If you have ever been on Instagram or Pinterest you have probably seen photos with the aesthetic of super cozy and warm - someone sitting in a bunch of blankets with a cup of cocoa. They are embracing the lifestyle known as hygge.
What is hygge
Pronounced "hoo-ga," this Danish concept encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life. The word is said to have no direct translation in English, though “cozy” comes close. It derives from a sixteenth-century Norwegian term, hugga, meaning “to comfort” or “to console,” which is related to the English word “hug.” Associated with relaxation, indulgence, and gratitude, hygge has long been considered a part of the Danish national character.
Hygge is such an important part of being Danish that it is considered "a defining feature of our cultural identity and an integral part of the national DNA," according to Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. "In other words, what freedom is to Americans. . . hygge is to Danes,"
What is the Influence
The Danes see both the domestic and personal life as an art form and not something to escape from. They incorporate hygge into their daily life so it becomes a natural extension rather than a forced and stressful event as many Americans see it as.
HyggeHouse.com said, "Hygge (or to be “hyggeligt”) doesn’t require learning “how to hygge”, adopting it as a lifestyle or buying anything. It simply requires being present and recognizing a moment that feels so sweet, cozy, charming, special or nice that you just have to name the moment". In addition to describing things as hyggelig (hygge-like), Danes are also obsessed with adding hygge to other words to describe things. For example, a hyggekrog is essentially a nook where you can get cozy—imagine a window seat where you can wrap yourself up in a blanket and watch the world go by or your favorite armchair where you do all of your reading.
Pinterest predicted it will be one of the hottest home decor trends of 2017 after activity on the site about hygge increased 285% at the end of 2016. People have tagged over 1.5 million posts on Instagram with #hygge and have also taken to Twitter to discuss the finer points of what makes something hygge or not.
How to Hygge:
Candles + Fires
An abundance of candles is essential to achieving ultimate hygge. According to Wiking Danes burn 13 pounds of candle wax a year per capita—more than any other country in the world. Another key element is a fireplace, especially in the winter, the most hygge time of the year.
Artisanal this and homemade that, rustic and authentic are all ways to describe the decor to add. Woven textiles, blond wood, sheepskin rugs, candles are elements to add to your room or home to make it more hygge.
Family + Friends
Gather your family and friends together or a nice dinner, game night, or even a Wine Wednesday. This allows you time to enjoy your loved ones and learn more about their lives than you would at a normal hour long lunch date.
Think comfort foods or bakery treats: bread, sweets, cakes, scones, pastries. Soup, hash or casserole are also popular dishes. Anything that might make you feel "at home".
Here are 11 Scandinavian recipes to help you achieve hygge.
Basically anything warm or comforting such as cocoa, tea, coffee, cider, or gløgg, a Scandinavian mulled wine.
Here is a recipe for gløgg.
There are so many things to do to adapt to the hygge lifestyle. Get outside go sledding in the winter or go on a hike in the summer. If you aren't too outdoorsy try cozying up inside and reading a book.
Drop the electronics at the door, keep the TV off and find other ways to keep yourself entertained. Nowadays we have forgotten how to have "Old fashioned fun" so pull out a board game or just sit down with a warm mug of something and just talk.
What about hygge in the Summer?
Hygge is a year-round lifestyle, of course you can embrace it in the summer! Have an outdoor picnic, a backyard dinner party, or a bonfire. Any activity to bring your friends together to enjoy each others company.
Remember that hygge is a lifestyle to live in the moment and truly embrace and enjoy what is going on around you.