The Hygge Way of Life

The Amherst News - - COMMUNITY - Chantelle Tay­lor At the Li­brary Chantelle Tay­lor is the deputy chief li­brar­ian for the Cum­ber­land Pub­lic Li­braries.

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

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