Susan, Hespeler | November 23, 2016
I’ve watched several Danish TV shows recently, such as Borgen and The Bridge, and although I enjoy the storylines, it’s also interesting to compare the Danish lifestyle with that in North America. The climate in Denmark is often cold and bleak, with the flat landscape providing little shelter from vicious North Sea winds, and in the winter, it gets dark early. Taxes are high due to the social welfare policy, and yet, the Danes are the happiest people on earth. How can this be?
Danish happiness is often attributed to hygge (pronounced hoo-gah), which is loosely translated into English as cosiness, or wellbeing. Hygge has been in the news recently, the subject of lifestyle articles and books, so what’s the big deal?
Hygge is the shared experience of simple things – a home-cooked meal with friends, reading a book beside the fireplace or doing a jigsaw puzzle with loved ones. It’s taking pleasure from the presence of soothing, gentle things, lingering over a meal, or baking cookies for a neighbor. Creating a hyggelig home means choosing contentment over perfection, with lots of natural textures and objects that you love.
So this winter I’m going to try drinking my morning coffee in the warm glow of candlelight with soothing music in the background, regardless of the storm blowing outside. That should get my day off to a good start, or so the theory goes.