What is Hygge and How Do You Do It?
It’s all about: Cashmere! Candles! Coziness!
Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah): a Danish state of living that loosely translate to “coziness.” The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” It’s re-creating what would happen if you bottled up all those cozy, intimate, soothing, snuggly, warm, fuzzy feelings. Basically it means putting on your comfiest home clothes and lounging around like it’s your job while soothing music plays and something delicious simmers on the stove.
Once it starts getting cold, like, really cold, we’ll try anything that claims to make winter a little happier. So you could say that “the magic of Danish life” trend came into our lives at just the right time. And it only serves as one of the many aspects of Scandinavian life we should adopt (besides universal health care, biking, and saunas).
While Hygge is many things (like going snowshoeing—in the appropriate outerwear, naturally—then coming inside a warm cabin for hot cocoa), we’re mostly into adopting the idea of gathering your family, friends, and loved ones and staying in. No, that does not mean having friends over for drinks, then tipsily heading to “the bars” at 12 AM. The Nordic take on the French concept of joie de vivre is a full-on homebody commitment. It involves creating a soothing candlelit atmosphere, making a batch of Danish glugg (mulled wine, duh), some feel-good pastries, spreading out some blankets and playing Scrabble all night, or even watching your favorite TV show. This ideally takes place in front of a fireplace with a snowstorm dumping outside. But if you don’t have either of those things, there’s still lifestyle adjustments you can make to make your life and winter more hyggely—and therefore happy. Sounds really nice right? Just read on.
Hygge is about actually enjoying winter (!), so gathering friends and staying inside for the night, or even a whole weekend, can be very rejuvenating. If you can’t get to a cabin or après-ski situation, transform your living space to be as hygge as possible with low-wattage bulbs and host a comfort food-filled dinner that goes on all night.
Good lighting is crucial to hygge, or any get-together (but you knew that already, right?). Dim the lights (if you can’t dim, make sure to have indirect light from a lamp), then gather a bunch of your favorite candles and scatter them around the space. Comfy level = ten.
Now is the time to break out all your loungewear, oversized sweaters, and warm leggings. Or consider this an excuse to go buy everything and anything cashmere. From socks, to sweaters, and blankets. It’s the comfiest fabric around—plus it’s really beautiful and lasts forever.
If you’re going to convince people to forgo dinner and drinks out to stay inside with all you all night, you’re going to have to have plentiful drinks and food. Get a batch of mulled wine simmering on the stove (recipe here), roast a chicken and some soup, then finish with baked cookies and cocoa.