Updated: May 7, 2020
Winter is still hanging on here in New England, much to our dismay. Three 70-degree days followed by a week of blustery ones has reminded us that March truly comes in like a lion. Well, here's one solution to those late-winter blues: Hygge. Pronounced HOO-gah, it is loosely translated as "cozy," but it's much more than reading a book next to a fire (which is definitely Hygge). In Denmark, where the sun is a rare sight during the winter months, Hygge is a state of mind that leads people to embrace the simple pleasures in life. Fuzzy sweaters, seasoned cast-iron skillets, and beeswax candles evoke the Hygge way of thinking. But so do spending time with friends and family, unplugging from your screens, and decluttering a space in your home.
The key factors in achieving Hygge aren't foreign, though Denmark lies far away from the U.S. Here's a quick description of some of them:
- Hygge is about comfort, which is unique to each person. What comforts you? Your answer can guide your journey towards Hygge.
- Companionship is important. Take the time to call a dear friend, write a letter, or plan to meet up for coffee in a favorite café.
- Choose meaningful decor. Unlike the Marie Kondo approach, which tells you to get rid of anything that doesn't bring you joy, Hygge is about choosing comfortable items, and it can certainly embrace your collection of Russian nesting dolls or salt and pepper shakers.
- Unplugging and enjoying silence brings Hygge into your life. When is the last time you just sat quietly and looked out the window? Do it more, and you'll notice the difference.
- Hygge pleases the senses, so think fuzzy blankets, mulled apple cider, and your favorite music. Cook more with those you share your home with: you've got sight, sound, taste, touch and smell when you're preparing a meal.
Intrigued? Want to learn more? Here's how:
1. Do some light reading. The New York Times published a great article that gives you more info and resources on achieving Hygge in your own life.
2. Do some topic-specific reading. There are some good choices for books that guide you on Hygge, such as The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (yes, it's pronounced "Viking!), or The Book of Hygge: The Danish art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection by Louisa Thomsen Brits.
3. Do some in-depth reading. Visit your local library and check out The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country. I'm pretty sure afternoons at libraries fall into the Hygge "yes" category.
4. Buy stuff that will bring Hygge into your life. Visit HyggeLife.com to browse all kinds of fuzzy, cozy, lovely items that'll show 'em you can indeed Hygge like a Dane.