Hygge. The Danish word for something like cosiness, comfort, warmth. Or how to create an atmosphere, a feeling of home where you feel safe and comfortable. But, it is also about giving and gratitude.
And it describes different feelings. A feeling you get when you share good food with close family and friends along with good conversation and closeness. And the feeling you get when you are all warm inside cuddled in front of a fire while a storm is raging outside. But it is also a feeling from crisp blue sky mornings and relaxed sunny days outside. Hygge is one of those words that doesn’t translate directly into English.
Currently Denmark is the second happiest nation in the world, just behind Finland. To determine the world’s happiest country, researchers have analysed comprehensive Gallup polling data from 149 countries for the past three years. This data is put together by observing performance in six specific categories in each country. The categories are gross domestic product per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make your own life choices, generosity of the general population, and perceptions of internal and external corruption levels. Interesting is that the top seven happiest countries in the world for 2021 were all Northern European countries.
This little book
According to the author of this little book –The Little book of Hygge: the Danish way to live well – , Meik Wiking, the fact that many people in Denmark are happy is largely because of them living the hygge way. In his introduction he mentions that the spelling and pronunciation of hygge is the easy part, it is explaining what hygge exactly means that’s a bit harder.
It is more or less the Danish way of cosiness, a certain quality of cosiness. It is all about the atmosphere, the experience, the people (or not) around you, the feeling that you are safe. In general they focus on the small things that really matter, spend more quality time with friends and family and enjoy the good things life has to offer.
This book gives you some ideas of the ‘key’ to happiness, although this is a subjective view. It then also gives some practical steps and tips to become more hygge or to make your house more hygge. This includes how to pick the right lighting, some hygge recipes (although this will differ depending on your own culture and upbringing), how to dress hygge or how to make your home more hygge and even how to organise a dinner party, all backed up by Meik’s years’ of research at the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen.
Make your home more hygge
Meik suggests a few things when it comes to making your home more hygge. He says the Danish have an obsession with interior design because their homes are the ‘hygge headquarters’, their sanctuary and stands central in their social life, which might be different in other countries. And indeed many interior lovers (me included) are totally in love with the clean lines and unique combination of form and function of Danish interiors.
So, to make your home more hygge according to Meik, includes the following:
- comfortable spaces,
- good design,
- things made from wood,
- think tactile,
- vintage items,
- blankets and cushions.
This is a lovely little book. Not only what is written, but also the physical feeling of the book, the binding, the gorgeous pictures, illustrations, just everything about the book I enjoyed and still do.
And to think hygge, just close your eyes and think about things that make you happy, that gives you a warm content feeling. For me it includes certain fragrances, warm fires, cosy soft blankets, clean fresh laundry, warm out-of-the-oven apple pie, a soft comfy sweater, and lazy days outside in the sun enjoying time and food with family and friends.