There are many ways to describe “hygge,” but think of it as the enjoyment of simple pleasures. It’s a Danish word that embraces the pursuit of happiness, graciousness and contentment. It’s coziness and warmth. As we approach the Winter solstice and the holidays, hygge (pronounced “HUE-gah”) can be a remarkable experience to share with others this time of year. You know it when you feel it.
The simple pleasures are all around us but it’s easy to overlook them in the midst of all the hullabaloo. Candles help. Maybe have a nice cuppa with someone or just yourself next to a window. Put down the smart phone, the shopping list, and the extravaganza. No politics please. Humor, compassion, respect are in. Stress, anger, exhaustion are out.
“And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is,” said Kurt Vonnegut. That’s hygge.
Leave it to Denmark to offer a word for these universal pleasures. Coincidentally, or not, it’s one of the highest-ranked countries in terms of happiness and work-life balance. Denmark boasts generous vacation and parental leave, along with high-quality health care and unemployment benefits. Bikes are everywhere. Ask Mikael Colville-Andersen of Copenhagenize. He knows a nice bicycle ride can be very hyggelig.
A winter walk could do the trick. That’s free and easy. Watching the birds at the feeder, sitting in the sunlight, sharing jokes and stories all qualify. Nature is a marvelous catalyst. You may say that’s our thing at Cleverhood — helping people get out without the rain or cold spoiling a good day. If you’re wondering where you fall on the hygge scale, you may appreciate Guardian Fashion‘s quality assessment test.
Once you know there’s a word for it, we know you’ll keep a weather-eye for it. From our little team here in Providence, we wish all our partners, supporters, customers and readers lots of good hygge this season!