Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a complex Danish word that doesn’t have a direct translation in English. It is defined as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well being,” and is related to the English word “hug.” Imagine holding hands with a dear friend in front of a cozy fire or drinking a hot cup of tea under soft covers. This is Hygge. In a country like Denmark with cold, dark winters, it makes sense that such a word would be important to the well-being of it’s people.
But what about Hygge in America? Hygge goes against the grain of our culture because it is inherently non-materialistic and reliant on intimacy with other people. But with Thanksgiving around the corner and months of political divisiveness behind us, it has never been a better time for Americans to embrace this quirky Danish term. See our favorite 10 ways to practice Hygge below. Can you think of any others?
10 ways to practice Hygge this winter:
Buy a book (extra points if it is a physical book made from actual paper!)
Pull all of the cozy, chunky blankets out from the closet and cover yourself in them. Don’t leave the blanket nest for hours.
Where that ugly Christmas sweater your grandma knitted for you and smile at the thought of her making it for you
Turn off your phone for a night and spend time connecting with someone you love
Practice being aware of the present moment through meditation.
Cuddle your cat, who is a better master at Hygge than you ever will be
Make cookies from scratch, and indulge in a few fresh from the oven
Enjoy those old sweatpants you wouldn’t wear to the grocery store at midnight but still secretly cherish
Light some candles or a fire, and quietly watch the warmth of the flames.
Spend some time in gratitude that you are inside, dry, and warm this winter, and do something to help those who aren’t.
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