What is Hygge?
While staying at home has been a running theme all year, we’ve finally reached a time of year when it’s all we actually want to do. The weather is getting a little nippier around the country, and we’re craving thicker blankets, hotter drinks, and cozier vibes. As it turns out, no one has mastered the art of coziness better than the Danes. In Denmark, they use the term hygge to describe all things comforting, even during the bleakest weather. In other words, hygge elevates coziness from a feeling to a lifestyle.
How to Pronounce Hygge
If this is the first time you’ve encountered the term, and your Danish is a little rusty, the pronunciation might seem unintuitive to you. The closest way to describe the pronunciation is “HOO-guh” or “HUE-gah.” If you’re struggling to wrap your tongue around it, don’t worry–it’s more important to be able to feel it than to be able to say it!
How Do the Danish Experience Hygge?
In Denmark, the winters are long and bitterly cold. Hygge is a traditional concept that has helped people embrace harsh weather and turn it into something healing and uplifting—a brilliant way to combat things like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). People do this by surrounding their living space with things that emphasize warmth, life, and well-being. By taking some notes from this genius concept, winter might end up becoming your favorite season after all!
Get the Look: Achieving the Hygge Home
What we love about this concept is that it’s so accessible for everyone! Your hygge home can be tailored to whatever makes you feel happy, comfortable, and well-cared-for. If you need inspiration, here are a few ways the Danish do it!
If there’s not much green happening outside, bring it inside! Merely being in the presence of live plants has been proven to benefit our mental health. Furthermore, plants help to purify the air, release extra oxygen, and boost humidity levels. All of these things are especially important in the winter when most of us spend so much less time outside! Try decorating with plants that are known for their air-cleaning abilities, like ferns, pothos, and calatheas.
Fire is a key element to achieving hygge bliss, so if you don’t have a fireplace, candles are the way to go. As long as you’re careful to ensure your candles are stable and you don’t leave them unattended, it’s hard to have too many. Try placing groups of candles in each corner of the room and somewhere central, like on your coffee table. To avoid overwhelming yourself with fragrances (so un-hygge!), limit yourself to one scented candle or a matching pair and keep the others unscented.
3. Comforting Textiles
Everyone reacts differently to textures, so this one is all about the fabrics that put you at ease. Perhaps it’s a fuzzy chenille sweater, a faux-fur throw pillow, a super-soft fleece blanket—or all three! Start keeping a wicker hamper in your living space and stock it with spare throw blankets; they look adorable next to a potted plant in a wicker basket! Even when you’re not using them, the throws add a softness to the room that adds to the aesthetic. Plus, you’ll love burying yourself in blankets during your next movie night!
4. Hot Drinks
Generally, the Danish would favor tea or coffee, but if you prefer hot chocolate, steamed milk, or apple cider, who’s going to stop you? Choose something that tastes good and warms you from within. More important than what’s in your mug is how you enjoy it; breathe in the steam, sip slowly, and focus on the pleasant flavor. Concentrate on enjoying yourself and don’t let any anxious thoughts ruin your moment!
What’s comfort without comfort food? While a little snacking isn’t crucial for you to savor a hygge moment, it sure does help. If you’re between meals, we recommend fixing yourself a small portion of something you can really savor. For example, a handful of dark chocolate truffles, a slice of moist banana bread, or your favorite cheese and crackers. However, if you literally want to make a meal of your hygge experience, do a fondue night! A bubbling pot of melted cheese, fresh bread, and a smorgasbord of savory treats are pretty much as hygge as it gets.
For the coziest results, combine all of these at the same time or incorporate your own ideas! Remember, hygge isn’t about following a certain method or buying a certain product; it’s about living well. This winter, embrace whatever it is that warms your soul and brightens your spirit—the spring will be here before you know it!