Hygge and the Comforts of Home

Health & Well Being

Warm Socks, Candlelight, Hot Tea – What’s Not to Like?

It’s been said that hygge is as hard to define as it is to pronounce. (It’s pronounced hue-guh, by the way).

Hygge is a hallmark of Danish culture, defined as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Especially during a long, cold winter. But how does one bring this elusive quality to life at home, and how do you know when you have it?

What Does Hygge Feel Like?

Have you ever spent a rainy day curled up under a blanket with a good book? Remember how cozy and comfy you felt? That’s hygge.

How about coming in after raking leaves or shoveling snow, changing into dry, warm socks and relaxing with a cup of tea or hot chocolate? That’s hygge too.

Do you have a particularly comfortable chair you prefer for reading the paper with your morning coffee? That’s your “hyggekrog” (cozy nook). Do you wear sweatpants or similarly comfortable lounge pants when staying in for the weekend? Those are your “hyggebuksers” (cozy pants).

There are a few hygge staples that no Danish home would ever be without, especially during the winter.

  • Candles – Danes buy more candles than folks in any other European country at 13 lbs. per person, per year
  • Soft blankets, oversized sweaters, socks – The thicker and chunkier, the better; handmade knitted items are best
  • Comfort food, homemade sweets, and hot drinks – In Denmark, meatballs, pastries and coffee top the list

There’s nothing fancy about these hygge essentials and that’s the point. Hygge is about enjoying the simple life and creature comforts like food and fellowship. It’s another opportunity to live in the moment and savor every second.

Choose your own favorite hygge foods (think stews, soups, pot pies and casseroles). Stock up on tea, coffee, cocoa or the makings for mulled wine. Turn off the television and turn on some classical music.

Winter months always mean more time spent inside, so why not make the most of it? Do what makes you feel warm, cozy and comfortable. Make a point of bringing a little hygge into every day this winter.