inner circle. Journaling together can also be really therapeutic. (Seriously, try not to feel weird about it, here's how.) Take a moment to write about your past year, your dreams for the next, and share your reflections with one another if you’re comfortable doing that.

Play together

Break out your crafts, cards, board games or whatever everyone’s in the mood for. Play, laugh, and how about another round of drinks?

Make a midnight toast

Don’t forget the champagne. Here’s to a happy and healthy new year. Ahh, what a perfect way to set the tone for just that.

About the Author

Dana is a Los Angeles–based freelance writer and editor with a focus on eco lifestyle and beauty—from vegan cooking to natural, cruelty-free skin care. Also a wildlife enthusiast, naturalist, and advocate for conservation and environmental stewardship.