Hygge is a part of everyday life in Denmark. It is a feeling of well-being, often described as cosiness, happiness or contentment. Often associated with a warm, friendly atmosphere, taking time to enjoy life with family and good friends. It may be enjoying small things such as the ritual of making a steaming cup of coffee on a cold morning or taking the dog for a walk on a beautiful spring day. As well as enjoying these mindful moments, it may also include reminiscing about pleasurable times from the past.
Hygge might be sitting with a group in front of a glowing fire discussing daily life or cosying up with your partner under warm blankets the room lit up by candlelight. In the UK it might be enjoying an ice-cold beverage in a beer garden by the river!
You can’t buy Hygge but there is a whole market dedicated to supplying goods associated with creating a Hygge atmosphere. From special lamps to cosy blankets. Candles are a big part of it, the warm glow of a naked flame being far more natural than the harsh modern light bulb. Danish homes are filled with natural materials, wood, stone and wool rugs.
It is almost an intangible concept which in 2016 seems to have been adopted by the British consumer. There are suddenly a plethora of books on the subject and it would appear a myriad of products that are now associated with the word.
So what can we take from this simple philosophy to improve our own lives? Digging a bit deeper than the hand knitted wooden socks and candles it is the social concept. All the family and friends together sharing a meal, maybe after a long walk on a crisp winters day that can bring joy into our daily journeys. Take time to prepare a good meal together rather than throwing spaghetti Bolognese into a pan.
Bringing some of the outdoors inside is a good way to surround yourself with that warm Hygge feeling. This is why we often come closest to feeling the concept around Christmas time when there may be holly wreathes and baskets of pine cones. It is also why fake Christmas trees are so disappointing compared to a live fir-tree decorated with natural ornaments. Making handmade gifts at Christmas is very Hygge, especially anything knitted or crafted from wood.
Key concepts of Hygge:
- Cosiness / warmth
- Social / togetherness
How to create a Hygge atmosphere:
- Take time to enjoy the small things. Don’t rush your exercise, note the colour of the leaves and the number of clouds in the sky
- Cook a meal from scratch with fresh ingredients and then eat outdoors with friends
- Switch the TV off, light a fire and some candles, draw the curtains and snuggle up with music playing
- Make a snug area of your home, with warm textiles and natural materials.
- Create somewhere cosy to sit and enjoy a steaming mug of hot chocolate, maybe whilst watching the rain outside