Have you heard of hygge? Ever since the publication of The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking, the word is on everyone’s lips. Pronounced “hue-guh” Denmark’s best-kept secret is what has earned this nation the title of “world’s happiest country” year after year … for the last forty years. Yes, you read that right FORTY YEARS, as in four decades. That’s a whole lot of joy, people! With Christmas and wintertime just around the corner, it’s the most wonderful time to learn all about this art de vivre.
What Is Hygge, Exactly?
So, what does hygge really mean in plain English? The word is literally impossible to translate. It’s the idea of coziness, comfort, conviviality, togetherness, mindfulness, intimacy and contentment. It’s a simple way of life mostly enjoyed during the long, chilly dark Danish winter (hello canadian winters, right?). Here is a quick guide on how to hygge, just in time for the holidays and for the cold months ahead.
How to Bring Hygge Into Your Home
These days, it’s easy to see hygge as being just another home decor Pinterest idea. Although it is so much more complex than that, it’s true that a few elements are essential when trying to create a hygge ambiance. Don’t you run to the mall now! Hygge is definitely not a way to encourage people to shop for more stuff. The plan should be to use what you already have. Think Scandinavian decor and minimalist design.
Natural Fibres, Soft Lights, Cozy Spaces and a Christmas Tree
A hygge home starts with soft or natural materials like wood and wool. Let these four words guide your choices: lighting, warmth, comfort and coziness. It’s time to dim the lights, take the candles out and hang those warm-coloured Christmas lights all over the house to get the perfect glow. Of course, a Christmas tree is totally hygge, as long as you stay away from bright disco-ball style flashing lights. For warmth, nothing beats the sound of crackling logs in the fireplace, but if you don’t have that luck, don’t sweat it! Warm wool blankets placed here and there will do the job and add coziness to any space. Use nice thick rugs and cushions in soft materials to create nooks to relax and enjoy down time. All you need now is the perfect armchair to cuddle up in and voilà!
Take Care of Your Body, Mind and Soul
That is totally hygge. Yup, taking care of yourself and scheduling in “me time” should be a top priority this winter. You could choose to spend an hour or two with a good book or in a warm bath with soothing lavender and hemp oil while listening to your favourite opera. Either way, do like Scandinavians do and enjoy these moments of wellness every day, not only on weekends. Go for a massage, stay in bed, do what you please!
Simple Hygge Entertaining
The Danes have a few rules when it comes to entertaining, hygge style. First, forget loud pop music, wild partying and say goodbye to heated debates with friends about politics or heart-wrenching world issues. A hygge evening in good company is informal, stress-free, drama-free. You ideally spend it enjoying calm conversations, simple food and celebrating being together at that very moment. Be mindful, leave your problems and work-related complaining at the door and cherish that quality time with the ones you love.
What’s for Supper: A Hygge Menu
Because the whole idea behind hygge is keeping things simple and enjoyable, a hygge evening would definitely have all guests getting involved in food prep. That is great news if you are having the entire family over this Christmas! Isn’t it? You won’t be slaving away in the kitchen while everyone else is having a good time. Hygge is about that idea of togetherness and joy, not about what you ate or if that roast was cooked to perfection. Stick to simple food such as hors d’oeuvres, cheese plates, olives, crackers and other prep-free dishes. You could even hold a potluck dinner. For solo hygge moments, make sure to stock up on hot drinks; hot chocolate, tea, coffee, apple cider … and, of course, don’t say no to a sweet cookie or pastry!
Remember What Hygge Is All About!
Hygge is about no-fuss quality time alone or with loved ones, in a cozy and relaxing atmosphere. Our winters are just as never-ending and cold as what our Danish friends put up with. Why not learn from them and make those long months as hygge and happy as possible? After all, who can say no to comfort and slow-living this time of year? Merry Hygging Everyone!