I admit, I had never heard of the word until I opened my stocking on Christmas morning and pulled out "The Little Book of Hygge" by Meik Wiking. And I also admit that my eyebrows kinda went up in confusion and skepticism. "Huh? What the heck is this?"
My mom quickly replied, "Oh, that was a recommendation from Aunt Marion. She thought you should read it. She thinks this is right up your alley."
Oh, okay. Aunt Marion never leads me astray. I set it aside and thought, I'll take a look at it later.
For several weeks, it lay on my night stand, and every time I glanced its way, I'd think, Oh yes, I have to check out that hygge book and see what it's all about.
Turns out, I was pronouncing it wrong for all that time. Once I finally did flip that book open, I learned very early on that "hygge" is NOT pronounced like "jiggy", as I have used it in the title of this blog post. It's actually pronounced "hoo-gah". Hygge comes from the Danish word for "well-being". It also encompasses feelings of being cozy and comfortable. Over the years, hygge has become a defining characteristic of Danish culture.
Did you know it's been scientifically proven that Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world? Despite having cold, dark winters, and a high average number of rainy days per year, the Danish people are happy. And a lot of that has to do with hygge.
I haven't gotten far into the book yet, but the more I read each night, the more I'm starting to think I'm kind of already a Master of Hygge. I'm the Queen of Comfy & Cozy. There is nothing I love better than curling up in a dark room lit only by candles & Scentsy warmers, snuggled beneath a a big blanket, in my comfiest clothes and fuzziest socks, with a bowl of buttery popcorn and a mug of hot chocolate or Chai tea within reach. I love hunkering down to watch a movie or work on a puzzle or write in a journal or colour, especially if there's snow (or rain) coming down outside. Nothing I enjoy more than a wind howling outside while I'm snug as a bug inside, with a pot of soup or chili simmering on the stove, and the smells of bread or cookies baking wafting in the air. Oooh! Or drawing a nice, hot bubble bath and soaking by candlelight with a good book until the water gets cold!!
I honestly think it's why I enjoy fall and winter more than spring and summer. In the nicer months, there's more of an expectation to get out and enjoy. Leave the stuffy confines of your home, get fresh air, soak up the sun, enjoy the breeze! But as the Queen of Comfy & Cozy, I far more anticipate the dark and the quiet and the stormy days, when it's more acceptable to hibernate and cuddle up. I think that's why I so look forward to movie nights and snow storms and even rainy days in the summer. It's not, as my mom once told me, "morbid" - it's my deep love and craving for HYGGE!!!
That said, I have already thought of some ways I'd like to enhance the hygge in my home. These aren't necessarily things I need to do right away (it is the YEAR OF SAVING, after all), but little wish list items I'd like to pursue in the coming years, all for my hygge benefit:
- What's more hygge than a fireplace, man? I've got the candles and Scentsy warmers and soft lamp light covered, but oh, how I'd still love a little fireplace. Just one of the electrical ones will do just fine. The problem is, I've never been able to figure out where I'd put one in my living room, considering the space I have to work with. It's a big room, but because of a huge front window, there's only so many places furniture and the TV can go. Ideally, I'd like one like my sister has - that is part of an entertainment unit that my TV would sit atop.
- I've decided I need an area rug for my living room. My living room is absolutely the room in my home that I spend the most time in. It's a big open room, with lots of space and light. My furniture is, naturally, placed around the perimeter of the room, which leaves a lot of empty space in the middle, a lot of empty light-coloured faux-wood click flooring. Don't get me wrong, I love having space, it's not a bad thing. But I think a nice area rug would draw the room in, and make it feel even cozier.
- Again, my living room space is my main focus, because it's where I spend most of my time at home, and thus, the last piece of the puzzle to making it "completely comfy" would be getting new vertical blinds. The ones that are there are old, they have some water stains on them, and they don't match the paint colour. I'd like nice, crisp white blinds to cover the big windows. I've toyed with the idea of curtains instead, but I think at the end of the day, white vertical blinds are the way to go.
- Moving into the kitchen, I'd like to install some kind of shelving or racks on the big empty wall over my sink to put my mugs. I have a mug fetish. I can't seem to stop buying new ones, even though I have no room for them, and I never seem to be able to part with old ones either. Mugs are taking over my kitchen. I think adding shelves or something to hang them on the wall above the sink will add a cozy hygge factor. It will just call out, "THIS GIRL HAS COFFEE! AND TEA!! AND HOT CHOCOLATE!!!"
- I'm not sure yet of how it would work or where I would put it, but I'd love to have a little "coffee & tea corner" in my kitchen. I have my Keurig on the counter with an assortment of K-cups beside it, but I've recently re-discovered my love for tea, so now I also have many tea bags and cans of loose tea, kettles, spoons, and tea infusers and sachets lying all over the counter and table in my kitchen. I'd like to somehow get it all organized, put in the same spot, and make it a cozy wee space.
- I think organization and tidiness is a key aspect of hygge, because I find it distracting when things are out of order and "stuff" is taking over, and sometimes that's a problem for me. I'm a bit of a pack-rat, and I can let the "messy" take over sometimes. It's an especially big problem in my kitchen. I don't seem to have enough cupboard and counter space for all my "stuff", and so it has basically taken over the little table in my kitchen, and I also have bags and boxes filled with Tupperware and containers and, well... just...STUFF everywhere. It's totally annoying and I don't know what to do about it. I'm going to seriously spend some time thinking of what I can do to create more storage space for stuff, perhaps a cupboard re-org and going through and tossing stuff that has been taking up space that I don't use. I'd love to be able to have that little table empty of clutter, and without junk piled all around it, to enjoy coffee or tea with friends.
- There have been a few other areas of my life and home that have been nagging at me that need to be tidied/re-organized/cleaned up. They include: my fridge and freezer, my front closet, and my own bedroom closet. All three are winter projects for me, and I think once I have them done, I'll feel more content and cozy in my own home.
- I'd like to learn a "cozy" craft, like crocheting. I have lots of teachers around me, but I'm stubborn, easily frustrated, and quickly angered, so anytime I've tried to learn in the past has resulted in me quitting in a fit of tears. I've recently decided maybe I should get the supplies I need and just try to learn from Youtube videos, as I've heard others have done. I like the idea of cozying up at night with Netflix and working on a crochet project. Bonus would be it could keep me awake! I'm notorious for falling asleep on the couch way too early in the evenings while watching TV.
- A rock salt lamp. Probably in my bedroom, on the nightstand. I think it would add a cozy element to my already-cozy bedroom, and I hear they help make you "feel better". I don't know how or why - might need to do some research on this - but anything that makes me "feel better" can't be a bad thing, especially if it brings the hygge.
Just listing these ideas as they crossed my mind have spawned other, new ideas... like a reading corner with a little shelf of books near my big blue chair where I read in the living room. And a music corner with an old selection of CD's in my dining room, where the CD player/radio is, which would bring nostalgia of my youth with all of that old music I loved. And a writing desk and a painting corner in my craft room...
Lord, I'm going to have "nooks" and "corners" all over my house at this rate.
Also, one last tidbit: After I started reading the book and learned what the term meant, I saw someone on Facebook shared a link to "The 10 Most Hygge Recipes Ever". Translated, it was a bunch of the best comfort foods... ALSO all my faves!! I swear... I'm so hygge...
So, how do you feel about "hygge"? Are you a cozy & comfy kind of person? Does your living space reflect that? Come on, everyone, get hygge with it!!! :)