Hygge is to homemakers what the Twilight movies were to 2009 – it’s an obsession. Hygge has permeated every facet of social media in 2017, with almost 1.5 million #hygge posts on Instagram and a 285 per cent increase in hygge-themed Pinterest boards. Whether the hype is justified or not is a matter of personal opinion, but there’s no denying the internet is abuzz with hygge this chilly season.
The wholesome Nordic style of living has no true English translation. The best we can do would be to describe hygge as the vernacular love child of “cosiness” and “contentment” with just a hint of “kinship”. If you’ve ever read an article on hygge before, it would have most likely come with a pronunciation guide (We found “hue-gah” or “rhymes with cougar” to be the most helpful). Unlike the minimalism trend spearheaded by Marie Kondo, you don’t need a lengthy guide on “how to hygge” to embrace this uniquely Danish way of life.
There’s nothing more stereotypically hygge than burning scented candles and sharing a warm hot chocolate with friends in a cosy nook of your home while wearing fuzzy socks. Although hygge is often marketed as artisanal this and homemade that, it’s more about the purposeful creation of intimate moments than the number of knitted throws you own.
Hygge may be a win for those of us who’d prefer to stay indoors with blankies than venture outside this winter, but it’s no excuse to be a couch potato. Out of the myriad of things that hygge is typified by, sitting with your head buried in your phone for months on end is certainly not one of them. Hygge requires presence in the moment and presence in your friendships. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in a little hygge on your own, but hygge is well and truly typified by quality time with close friends. Whether it be cuddling up with your beau and watching a movie together, sharing a meal with your family or playing board games with your friends, hygge should feel like a warm hug to your soul.
The Danes have been keeping things cosy with hygge since the 1800s. They use hygge as a noun, an adjective, a verb and even a compact noun. This grammatical flexibility produces vocab gems like hyggebukser. To us non-Danish mortals, hyggebuksers are that pair of disgustingly comfy pants you’d never wear outside, but treasure nonetheless. If that wasn’t enough to leave you obsessed with the concept (and the word), Danish doctors often recommend “tea and hygge” as the best cure for a winter cold.
It’s no secret that the Danes are the happiest people in the world. In a climate typified by 17 hours of darkness per day and consistently below-freezing temperatures, they’ve mastered the art of creating special moments from strikingly simple occurrences. With 2017 abuzz in political turmoil, the bees dying and the Great Barrier Reef bleaching like someone’s just added Napisan, it’s not hard to see why the idea of hygge has been bought so readily by Australians. Creating special memories, being grateful for the little things and appreciating those around you are at the heart of hygge and it’s something we should all embrace. Just like the Danes don’t let 17 hours of darkness spoil their happiness, we shouldn’t let the clamour and frenzy of 2017 ruin ours.
Hygge shouldn’t be daunting. It’s not about perfect moments and I’ll stress again that purchasing oodles of pillows and throws is very unnecessary. That being said, there’s a few little things you can do to boost the hygge levels of your home.
Stocking up on candles in calming scents is the quickest and easiest way to add a little hygge to any space. Danes burn more candles than anywhere else in the world and it’s no surprise why. A gently flickering flame creates instant atmosphere. Hygge is all about that cosy nook, so once you’ve got your lighting sorted, play with textured rugs, cushions and throws – anything that tickles your fancy. Complete your cosy nook with a few top-notch books and remember that a few house plants can go a long way towards making a space feel nurturing.
Infusing your life with hygge vibes doesn’t have to cost a fortune – after all, at its core, hygge is about finding joy in life’s simple moments. All you need is atmosphere (candles), presence (there’s an off button on your phone for a reason), gratitude (#blessed) and comfort (whip out those Ugg boots). Embrace your inner Dane and hyyge-up your space this winter.