How To Hygge Shabs

Lianne Sufrin

How To Hygge Shabs

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, 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 little 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, 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. 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, and 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 or whenever you want a little extra coziness. And be sure to send us all the pics!

Check out Wiking’s interview with Vice, and read this New York article about hygge. For even more inspo, check out The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living.