It’s Friday night and you can finally unwind after a long week. And boy, do you need it. Except you’re so drained from the week and lacking in inspiration that you can’t decide what to do. Should you try out one of the new outdoor eateries in your neighborhood? Should you order takeout and facetime with your bestie across the country? Riddled with decision fatigue, you end up doing neither—instead you just scroll through Netflix for an hour trying to decide what to watch while picking at last night’s leftovers and letting your Sancerre get warm. Not a bad way to spend the evening necessarily, but not great either. Enter: Fredagsmys, the Swedish way of doing Fridays that we should all be embracing. Yes, the same people that brought us eco-friendly dish towels, the creamiest oatmeal and adorable baby names are schooling us on how to kick off the weekend. And once you learn our ways, you’ll understand why the Swedes are some of the happiest people on earth.
Wait, so what is fredagsmys exactly?
Literally translated as “cozy Friday,” the basic idea behind this Swedish ritual is simple: You relax with family or friends on the couch and have a nice, chilled-out time. Snacks are required (think: chips and pick ‘n’ mix sweets), watching TV while snuggled under a couple of blankets is usually involved, board games may be played, and many Swedes eat tacos. Yes, really.
Where does it come from?
This tradition dates back to the 1990s and was embedded into the everyday culture when a marketing campaign for chips encouraged everyone to stay home on Fridays and enjoy some junk food after a long week of working hard. There are similar concepts in Norway (fredagskos) and Denmark (fredagshygge), but I like to think that us Swedes do it best.
OK, so how do I practice fredagsmys myself?
Fredagsmys may look a little different for everyone, depending on whether you’re spending it with family or friends. For me, my fredagsmys routine before having a kid usually involved friends, wine and the latest binge-worthy series. Now it’s more of a Disney movie and Veggie Stix type of affair, but it’s just as fun and something we all look forward to every week. We turn off our devices and enjoy simply being together.
Regardless of whether you’re embracing fredagsmys with family, friends or four-legged pals, the main principles are the same: spending time together with loved ones and relaxing while enjoying some easy-to-make food (hence why many Swedes set up a serve-yourself taco bar but anything that requires minimal cooking will work). By building this day into your week, it takes the pressure off coming up with an amazing or big way to mark the end the work week.
And as for the rest of the weekend? Well, Saturdays are for lördagsgodis—Saturday sweets. But that’s a story for another time.