The hype about Hygge!

Cats are good at Hygge

What is all this hype about Hygge? (pronouned Hoo – gah) It purports to be a new trendy concept about ‘cosiness’ being used to improve our quality of life in a Scandinavian manner. Or is it just the Emperor’s new clothes? Or maybe the Emperor’s new slippers? Haven’t we always enjoyed our home comforts in the dark of winter nights? Isn’t that why onesies were invented, as a sort of uncool hygge? Or maybe it has just become a marketing ploy to sell comforting items at inflated prices. One website I looked at using the Hygge tag on its goods had Hygge slippers at £45 and a Hygge cashmere ‘organic’ cardigan for £89. Quite what an organic cardigan is as opposed to an inorganic one is anyone’s guess.  A Hygge candle was advertised for a mere £25, smelling of cosiness I presume.

Feelings not things

Hygge is a Danish thing. Danes created hygge because they were trying to survive boredom, cold, dark and sameness in winter time and the undefinable feeling of hygge was a way for them to find moments to celebrate or acknowledge and to break up the day, months or years. With so many cold, dark, days, the simple act of making a steaming a cup of coffee in the morning or lighting a fire, or rustling up a home cooked evening meal with friends can make a huge difference to the deadly grip of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) caused by a chronic lack of light in the Northern Hemisphere in the winter months.

Hot beverages are Hygge

By creating simple rituals without effort, such as brewing real tea in a pot and serving it in a china cup or keeping fresh flowers in a colourful vase about the house, the Danes see both the domestic and personal life as an art form and not a drudgery to get away from. They incorporate hygge into their daily life so it becomes a natural extension of a simple comforting ritual.
Hygge is about being present enough to recognise and acknowledge an act, moment or feeling when the ordinary feels extraordinary.

Fireside feet are Hygge

A lovely idea, but hardly a new one? Apparently hygge is a word which has no direct translation (another one of these is schadenfreude, a particular favourite of mine) and I can see why.  It seems to be more about creating an ambiance, a feeling of shelter and comfort and contentedness rather being embodied in a specific candle you need to purchase at great cost. I was brought up to treasure everyday things we use around the house and the colours and textures of daily life. I had no idea this was hygge, it was just a way to take pleasure in simple things that didn’t cost much.

Cushion crush

I have always gained great satisfaction from using beautiful ceramic bowls or mugs from around the world , or collecting colourful cosy cushions way beyond necessity, or building a pile of quilts in different covers to sleep under much like the princess and the pea but in reverse.
There’s no harm in Hygge, and if it gives you a bit of love in a cold climate then I’m all for it. Just don’t be duped into paying through the nose for your slouch slippers, furry beanbag or hand knitted Nordic cardigan. My advice. Crank up the heating, make a nice cuppa, and curl up with the cat.

Hygge? Can you eat it?