Hygge is the Danish Secret to Staying Happy and Cozy All Winter Long

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Hygge is the Danish secret to staying happy and cozy all winter long.

Everyone has a different opinion on how to survive the long and cold winter months. Some say you need a light therapy box, while others swear that lots of moisturizers and a good humidifier are successful keys. But the Danes? Hygge is the Danish secret to staying happy and cozy all winter long.

Well, the Danes say the only thing you need in the winter is hygge. Hygge is a term used to describe a comfy lifestyle craze that has gathered much attention in recent years.

So, the notion is not really new, and you might have heard of plenty of books on this subject. But what exactly is hygge? Can it be the secret to staying cozy and happy through the freezing nights ahead? This article will describe what hygge is, why the population of Denmark swears by it, and the best ways to apply this concept to your house and lifestyle.

While there are many ways to practice hygge, the tips below will surely point you in the right direction. If you want to implement the hygge right away, throw your fluffiest pair of socks and pajamas before you continue to scroll down.

Hygge is the Danish secret to staying happy and cozy all winter long
Hygge is when you are comfortable and feel good about it.

What is hygge?

Hygge is a Danish word that means a quality of comfort and coziness that describes a feeling of well-being and contentment. In other words, hygge is when you are comfortable and feel good about it. You can use a nice cup of tea, warm slippers, a good meal, or a great book to achieve hygge. This happens because the feeling is important in this term, not the cause.

Hygge became a popular concept a few years ago, but this notion is nothing new, as the Danes have been using it for several years already. Many believe that this feeling of hygge is exactly what makes Denmark one of the happiest countries worldwide.

Hygge is a way to cope with the brutal and cold Nordic winters. In Denmark, days can go dark for up to 17 hours during the worst season, and the temperature drops constantly. So, you don’t really have much else to do but stay inside, which made the Danes get creative with indoor activities that will keep them entertained and happy. Hence, hygge.

Hygge is the Danish secret to staying happy and cozy all winter long
Painting by P. S. Kreuer. Photo: Unknown.

The history of hygge

Similar to the Dutch idea of gezelligheid and the German concept of gemütlichkeit, the cozy and warm lifestyle hygge offers has been an integral part of the Danish culture since the word appeared for the first time in the written language in the 1800s. The world is derived from the Norwegian word for “well-being.”

In Denmark, hygge is used both as an adjective and a noun but is more a lifestyle for Danes. The term became very popular in the UK in 2016, and numerous books have appeared on this topic. It became so famous in Great Britain that it was Collin’s second word of the year in 2016, surpassed only by Brexit.

In 2017, the USA went all ga-ga for hygge. Every important newspaper published many topics on this subject, and numerous books were written in a short amount of time. Additionally, the concept started trending on social media platforms as well. For example, the activity on Pinterest in 2016 related to hygge increased by 285 percent that year. So, Pinterest predicted that hygge would become one of the hottest home decor trends in 2017. Also, the word was popular on Instagram, having more than 4 million posts with #hygge.

Hygge is the Danish secret to staying happy and cozy all winter long, article continues….

Hygge is the Danish secret to staying happy and cozy all winter long
Danes are obsessed with describing numerous things as hyggelig and add hygge to plenty of other words.

How can you have a hygge life?

People might not know exactly what hygge means and have contradictory questions on this topic. For example, do sweatpants count as hygge? Well, yes, they do, and the Danes also have a word for them: hyggebukser. Hyggebukser are pants you will never go out in, but you will practically want to wear them whenever you are inside, as they are truly comfortable.

Danes are obsessed with describing numerous things as hyggelig and add hygge to plenty of other words. For instance, a hyggekrog is a nook where you can get all cozy, like a window seat, to watch the world go by while you are all wrapped in a blanket. Here is everything else that can be considered hygge:

Candles

If you ask a Dane, they will surely tell you that candles are one of the best ways to create a hyggelig feeling in your house. An average Dane burns 3.5 kg per year, so you can be sure that candles are an essential part of the hygge atmosphere. So, to try this at home, light some candles and turn off those unflattering overhead lamps.

Fireplaces

Can you name something better than curling up by the fire when it is cold outside? Fireplaces are amazing for winter, and you can do a lot of activities around them, like putting on your favorite shows on repeat. You can also decorate your fireplace area with elements you love. For example, you can choose some pops from Stranger Things if that is your favorite series. Or, for Christmas, you can hang some jingle bells and garlands to make your time spent inside more pleasurable.

Blankets

Whether a weighted blanket, a chunky knit or a heated throw, you will need something to wrap yourself and stay cozy. In this category, you can also integrate thick socks and oversized sweaters, which makes things feel more hygge.

Comfort food, homemade sweets and hot drinks

What you eat also matters when you want to create a cozy vibe. While restaurants can offer a hygge atmosphere, spending tons of money on food might not be the most appealing option. Moreover, hygge is more about familiarity and comfort. In Denmark, this means meatballs, pastries and a copious amount of coffee, but things can look different around the globe. For example, in America, the hygge feeling might be achieved with a grandma’s chicken pot pie, a warm drink and a weekend afternoon baking a chocolate cake.

This year, you will not need to complain about the bad weather, as you can embrace the concept of hygge to stay cozy and happy all winter long.

Hygge is the Danish secret to staying happy and cozy all winter long, written for Daily Scandinavian by Mary Hall.

Feature image (on top): © Freepik

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Journalist, PR and marketing consultant Tor Kjolberg has several degrees in marketing management. He started out as a marketing manager in Scandinavian companies and his last engagement before going solo was as director in one of Norway’s largest corporations. Tor realized early on that writing engaging stories was more efficient and far cheaper than paying for ads. He wrote hundreds of articles on products and services offered by the companies he worked for. Thus, he was attuned to the fact that storytelling was his passion.

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