The Hygge Way of Life
School is back in, summer vacations are over, the nights are getting longer and cooler, and the official start of autumn is less than two weeks away. It is the perfect time of year to start thinking about hygge. Hygge is defined by the online Oxford Dictionary as “A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)” and is pronounced hueguh according to hyggehouse. com. Hygge literally only requires consciousness, a certain slowness, and the ability to not just be present – but recognize and enjoy the present. (www.hyggehouse.com) Remember last year when minimalism was sweeping the planet and we were throwing out everything that didn’t bring us joy (The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up: The Art of Japanese
Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo)? Well, this is way better.
Hygge is hot drinks, cozy blankets, candles, home cooking, reading, wool socks and sweaters and playing cards with your family! As Canadians, we subscribe to something very similar to hygge. We have a long dark winter to look forward to and as such we have lots of the same philosophies and activities to help us make it to spring. We just don’t call it hygge and we also don’t take it outside our homes.
The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking was by far my favorite of hygge books. This title is available in book format as well as an audiobook and I highly recommend giving it a listen! The audiobook is read by the author, and who better to lead you through hygge then the CEO of Happiness Institute? Light is hugely important to Danish culture; like us, they spend a lot of time in the dark from October to March. Wiking talks about the “obscene use” (his words, not mine) of candles in Danish culture. They burn them not only in their homes, but also at work, restaurants, and in schools. The Danish are devoted to getting the perfect light in their homes through lamps, and Wiking goes on the talk about the 3 iconic Danish lamps! Can you name any iconic lamp? The perfect light is not the only aspect of hygge; Wiking also talks about the five dimensions of hygge, the most hyggelig time of the year (aka Christmas), the hygge survival guide, and the hygge manifesto. There are recipes, decorating tips, and advice on how to dress like a Dane (spoiler alert; it’s all in black).
Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg is good, but I didn’t find this book as informative as The Little Book of Hygge. The bulk of the text is quotes from people on different hygge topics. It you want a quick read, this might be the book for you. But it also included how people define hygge, decorating tips, recipes and lots of ways to bring hygge into your life at home and work. Other hygge books available at the library include: The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection by Louisa Thomsen Brits, How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life by Signe Johansen, and Happy as a Dane: 10 Secrets of the Happiest People in the World by Malene Rydahl.
Hygge is everywhere right now. I saw a hygge face mask the other day! I am not one to willing join any trend, but I really enjoyed listening to and reading these books. I found I already subscribe to a lot of this lifestyle. Although, I will not be running out to buy PH lamps or starting to drink tea, I may be tidying up my cozy nook, adding to my plant collection, and maybe even increasing my hot chocolate consumption this winter. Or at the very least keep more chocolate in the house.
To find books on hygge or any other topic check us out at www. cumberlandpubliclibraries.ca