Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. Whether it’s making coffee a verb by creating a ritual of making it then lingering over a cup to a cosy evening in with friends to the simple act of lighting a candle with every meal. Hygge is being aware of a good moment whether it’s simple or special.
Some refer to hygge as an “art of creating intimacy” (either with yourself, friends and your home). While there’s no one English word to describe hygge, several can be used interchangeably to describe the idea of hygge such as cosiness, charm, happiness, contentness, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness.
So we stumble upon a 12-Month Hygge challenge that will help you embrace cosiness all year long.
Lighting is one of the most important aspects of hygge — the softer and warmer, the better. Instead of taking down your holiday string lights, leave the strands of magical fairy twinkles hanging inside your home and opt to use them instead of bright overhead lighting.
According to Wiking’s research, 86 percent of Danish survey participants associated hot drinks with hygge — making it the most hygge element of the lifestyle, even above lighting, blankets, and candles. So instead of grabbing iced or room-temperature drinks during February, make an effort to enjoy hot ones: hot water with lemon, steaming cups of coffee, mulled wine, hot cocoa, and the like.
“There is no faster way to get to hygge than to light a few candles,” purports The Little Book of Hygge. Danes light candles everywhere — classrooms, homes, and even at the office — with more than half reporting that they light candles every day. So make like the Danish and live your life by candlelight this month, choosing to light wicks rather than flip switches. If you need inspiration for your new, candlelit lifestyle, look no further than the Paddywax Hygge collection or any of our editors’ favourite candles.
One of the fundamental aspects of hygge is a distinct closeness to nature, so this month, get in touch with the great outdoors. Skip a run on the treadmill and opt for a hike in the wilderness, or do your yoga practice in the park.
Just because the weather gets warmer in May doesn’t mean you have to give up your cosy lifestyle. Boost your stores of fluffy socks and stop going barefoot in the house — snuggly feet are happy feet!
One of the admirable aspects of hygge is that it encourages being present . . . which means unplugging when you’re around loved ones and truly enjoying the moment. Host a dinner or game night with your favourite people, and instate a “no phones” rule. Whoever looks at their phone first has to clean the dishes!
In keeping with the hygge cornerstone of gratitude, spend time in July expressing your thanks to somebody who has influenced your life. Write a thank-you note (or more than one) this month and express why you’re thankful for their help in your life.
To embrace the hygge attitude of equality, take time out of your month to connect with other areas of your community. Whether it’s serving at a soup kitchen, preparing baskets of toiletries for a women’s shelter, or mentoring a foster child, allow your time volunteering to give some perspective about what really brings joy to your life.
While it’s tempting to spend weekends making social plans and checking items off your to-do list, take a few days to relax and pamper yourself. Grab a book, eat some dessert, take a bubble bath . . . whatever feels purely you.
A hyggekrog, which Wiking says translates roughly to “a nook,” is a cosy space in one’s home where they feel totally comfortable curling up with a book or cup of coffee. The author suggests filling your own hyggekrog with soft lighting and warm blankets, cushions, and even furs; creating a small space that’s comfortable and totally yours is vital to the hygge lifestyle.
Many hygge experts focus heavily on the food and drink aspect of hygge, and that’s because what Danes eat is a huge part of their lifestyle. Sweets, meats, and hot drinks are elements of hygge happiness, so take time this month to try a new recipe and share it with your loved ones — and make sure the recipe is something decadent, like a cake or pastry.
Perhaps the most important elements of hygge are togetherness and shelter, so welcome somebody else into the hygge fold of your life as a celebration of all you’ve accomplished this year. If you find out a friend is spending the Winter holidays alone, invite them to drink cocoa and bask in candlelight with you and yours instead.