This winter more than any other I will be embracing the Danish concept of hygge, incorporating elements into my life to help me cope with the winter ahead. I hate winter, as I’ve written many, many times. Hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”) is, according to the dictionary, “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being, regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture.” If you’ve ever enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate on a snowy day, you’ve experienced hygge. Hygge is feeling and costs absolutely nothing.
Hygge means something different to everyone, as simple comforts are very personal. For me things like sipping a glass of wine by a fire; snuggling up in a cozy blanket reading a good book or watching a movie; and hiking outside feeling the warmth of the sun on my face on a cold day are all hyggelig. There are even words specific to items that evoke hygge. Hyggebukser refers to pants you practically live in when relaxing at home but would never wear in public. I certainly have a few hyggebuksers!
Louisa Thomsen Brits, author of The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection writes, hygge is just “a practical way of creating sanctuary in the middle of very real life.” THAT is something we all could use right now.
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