“Hygge was never meant to be translated. It was meant to be felt.”
I was at a farmer’s market recently and came across a little booth selling Hygge items! I was intrigued as I’d been hearing about Hygge and had experienced it some when we were in Europe. Alexandra Gove and her husband Koen first travelled through Europe selling their products. Now they have moved from Europe to Colorado and started this little business called Hygge Life. (Read more of their story here.)I bought this wonderful book, called the Little Book of Hygge (and one of their towels that are more like comfy scarves):
For many years, Denmark has been named one of the happiest countries in the world. In fact I recently read this quote, “We should look to countries like Denmark” if we wanted the US to become a happier place.
Many people in Denmark attribute this to “Hygge” pronounced “Hooga”.
What is Hygge? Simply put, it’s about living in the moment. It’s one of those perfect days, usually indoors during the short winter days of Northern Europe, where you’re relaxed, cozy, maybe with a fire, definitely with candles and a hot drink. You might be alone or maybe with friends and family. Time will stand still. There is no agenda, everyone is happy, lights are dimmed an atmosphere that you create. There is no drama by the way. No upsetting discussions. Just interesting conversation. The planning is not very organized. More spontaneous. Hygge is a mental state that you’re in and is very good for the soul. It can be your coziest sweatshirt. A hot cocoa on a cold day with a good book. It’s tea served in a china teapot. You can be by yourself or with others.
When I’ve experienced Hygge most it hasn’t been planned. I even wrote about in a post called A Dark And Stormy Night Miracle. The electricity went out and our family spent the evening by the fire, listening to music. A few months ago we had a fun hygge party with some French friends who lit up their table in honor of the Festival of Lights in the city of Lyon. I’ve even been to a Hygge wedding which was planned in an evening and performed on a dock on a lake. One of the most beautiful weddings ever!
A table just ready for Hygge!
Remember, just as you create your crazy, complicated life, you can also simplify and make a Hygge night which will unwind a little of the complications.
So here’s the recipe for Hygge:
humor and good conversation
comfort food that’s easy to put together
a cozy spot
an interesting topic for conversation
1. Pick the perfect location/homey surroundings and add the candles. A tablecloth, mismatched plates or glasses add charm. A fireside in winter or little lights add to the mood.
2. Gather some people together. They may be your favorite people or ones you’ve just met.
3. Everyone can contribute to the food and drinks. Make it uncomplicated. A great rule when you Hygge is to just bring whatever is in your refrigerator.
4. Everyone, come as you are. No fancy clothes. Remember no controversary or arguments. No snide remarks allowed. Come with interesting conversation. And no judging as well. Bring some humor.
5. Don’t think too much about the time or your schedule while you’re hyggling. Time stands still when you Hyggle. It’s time to live in the moment. The world and your problems will still be there when you go back outside.
6. Feel my favorite form of happiness, contentment, when the evening is over. You should come away from the evening feeling warm, fuzzy and content. A great sleep is often the result.
Candles that are perfect for Hyggling!
Last winter we spent a week in Amsterdam and guess what? They have their own word for Hygge, it’s Gezillig, pronounced “heh-SELL-ick”. We experienced Gezillig in a wonderful bar/café just when the sun went down around 4:45 pm. Café de Sluyswacht was built in 1695 and is surrounded by canals. Inside the place was lit with beautiful candles. I had a delicious coffee and the Zen Papa a wonderful Dutch beer. We had nowhere to go and just enjoyed the scenery, the moment and all the happy conversation around us.
The dark, winter season is the prefect time to discover Hygge or Gezillig. But I think summer is, too! I’m going to incorporate these ideas into my life and get togethers! Happy Hyggling!
By the way, I’m going to give away the book I bought, The Little Book of Hygge. Please comment below why you need a little Hygge in your life and I’ll enter you into the giveaway!
I’m thinking of starting a new cooking section to this blog. Would you like that? Here’s what I’m trying this month… homemade yogurt! Yum!!