Embrace Hygge



BY BROOKE ORR

Despite the global pandemic, Denmark continues to rank at the top of the 2020 World Happiness Report.  Based on citizen surveys, the United States ranked as the eighteenth happiest country, while Denmark claimed the number two spot.  Danes attribute their overall happiness in part to Hygge, pronounced “hoog-uh,” which is defined as  “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” The Broadway adaption of Frozen opens their second act with a fun song explaining what Hygge is, and equally important, what it is not. “Hygge’s not scheduled, you can’t see where it starts or ends. Most importantly, it can’t be hygge without your family and friends.” Now that you know what hygge is (and isn’t), let’s talk about how you create it. 

Picture yourself on a cold winter night; the fireplace is flickering and putting off the perfect amount of heat. The crockpot has been on low all day, cooking a hearty stew and giving off an amazing smell.  A nice bottle of wine is opened, the french bread is sliced. You are wearing the most comfortable clothes you own and are under a blanket surrounded by family and friends. This is hygge, and it is not difficult to create. 

Ambiance

According to Meik Wiking, the author of The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well, “When Danes are asked what they most associate with hygge, an overwhelming 85 percent mention candles (unscented)”.  Lit fireplaces, low lights, and flickering candles set the tone.

Comfort

Ditch the cute but uncomfortable night on the town outfit and opt for a soft sweater, loose cozy pants, and slippers or warm socks. Put your favorite blankets out and on display.

Hearty

Hygge is often described as mindful indulgence.  Create an easy beef stew by cooking canned tomatoes, grass-fed beef, potatoes, carrots, onions, and spices of choice in the crockpot on low. Serve with a warm french baguette drizzled with olive oil and savor each bite. 

Family and Friends

Explain hygge to your inner circle and invite a few special people over to partake.  Flying solo? That’s OK, too – curl up with a good book or show, and let the relaxation seep in.  

Greenheart Travel put it best: Hygge is a feeling, not a consumer product. Think of people, things, foods, etc. that invoke your sense of inner peace and use these things to create an environment that makes you feel like you are wrapped in a warm embrace – Hygge. 

Editor’s Note:  For additional information, check out the book The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell


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