The word Hygge (pronounced "hoo-gah") appeared in written Danish for the first time in the early 1800s, but the word is actually Norwegian in origin. It describes a universal feeling of being warm, safe, comforted, and sheltered — an experience of belonging to the moment and to each other.
Hygge has been called everything from "the art of creating intimacy", "coziness of the soul", and "the absence of annoyance", to "taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things", "cozy togetherness" and "cocoa by candlelight".
Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.
Hygge is the antidote to the cold winter, the rainy days, and the duvet of darkness.
Hygge is about feeling safe. Hence, hygge is an indication that you trust the ones you are with and where you are.
When life gets hectic, work grows stressful, and the days fly by, hygge allows you to unplug and tune in.
The Hygge Manifesto by Meick Wiking
- ATMOSPHERE - Turn down the lights.
- PRESENCE - Be here now. Turn off the phones.
- PLEASURE - Coffee, chocolate, cookies, cakes, candy. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!
- EQUALITY - "We" over "me". Share the tasks and the airtime.
- GRATITUDE - Take it in. This might be as good as it gets.
- HARMONY - It’s not a competition. We already like you. There is no need to brag about your achievements.
- COMFORT - Get comfy. Take a break. It’s all about relaxation.
- TRUCE - No drama. Let’s discuss politics another day.
- TOGETHERNESS - Build relationships and narratives. "Do you remember the time we . . . ?"
- SHELTER - This is your tribe. This is a place of peace and security.
Hygge at Home
Here's my way of making my home a little more hyggeligt:
- A warm cup of tea
When I last de-cluttered my kitchen, I cleared a whole deep drawer and converted it to a coffee/tea/matcha brewing station. All my ingredients and handmade ceramic cups are in the same place. It makes me happy every time I open it!
- Heavy blankets
There's a basket next to my couch where I keep a collection of warm and soft blankets. Whether I'm reading a book by myself or watching a movie with Octave, I reach into the basket and add a little warmth and coziness to any activity!
- Scented Candles
Nothing beats candlelight to make any gloomy day and dark room feel warm and welcoming. I made a bunch of soy candles last year and will definitely try new scents pretty soon.
- Delicious Cake
Baking is such a great colder days activity. It warms both your home and your belly.
- Good time with good friends
It's so easy to retreat into your home and stop going out when the days get cold and wet. The best way to beat the gloom is to have friends over and share a great moment together.
Hygge at Work
Hygge is not reserved to your home, which means you can apply those principles to your workplace.
Decorate your workstation, make it more homey and comfortable
Schedule a potluck
Organize a meditation session/yoga class
Grow plants or herbs
A Hygge Reading List
Last winter, I borrowed these 3 books about hygge from the library and loved every one of them:
The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living
The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection
How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life
Now if you've learnt enough about hygge and actually want to experience it, here are my favorite "afternoon under the covers with a warm cup of tea" books:
- Sustainable Home by Christine Liu
My friend Christine sent me her book and I've been loving it. Taking inventory oh what's in your home, making it simpler, more organized, healthier is one of my favorite past-times. It is a great reminder that we can make a lot with what we already own. Thank you Christine for this thoughtful gift and congratulations on a beautiful work!
- Wabi-Sabi Welcome by Julie Pointer Adams
A beautiful book about learning to embrace the imperfect and entertain with thoughtfulness and ease. PS: The book in itself is so beautiful with its Japanese binding!
- I usually do not read those kinds of books, but I bet epic sagas or winter adventures or Nordic tales would be very hyggeligt.
For more book recommendations, you can check out my reading list.
Let me know in the comments below whether you have fall rituals and what's your favorite way to make your home feel cozier this season!