Last night I got to take my sons to the cinema. They’re hulking, massive grown up lads of 20 and 22. They tower over me, a fact they like to point out usually by standing on either side and lurking.
They’re one of my sets of cinema partners. I have a few, divided according to film genre and possibly time of the week. These two escort me to any superhero flick: Marvel, DC, Sony. If there’s a magical, mythical superhero element, then they’re the ones.
I have a daughter (18 next month) who is my chosen partner for romcoms, dramas, musicals and Disney. We like the local independent cinema, which serves Prosecco during the interval and has comfy red velvet seats.
My husband is my partner for heavy dramas. If it has a court room in it, is based on a John Grisham or has a newsroom, courtroom or confessional in it, he’ll watch it. I have other friends who I’ve been to the cinema with, but I’ve been film-watching with thi sman now for 30 years, so when he twitches I know whether he’s enjoying himself or not, needs a drink or just wants to settle down. That’s a useful shorthand to have when you’re trapped in the silent dark bubble of the cinema.
I find the cinema is the only way to get my concentration 100% on a movie. At home, I find I scroll, read, craft or do something else as well as watch the film. It’s a bad habit, I know, but one I’ve fallen into over the years. I remember fondly the days of Family Film Night, when we closed the curtains tightly, turned off all the lights and made our living room into a cinema just for the night. That said, I still find watching movies with my family is one of my favourite hygge activities. It’s probably our favourite thing to do on a Friday still, when we all flop into our chairs, nibble on the weekly treats allowance and watch a movie even if we’re also scrolling Insta, browsing the Puter or (as my husband often does) reading his weekly news magazine.
As part of my 2020 revamp, I’m aiming to do a monthly film post, reviewing just one film that for that month has given me a sense of hygge. I’ve got a few on my list already, and doubtless I’ll find more as the year goes by. Today’s post is not about one particular film, but more a hymn of praise for movie magic as a way to bond.
If you’d like to make your home film watching a more hyggely experience, here are my top tips:
- Keep the lights low, or as close to off as you can. That can be difficult if you’re eating supper at the same time as watching, but subdued lighting will help your watchers concentrate better, and complete darkness forces it. Home Cinema nights were a treat to my three, and one we’ve only recently fully come back to.
- Choose the films well. With younger children, you may find yourself watching the same films again and again and again… now, with five adults in the house, we rarely rewatch a movie altogether, but seek out a new or new-to-us movie.
- Some films defy age barriers and can enchant everyone. Paddington 1 and 2, Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Returns and old favourites from your childhood can work as multi-generational nights because they have universal appeal. Find the ones for your family. In our house, it’s Princess Bride.
- Heavy movies can work, but try to avoid deep political dissection unless that’s absolutely hygge for everyone in the room. A family movie night loses its hygge when there’s an argument about capitalism vs communism going on.
- Keep snacks simple. You don’t want a complicated selection that requires cooking and would drag one of you away to check the timing every few minutes. Crisps, sweets, biscuits and cakes. If you’re healthy, fresh fruit, vegetable crudites and nuts work well. Or have a mixture. Life is all about balance, and a little bit of both is better.
- Keep the room well-heated, or have blankets to snuggle under. We hadn’t actually blanket-snuggled and watched a movie together until Monday, when our heating konked out. Monday night we bingewatched an 8 part series, moving only for rest breaks and to fetch another cup of tea.
- Have an intermission. Pause the movie halfway through, top up drinks, snacks etc and let everyone have a stretch and a comfort break.
- Leave the credits running. It’s always been a bugbear of mine that there are a lot of people who work on a film who never get credit for all their work. Film scores often have overtures or specially selected songs running over the credits, and it’s also fun to see familiar names popping up (Mark Hamill’s assistant on Rise of Skywalker, for instance, was also called Hamill. Coincidence? I think not!) plus also , you never know when the name you learned by accident watching a movie might be the name that nets you a win at the local quiz.
- Pause after the movie as well. It’s good to stop and appreciate the gift of film, rather than racing endlessly to fill every second with motion and noise. I think that’s where DVDs had the edge over streaming services, because you couldn’t just start another one without moving. It’s good to pause often in life, a chance to breathe, absorb what you’ve seen and give thanks for the ability to see it.
What are your top hints for a movie night? What are your top hygge movies? I’d love to know.
If you’d like to support me….
My new book, Cosy Happy Hygge is available as an ebook or a paperback on Amazon now. As you know, I do the whole kit and caboodle myself, from writing to proofreading to designing and I’m very proud of this one. It’s about using rhythm and ritual to make your life a gentler, kinder place. Writing it has been an important part of my mental health recovery.
I don’t monetise my blog. I don’t run adverts, take sponsorship for writing posts or use affiliate links. I want everything I do on this blog and in my hygge life outside to be truthful. If I promote a book it’s because I’ve read it and like it, if I point out an item it’s because it’s impressed me on its own merits and not because the publicist has talked me into it. It does mean I don’t run giveaways and I’m not chasing followers, but the drawback is that I need to find a way to support myself.
That’s why I write books. My thoughts are that if I ask you to buy a book not only does it support me, and let me keep writing as an independent writer, but you get something back for your bucks. I’ve written several books, some on hygge, some on Christmas. If you like what you read here, or in the Hygge Nook, and you’d like to support a struggling writer, would you please consider buying a book? Ebooks give you the best value, since for 2 or 3 pounds you get the whole content of the book without paying the extra for paper production, but I’d be a pretty poor writer if I didn’t appreciate the beauty of a real book in the hand. If you buy just one book, it all adds up in the end to support me, and I’d be so grateful.
If you already have my books, or just want to support me as an independent writer, you can always just send me the price of a cup of coffee as a friend, to paypal.me/HyggeJem . I tend to use a lot of my spare cash on books that I review for the website, so every penny donated goes towards building my happy hygge life.
My first three books are hygge related, 50 Ways to Hygge the British Way was my first book, and is available in Paperback and Kindle version. It’s a simple look at ways to feel more hyggely in life and at home even though we’re not Danish and don’t have it in our DNA.
Happier is my fourth book. It’s about how I boost my own happiness levels. It’s full of hints, tips and ideas for you to use and adapt to suit your own situation. It is available in ebook and paperback version from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
I have three Christmas books,
Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas was released in September 2017 and is available again in paperback and ebook version. It looks at keeping the Christmas season warm and cosy, with ideas for activities and routines to keep Christmas happy.
A (Hygge) Christmas Carol is my look at Dickens’ immortal classic and the many lessons we still learn from it today. It contains the full text of the book as well as hyggely thoughts on the story.
Enjoying a Self Care Christmas is only available in ebook version. It’s about keeping Christmas simple enough and healthy enough to keep you sane in the process.
If you buy any of the books or some of the items through the links on this page, I get a couple of extra pence per copy, as an Amazon Affiliate, in Amazon vouchers which go towards buying more books to review for the blog. I’d really love it if you’d support me monetarily, but I quite understand that cash is tight for many people, and I just love having your support via reading and commenting as well.
Truthfully, I’ll probably never make a living as a writer, but I do make a little extra income that gets ploughed back into books and magazines. One obsession feeds the other…