Happy New Year and Happy January!

So, I must admit that I’ve never been a fan of January. It is by far my least favourite month of the year. This might be because I box up all the holiday cheer and warm fuzzy feelings that go with Christmas and store it all under the stairs for another year. It also might be because January is usually a stereotypical snowy, cold Canadian month. I’ve never been a fan of the snow and cold. And when the weather is such, I often find myself wondering why I live where the air hurts my face? So, what’s a girl to do!? Well, this year I’ve decided to do January and the rest of winter a little differently. To help combat the winter blues I’ve decided to welcome Hygge into our home.

What is Hygge?

Housekeeping first, Hygge is pronounced hue-guh, not hy-gah, not hoo-gah!

Now I’m sure some of you are wondering just who Hygge is. Is she an aunt, maybe a second cousin?  Well, I don’t have an Aunt Hygge, but if I did, she would certainly be welcome to come live with us. She could watch the kids, clean house, and make meals… A girl can dream, can’t she? But all daydreams aside and back to reality. Hygge is a Danish idea. It is the word the Danes use to describe something which is comfy and cozy that creates happiness and contentment. A similar word that we Canadians might use would be “homey or hominess”. And although these words are similar to hygge, they still don’t entirely capture the true essence of it!

Now, hygge might sound like a simple concept. It is and it isn’t. That’s why there have been numerous books written on the subject (I really liked “The Little Book of Hygge” by Meik Wiking). It’s an interesting concept which ties into how the Danish have been ranked amongst the happiest people in the world even though they reside in a colder climate (Denmaek is surrounded by the North Sea) and they have one of the highest taxation rates in the world. Much of their happiness is credited because they incorporate hygge into their daily life!

For the Danes, hygge is not only about creating homey surroundings, but it is really a lifestyle and state of mind. Being comfy and cozy breaks the boundaries of room and space and extends into how they socialize. Just as I might invite someone over for a cup of tea or coffee, a Dane would literally invite someone over to their home to enjoy in a hyggelig evening.  Socializing with the right people (leave your drama at the door) is good for anyone’s wellbeing. And really, who wouldn’t want to go to someone’s house if they invited you over for some warm fuzzy feelings.

Creating A Hyggelig Home

Even though hygge isn’t all about a person’s environment, it plays a big part. Creating a comfortable, cozy area is essential to creating a hyggelig atmosphere. Here’s a list of items and activities that I’ve added into my life and you can add into yours to help create that homie hygge feeling.

  • candles – That you actually burn, not just for decoration (This is a must)
  • warm lighting (warm coloured light bulbs, not cool white lights)
  • soft cozy blankets and pillows to relax under (they are are also a must!)
  • Indulge in yummy treats (think warm drinks and comfort foods)
  • Plan get-togethers with the friends and family that you enjoy hanging out with (ditch toxic people)
  • Enjoy physical activities outdoors (the gym is not a hyggelig activity, but taking a walk outside is) nothing makes you feel comfier or makes you appreciate the indoors more than a blast of cold weather
  • Slow down and unplug (read, enjoy games, movies, silence, and enjoy one another’s company and companionship)

So there you have it, my take on hygge.  As you can see, It’s not a complex idea. But it’s actually rather simple. It’s about living simply, enjoying simplicity, and indulging in the simple things which bring us joy. It’s about creating a warm and inviting safe space to enjoy with friends and family. And it’s about learning to enjoy the small moments and slowing down.

Most of us probably already have many elements of hygge in our life. Let me know in the comments! Also, If you like the concept of hygge and you like do-it-yourself projects, check out my blog post “5 DIY Hygge Ideas & Projects” for some ideas on how to add a little more hygge into your life and home.

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