Have you ever heard of hygge? This lifestyle trend is changing the way that many people think about their home and work lives. Pronounced “hue-guh,” the trend harkens from Denmark and represents more of a feeling than anything concrete. Hygge is a state of being or, more precisely perhaps, it is a mood; a different way of looking at the world that encourages slowing down and appreciating the good things in life.
What does Hygge mean?
Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian term that describes a cozy, comfortable feeling much like the one you get while sipping hot cocoa around the fire with your family on a cold Christmas night. The word loosely translates from the Danish word meaning “to give comfort, joy, or courage.” It is a gentle frame of mind that is now being used as inspiration for everything from home decor to how people live their lives.
Hygge has long been a way of life for those living in Denmark. In 2016, though, it became a trend in the United Kingdom. UK residents were inspired by books published on the topic and made the mass decision to incorporate the idea into their daily lives. In 2017, the trend caught the imagination of Americans. People began to post about hygge on social media, and several more books were published here. The concept was even featured a few times in The New York Times.
Aspects of Hygge
Hygge is basically synonymous with comfort. Are you comfortable lounging around at home in your sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt? Then that’s hygge for you. Love sitting on the couch under a blanket, binge-watching Netflix series? That’s hygge, too. Hygge can also be applied to places in your house, like a special hygge nook that is made for just sitting and being warm and cozy. It can even apply to furniture, like your favorite couch or armchair.
If you want to design a hygge home, a fireplace is a must. Nothing says cozy like a fireplace you can curl up in front of with your family, pets, or a good book. It is even more hygge if it is decorated for winter or the Christmas holidays. If you don’t already have a fireplace, you can get an electric one to gather around for the holidays. Just be careful with the decorations: house fires are not very hygge!
Largescale burning aside, Danish people say a fire is the most important part of creating an atmosphere of hygge at home. In Denmark, the average person burns more than 13 pounds of candle wax per year — more than anywhere else in the world. If you want to embrace hygge yourself, you can start by lighting some candles. They can be scented or unscented, but one that smells like baked goods can sure help to create a cozy home!
Blankets have always been a go-to for coziness. You can get a throw blanket or a knit blanket, or even get a heated one. There are also new weighted blankets on the market that can help to promote feelings of calm and relaxation. If you really want to embrace the hygge life, though, consider crocheting your own blanket. But only if you enjoy the hobby — you can’t be hygge if you stress yourself out!
Comfort and food go hand in hand all over the world. Hygge food is usually made at home, not bought at a restaurant. It can mean sweets like cookies and cakes, or it can mean meatballs and meat pies. Chicken pot pie is a good example of a hygge meal — basically anything that gives you comfort counts, especially if you feel serene while you are making it at home.
When it comes to hygge drinks, think warm and thick. Hot chocolate is a great choice, especially on chilly evenings. Coffee is another good one, as is apple cider. Hot tea can be hygge as well. Basically, any drink that gives you a warm, fuzzy, full feeling inside is perfect for the hygge lifestyle. You can pair these drinks with the hygge foods mentioned previously, or you can drink them on their own. They are extra special if enjoyed with family and friends, as well.
Solitude is not Hygge
It seems like there are a lot of things that are considered to be hygge, but what things are not? Extended periods of solitude, for instance, are not considered hygge. While it is hygge to snuggle under the blankets and read a book near the fire by yourself, you shouldn’t spend all your time this way. Hygge includes a community element, meaning that the best time is time spent with friends and family. Spending all your time looking at your phone is another not-so-hygge act. Phones are stressful, and hygge is relaxing, which is why it is so appealing in our hectic modern world.
There Are No Rules to Hygge
While it is true that certain elements are more hygge than others, there are really no strict rules. Hygge is doing what makes you feel happy, cozy, and comfortable. It is taking the time to slow down and relax and experience joy in the little things. Adding rules to that would only make it nerve-wracking and would not take into account individual feelings, which is the complete opposite of the lesson hygge wants to teach. So even if you do check your phone while snuggling under your covers next to the fire, don’t beat yourself up about it. Hygge is friendly and forgiving, so don’t get too caught up in trying to do it “right!”