I don’t remember exactly when the first time I saw the word “hygge” was, but I do remember that as soon as I found out what it meant, the term really resonated with me. After all, I live in northern New England, and our winters are pretty similar to those in Denmark, where the term hygge originates.
A lot of people think hygge is referring to a specific style or type of home. You know, big chunky knit blankets, tons of candles, that sort of thing. And while that certainly can contribute to hygge, it’s not what hygge is.
It’s much simpler than that.
So what is hygge?
Hygge, at its essence, is a feeling. And that feeling is one of coziness, specialness, and contentment. You’re content to just be where you are, with the people that you’re with.
So yes, the candles and the throw blankets and all of that can be a part of hygge. But they don’t have to be. It’s more about meals shared with people you love, relaxed evenings at home, and enjoying the present moment.
One of my favorite definitions for hygge comes from Helen Russell, author of The Year of Living Danishly, who defines it as:
[A] complete absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming [with] a focus on togetherness and prioritizing the people in your life.
It’s all about simplicity and focusing on positive daily experiences. If you do those things, then you’re already practicing hygge.
10 ways to bring hygge into your life
1. Focus on togetherness. Think about how you can bring people together for even the most mundane activities, like watching movies.
2. Enjoy a sweet treat every day. Indulging in cakes or cookies (assuming you enjoy them) is an essential part of hygge. Not into sweets? Come up with another food indulgence you can enjoy instead.
3. Enjoy a roaring fire. Whether it’s in your woodstove, fireplace, or outdoors in a fire pit, warming yourself by a fire is a key ingredient in a hygge life.
4. Keep it simple in the kitchen. Yes, hygge is about good food. But you can create good food without doing anything complex. Focus on high-quality ingredients and take your time cooking, but don’t worry about making anything fancy.
5. Use candles when you can. Nothing is cozier than eating a meal by candlelight. Even if you’re eating alone, eating by the light of a few candles is a great way to make any meal special.
6. Bring nature inside. Decorating your home with natural elements is a great way to make it cozier.
7. Share meals with loved ones. There’s nothing more hygge than enjoying a leisurely meal with people you love, be they friends or family.
8. Bake bread. Really, baking anything is great. But there’s something inherently comforting in eating freshly-baked, still-warm-from-the-oven bread with butter or honey (or both!).
9. Enjoy warm beverages. Whether it’s tea, coffee, hot cocoa, or even mulled cider, hot drinks are best when they’re savored (not chugged during your morning commute).
10. Read a book. Taking time out of your day to read a book you enjoy is a fantastic way to live in the moment and fully experience hygge.
Okay, but how do you pronounce it?
Hygge is generally pronounced hue-guh. And that means Hyggable is pronounced hue-guh-bull.