What is Hygge?
Hygge is a Danish (or Norwegian, depending who you ask) word, confusingly pronounced ‘hooga’.
The art of hygge probably appeals to some more than to others. Well I say that, but I can’t really imagine anyone who wouldn’t find it a delightful concept, as it is my new favourite thing. But then I’m someone whose idea of the perfect day would be curled up on a comfortable lounge with a cup of tea and a blankie and a good book while the rain patters down outside. This is hygge.
The origins of hygge can be found in Norway where the word meant ‘well-being’. The Danes have embraced the word and the concept and apply it generously to everything, as you will see if you ever visit Denmark (if you are planning a trip, you should see my post about things to do in Copenhagen!).
Hygge is usually translated as “cosiness”, but it’s much more than that. It is an entire attitude to living well, enjoying the good things in life to the full, appreciating time with friends and family, creating a nurturing and comforting home environment, paying attention to the small details that make you happy. It is widely believed that this hygge attitude is why Denmark vies with Switzerland and Iceland to be the world’s happiest country.
I know we all feel that pressure sometimes – to be thinner, fitter, prettier, more accomplished. In a world where being busy is glorified, where having a hectic schedule is almost used as a sign of your own importance, how wonderful is the idea of hygge? I like the idea of indulging and being kind to myself for a while, and I’m sure we could all benefit from some of these very hygge ideas.
How to hygge
You are probably already doing most of these things. Hygge is about taking note of, maximising and appreciating the good things you have in your life:
- treat yourself to your favourite coffee
- indulge in new bubble bath for long dips by candlelight
- print and display your favourite photographs and memories
- enjoy a long relaxed meal and conversation with family or friends
- wander around a Christmas market wrapped up in warm scarves and drinking mulled wine (glogg)
- have a picnic or barbecue in a picturesque location
- attend street fairs or outdoor concerts
Complete your experience
Something that gives you all the feels. For me it’s a childhood favourite “Ballet Shoes” by Noel Streatfield
Again, I’d go for something familiar and comforting e.g. While You Were Sleeping
If anything calls for a cheese platter, it’s a hyggelit evening with friends!