Candles glowing amidst the laughter of friends who call…
While folks in Denmark have long been obsessed with hygge (pronounced HYU-gah), it has only recently made its way to the U.K. and the U.S. In fact, a slew of hygge books will hit shelves soon, encouraging people everywhere to don warm clothes, grab a hot drink and huddle in front of a roaring fire. Hygge is a year-round concept that helps Danes hold the title of the the happiest people on earth. But the lifestyle of Nordic people helped them to survive the long, cold, dark winters . Those living in the same seasonal conditions also have the same instincts to enjoy and get through those wintery nights with people and a bit of grog.
I believe many of us have always practiced hygge though we don’t really have a name for it. For those of us in the North East of the States and our northern Canadian friends we begin to prepare for hygge by chopping wood in fall. Knitting mittens to be worn while ice skating out on the pond, and searching for recipes sure to warm the bones we are drawn to nesting in for the winter. Inviting friends to dinner of stew and warm soup keep costs down and is a practice shared with the Danes. Dining out in Denmark is expensive due to a 25 percent value-added tax, so Danes tend to spend more time eating at home. Plus, being at a nightclub or a pretentious restaurant is definitely not hygge. But being cozy and comfortable, most often at your home but perhaps at a softly lit cafe or a quiet nook at a library, definitely is.
Cynthia Riegle is the owner of Riegle Home Staging & design. She is committed to helping real estate agents and homeowners sell their properties for the best return of investment in the Charlottesville, Virginia area.
The best thing about the cold season is hygge! I absolutely love this time because it provides more cuddle moments with my family. Time seems to slow down and we get to relax and get to know each other better by a warm fire and with a warm cup of hot chocolate. Thank you for providing the background of these traditions we love! I never knew it originated in Denmark. I look forward to seeing it come up more in our culture!