Hygge is often translated as cozy and at this time of year cozy equals warmth. The winters in Denmark, where hygge originated, are dark and cold so the creation of a warm environment is part of their lifestyle.
There are numerous ways to bring warmth into your home and life.
If your home has a fireplace it can not only provide the physical feeling of warmth but the sounds, scents, and sight of a fire can create a sense of coziness and calm. An outdoor fire pit can bring that warmth to a gathering of friends and family. If you don’t have a fireplace there are videos that can simulate the sight and sounds.
Hot drinks add to the hygge feeling. When a survey was taken of Danes by the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen to determine what people associated with hygge, hot drinks took first place. In fact, 86% of Danes associate hygge with a hot drink. Tea, hot chocolate and mulled wine are popular but the favorite is coffee. There is a word “kaffehygge,” coffee + hygge, and is found everywhere. There is a website dedicated to kaffehygge that says “Live life today like there is no coffee tomorrow.”
The Swedish custom of fika is also associated with coffee and relaxing. “Fika is really just the Swedish word for coffee break,” says Anna Brones, author of Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. “Traditionally, you have coffee and something sweet like a cinnamon or cardamon bun or chocolate.”
Brones says that at most Swedish companies people get a fika break in the morning and in the afternoon. And unlike American coffee breaks, where you drink your coffee in front of your computer or at a meeting, fika means taking a real pause in your day to chat with your co-workers and friends . “It’s not really the food or the drink but the act of taking a break that’s important,” Brones says.
Another favorite Scandinavian warm beverage is glögg. Often compared to mulled wine glögg has some distinct differences. They normally use aquavit, the nation’s favorite liquor, but you can use vodka instead. Dried fruits and nuts are added to the mix, and are meant to be eaten. The drink is served with a spoon to make eating these alcohol-infused snacks easier.
Here is a video that shows one way to make glögg:
Blankets and Cushions:
According to Meik Wiking, one of the world’s best known hygge advocates and author of the book “The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living”:
“Blankets and cushions are must-haves in any hygge household, especially during the cold months of winter. To snuggle up with a blanket is very hyggeligt” [a variation of hygge also meaning cozy], “and sometimes one does it even though one is not feeling cold, simply because it is cozy. Blankets can be made out of fabrics such as wool or fleece, which are warmer, or cotton for a lighter feeling.”
“Large or small, cushions are also hygge essentials. What is better than leaning your head against a nice cushion while reading your favorite book?” Not much in my opinion.
More than clothes for survival in the cold, hygge clothing creates not just warmth but comfort. It can be a cardigan that you wrap around yourself; warm wool socks for your feet; pants that “give a little” (think sweatpants or yoga pants); and for the ultimate day of hygge spend the day in your pajamas and robe.
Ingebretsen’s is proud to have many hygge friendly products to keep you warm.
Next week: Hygge and Lighting
Written by Mary Hirsch