Like so many of us, I sometimes struggle to make time for myself, and especially time for Shabbat. I never really had a set Shabbat practice growing up, so though I have a deep love and appreciation for Shabbat dinner, I wasn’t one to host… until OneTable. I just hit my one-year “work-a-versary,” and I’ve never Shabbatted so hard, ever.

I’ve come to realize that Shabbat doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to be stressful. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming to prepare. But it does have to be intentional.

Here at OneTable, we talk a lot about intention. What does that even mean? In Judaism, the practice of intention is called kavanah, and it’s all about meaning-making. It’s about thinking before your dinner about how you want to feel, and how you want your guests to feel. What kind of space are you trying to create? How can your decor and food and conversation all contribute to that space? For me, the ideal Shabbat kavanah is hygge.

Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is the Danish practice of being “consciously cozy,” and that’s the feeling I want for myself and for all of my guests. In an interview with Vice, Miek Wiking, writer of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living and CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen wraps it up into a cute lil package with a bow on top: “Hygge is the art of creating a nice atmosphere, socializing for introverts, the pursuit of everyday happiness. It’s about being together with the people you love, equality, gratitude, relaxation, indulgence, and good food.”

So I’ve created this cozy-ass, epic, safe space of calm to bring in Shabbat, in a not-so-traditional sense. I have twinkly lights, 132 blankets of all shapes, weights, and textures, pillows, the most extra candle collection EVER, and artwork that reflects my love of friends, family, coziness, and shared joy. It hits ya right in the feels. This might just SCREAM millennial, but my intention is not just to create a visually comforting space, but to make it FEEL comforting.

How does hygge overlap with Jewish Shabbat practices? In more ways than you might think. First, it’s about oneg, or joy. It’s about being with loved ones, setting kavanah, and creating a ritual practice to make Friday night kodesh — different, special, holy. Hygge Shabs has changed my observance in a deeply Jewish way. It helps me take on the world with a fresh, positive outlook.

I hope you’ll join me in hosting your very own Hygge Shabs this winter. And be sure to send me ALL the pics!

Click here to check out his interview with Vice, here to read an article about hygge in the New Yorker, and here for alllllllll the hygge pinterests. For even more inspo, check out The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living.

Last, but not least, check out our Mindful Shabbat Guide. We have additional resources to deepen your Shabbat practice with new teachings, movement meditations and ways of looking at Jewish ritual as a gift from our ancestors to mindfully pause, reflect, celebrate and nourish yourself and your community each and every week.

To me, thinking about and setting my kavanah of having a Hygge Shabbat has changed my Jewish practice, and really, has changed the way I take on the day-to-day challenge of life. Shabbat has meant more to me in the past year than ever before, and more than I ever expected it would. Shabbat is sacred. It’s a time for rest, for celebration, for self-care, for love, for peace. It’s become my time to reflect, my time for calm, and my time to express my gratitude to the fullest.

Host a Hygge Shabs. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Inspired? Click here to create a dinner or apply to become a host.

Lianne is a Creative Arts Therapist, foodie, traveler, and lover of all things Pittsburgh who believes in the power of connecting around the dinner table.

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