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How to Hygge

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  • Socks in front of a fire

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.

Comments

Submitted by Shaun Purves (not verified) on

I am not a fan of winter, particularly early winter when the days are obnoxiously short. This year I have adopted HYGGE as my battle cry against the winter blahs. My home has been accordingly set up with candles and led light strings and stacks of books and magazines ready to be consumed. Since food is an important part of my personal happiness, I have also invested in high-end coffee for my mornings, expensive scotch for my evenings, and many kinds of cheese for the hours in between. So far it all seems to be working. Hygge!!!

Submitted by Cate (not verified) on

I love winter: walking in the cold, enjoying lots of snow and darkness. But I also love to come into to a warm home with mulled apple cider, my Christmas lights and my glider chair. I loved this little piece about hygge. It reminded me that candles and family, baking and giving to friends, reading with a cat on the lap -- they are all great ways to celebrate the dark, bleak wintertime that I love so much.

Submitted by Jessica (Queen'... (not verified) on

I love this idea, just reading it makes me feel cozy! Nothing better than curling up in a warm house with a fuzzy blanket, a good book and a cup of tea. Hygge all the way!

Submitted by angela caretta (not verified) on

Will hygge just as soon as I shovel and put the snowblower away. Hespeler Members hygge here in our deep comfy chairs around the library fireplace reading real magazines!. It's a lovely way to spend the afternoon. Hespeler--the hygge centre of Cambridge!

Submitted by Gillian Manford (not verified) on

I think I spend all year practicing hygge for the winter (my favourite season for just these reasons!).