What is Hygge?
Hygge (pronounced hoogah) is the art of creating coziness, togetherness, and taking pleasure in the presence of soothing things. It’s about the atmosphere you create, and those pleasant emotions you can’t quite put a name to but know it when you feel it. Hygge is a Danish concept that has taken the U.S. by storm in the last year. In fact, I would be surprised if you hadn’t heard about it, or at least seen the word somewhere, prior to reading this blog post.
In short, hygge is about getting cozy, creating intimate settings that include anything from candles or tea-lights, to warm sweaters, comfy blankets and slippers, and quiet times. But it doesn’t even have to be quiet, hygge can also mean having a small group of friends over for dinner, or a decompressing session with coworkers over tea or coffee at the end of the day.
You’re probably thinking, I’ve been doing hygge my entire life and I didn’t even know it! At least, that’s what I was thinking when I first started reading about hygge in Meik Wiking’s The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living. Particularly in the past year, I have adopted the routine of tuning out the “real world” by about six pm each night, switching on the twinkly lights we have in the window and lighting some candles, as we make dinner and watch something on Netflix. We have lots of blankets on the sofa, and I love putting on my favorite slippers to keep warm. Hygge isn’t just a winter thing, although since January tends to be one of the colder months in Arizona, I thought it particularly appropriate to write about it now. Note: You can also create hygge in the summertime by camping out under the stars, gathering friends and family for picnics outside, hiking in the quiet of nature. Just typing these words out makes me happy already!
Here are a few ways you can create a hygge setting in your own life:
To properly hygge, lights should always be low, and lamps avoided if possible. Candelight, or low wattage bulbs in twinkle lights create the intimate atmosphere that hygge is known for. How hygge is that scene from The Holiday in the middle picture (not to mention Iris’s cottage in the top photo)!? Everything in that cute little tent screams hygge and, well, cuteness.
Hygge is about creating comfort, so dressing for hygge is all about dressing comfortably in warm clothes and soft fabrics. You probably have a ton of hygge-ish clothes already in your closet and you didn’t even know it! Think sweaters in your favorite color, socks that make you feel like you’re walking on clouds, and luxurious scarves to keep you warm.
Meik Wiking says “The high level of meat, confectionary and coffee consumption in Denmark is directly linked to hygge. Hygge is about being kind to yourself – giving yourself a treat, and giving yourself, and each other, a break from the demands of healthy living.”
I can definitely get behind that sentiment. He also says “the longer a dish takes to cook, the more hygge it is.” For us, the most hygge dinners we make are made in the crock pot. They simmer slowly all day, and by the time we get home the house smells delicious and warm. Other especially-hygge foods include hot drinks, like tea or hot chocolate. I love making hot green tea, or hot chocolate to savor while reading in bed or watching something light on Netflix.
What About You?
What are some of the ways you create hygge in your own life? Comment below with your hygge ideas and recommendations!
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