20 feel-good books, movies, TV shows and games to enjoy this winter | Culture


True while practicing Hygge can usually involve mindful appreciation of your surroundings. Escapism is a necessary form of comfort and self-care for many people – be it in the form of a calming game, a light-hearted movie, or a good book (at least this last activity is hygge-approved). Here are some suggestions of soft, cozy feel-good media to consume while enjoying a warm winter indoors.


Life of Pi: Shipwreck with Tiger

From Yann Martel

A boy stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger embarks on a philosophical and spiritual journey that has enchanted readers for years. This book has exactly the calming, inspiring atmosphere that is needed right now.

Gmorning, Gnight !: Little Pep speaks for me and you

By Lin Manuel Miranda

This is not a book that you will read cover to cover in one sitting, which makes it all the better for a healthy, balanced, and hygienic life. In this illustrated volume of affirmations, Hamilton creator Lin Manuel Miranda offers daily advice to keep your mood going.

Wow, no thanks .: essays

From Samantha Irby

In a series of autobiographical essays, Samantha Irby deals with important topics with heavy humor – such as growing up black and queer in a small town. She takes both the everyday and the amazing and distills them into bite-sized pieces for us.

Own archive

From all

What is your favorite movie? Book? Tv show? Search for it on archiveofourown.org and discover sites full of fanfiction – fan-written stories in established universes. Pick the rating, filter out content you don’t like, and find some serious gems from amateur writers.


The fire never goes out: a memory in pictures

By Noelle Stevenson

She-Ra creator Noelle Stevenson gives readers a glimpse into the ups and downs of their young adult lives, exploring beliefs, sexuality, creativity and mental health. Your memories may go dark, but overall it’s a reminder that we can do anything with perseverance.

Video games

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

On your own, somewhat deserted island, you can customize a village with cute animal characters, catch fish and beetles, grow flowers, and make friends. If you want a video game that feels like a hug, you have it.

Stardew Valley

Building on the tradition of titles like Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons, this indie farming game has received praise for adopting only the best of the farming game genre. With consistent updates, you will never get bored.


In this “comfortable management game about dying” you play as Stella, a ferry master for the ghosts of the deceased. The gameplay features farming, mining, harvesting, crafting, exploration, and customization – you name it that it will appeal to a wide range of players.


Fine art and music make this a must see. Explore a desert landscape and ancient ruins as you travel to a distant mountain peak. On your way you will meet other players – silent, anonymous companions. Help each other, and then break up.



It’s easy to spend hours in Minecraft’s creation mode, building entire cities, replicating real or fantasy locations, and generally just letting your creativity run wild. Put on some tunes and escape this beloved world of building blocks.


My neighbor Totoro

Really anything from Studio Ghibli could be put on this list, but this classic Hayao Miyazaki film goes beyond age and interest and will appeal to most who watch it. Totoro offers us all a strange, wonderful and calming world.

Big Eden

In this heartwarming romantic comedy, a painter returns to his hometown of nowhere in Montana, where he forges a new connection with the nicest man who ever existed in movies – and the whole city conspires to build it. Available to buy or rent on Amazon Prime


This new short film follows a painter who, after an incredible loss, tries to rediscover his inspiration. Without dialogue, Canvas relies on stunning imagery to convey heartbreak and joy. A wonderful film of resilience. Available on Netflix.

Princess bride

If a cult classic should be on a list of feel-good films, it is this one. A simple and traditional fairy tale romance is turned upside down, and a cast of great characters and outstanding actors absolutely crushes it. Available at Disney +.


Okay, we all cried for the first 10 minutes of Up – big, fat, ugly tears – but the rest of this cute Pixar movie makes up for its initial heartbreak. If you want to relax with a box of tissues and feel good about humanity, this is it. Available at Disney +.

Television shows

The good place

Get ready for a good time. The Good Place is a wild ride from start to finish, equally fun and heartfelt. Trapped in heaven where she doesn’t belong, Eleanor tries to learn to be a good person. At the start. Available on Hulu and Netflix.


The good place

Great British baking show

I mean of course, right? Unlike American cooking shows, in this competition the contestants often work together, lift each other up, and overall are so damn British on everything. It is a pleasure. Select seasons available through PPLD or Netflix.

Queer Eye

Dubbed “more than a makeover,” this reality show takes a person who needs a bit of help and gives it to them in spades. Four gay men and a non-binary force of nature renovate the house, heart and wardrobe with a lot of love. Available on Netflix.

Zoey’s extraordinary playlist

Here’s a newer show for you: This 2020 musical comedy-drama features a young woman who can hear people’s thoughts – through songs. It’s a clever way to explore those calm emotions that we’ve buried, and season two recently kicked off on NBC. Available on Hulu.

Steven Universe

You can catch up (or look back at) this gem – will you get it? – a show now that the series and film are widespread. Young Steven, raised by three superpowered aliens known as crystal gems, learns lessons from life and comes into his own. Select seasons available through PPLD or Netflix.

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