“The Little Book of Hygge” by Meik Wiking
Last week our discussion of hygge had you creating a hyggekrog – a space where you can be comfortable and read or knit or just relax by yourself.
Today we are going to ask you get up from your hyggekrog and open up your home and invite others to warm their feet by the fire. You can certainly hygge by yourself but hygge mostly happens with small groups of family and friends. In a study it was learned that 60% of Europeans socialized a minimum of once a week. However, in Denmark, where hygge is rooted, that average is 78%.
Socializing is an important aspect of hygge. Perhaps one reason some people are hesitant to have others over and socialize more is we often refer to this as “entertaining.” Hygge is not about creating events that are worthy of an Academy Award – it is about creating moments we will remember. Hygge socializing is, in fact, made up of smaller groups and the goal is warmth of people and becoming closer. It might help take some of the pressure off to replace “entertaining” with “gathering” or “get-together.”
If you worry that you have to be Martha Stewart to pull off a hygge get-together, this episode from The Ellen Show (the sitcom not the talk show) might help you relax (or at least make you laugh):
In his book Meik Wiking says:
“Hygge is also a situation where there is a lot of relaxed thoughtfulness. Nobody takes center stage or dominates conversation for long stretches of time. Equality is an important element in hygge – a trait that is deeply rooted in the Danish culture – and also manifests itself in the fact that everybody takes part in the chores of the hyggelig evening. It is more hyggeligt if we all help to prepare food, instead of having the host alone in the kitchen.”
“Time spent with others creates an atmosphere that is warm, relaxed, friendly, down-to-earth, close, comfortable, snug, and welcoming. In many ways it is like a good hug, but without the physical contact. It is in this situation that you can be completely relaxed and yourself.”
A hygge meal can be a homemade dish or recipe you want to try out, soup and sandwiches, potluck (don’t forget a hotdish or bars), or a well-placed call for pizza delivery. It can be served at a dining room table, picnic table, card table or a makeshift buffet on the coffee table.
You can find some ideas in this video about a hygge gathering (and don’t let the word “entertaining” in the title scare you away):
No meal needs to be involved. You can have coffee and something you got from the store enjoyed in the living room or on the front steps (when it’s a little warmer), start an interest group such as a book club, knitting group, or just people who need to get away from their family now and again.
However you decide to leave your hyggekrog and embrace others, here are some of our tips for adding hygge to your next gathering:
- Ask everyone to bring something whether it is wine or a salad or a game.
- While it is okay now and then to watch a movie, try to avoid having the television be the center of attention. Sure it might be hard to get up a good game of Farkel on Super Bowl Sunday, but on other days try to do something more interactive like talk.
- In the winter you can have a basket of warm, comfy slippers that your guests can wear rather than those shoes that are still cold from walking in the snow to get to your door. You can also make available a sweater or cozy blanket if anyone is a little chilly.
- Encourage people to dress for comfort.
- Music can add to the atmosphere. In fact, one person put a “Hello Hygge” list on Spotify.
Finally, to really add some hygge karma to your gathering, consider inviting people that aren’t part of your usual circle of friends and family.
- Someone new to your city or neighborhood or where you work;
- If you tend to be couple centric, invite some single people (we don’t bite, you don’t have to find someone to set us up with, and we won’t try to steal your significant other);
- If you are all about the same age invite someone a decade or two younger or older; or
- Add some diversity.
Written by Mary Hirsch