This winter I’ve been reading up on something the Danish call hygge (pronounced hoo-guh or hoo-ga, or something along those lines–my Danish is a little rusty), and it just seems like exactly the sort of thing that would appeal to a lot of readers (and writers). Especially during cold and grey weather, which is why I’m sharing it with you now.
Hygge is all about an appreciation–or maybe even a celebration–of all things cozy and homey, usually simple pleasures instead of fancy ones. Things like cups of hot cocoa or tea; a slice of freshly-baked bread or even just the smell of it filling the air while it’s baking; warm, fuzzy socks and blankets; fresh flowers; beautiful music; maybe a pot of homemade soup simmering away on the stove… And candles. Definitely candles and all of that lovely, flickering light.
If all those things aren’t conducive to curling up in a comfy spot with a good book, I don’t know what is. And according to the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen (yes, that’s a real institute), an appreciation of these kinds of simple pleasures are also a key ingredient to one’s level of contentment with life, and since the Danish are commonly acknowledged as the happiest people on the planet, maybe this whole hygge thing is worth a look-see, eh?
I just finished reading and would happily recommend Meik Wiking’s The Little Book of Hygge as a way to learn more about the subject:
It’s a nice introduction to the whole idea, and I enjoyed curling up with it even without the lit candles or hot cocoa. One of my favorite things in it was the idea of creating a Hygge Emergency Kit for those stressful times when you–or someone you know–is in desperate need of a little soothing relaxation. Books, candles, chocolate, your favorite tea–or maybe something more like a bag of microwave popcorn and a favorite film, who knows? The beauty of it is that you can tailor it to your own preferences and pull it out some time when you’re feeling tired or low or just in the mood for solitude. Wouldn’t that make a great gift idea? Incidentally–ahem–my birthday is coming up…
Another book I enjoyed on the same subject is The Cozy Life:
Either one makes for a good read, and at least now you know what “hygge” means in case it ever comes up on Jeopardy. You’re welcome.
Hope you enjoy these last few days of winter 2017–Stay cozy!