What the Danish Tradition of Hygge Means to Me

“Happiness is quality time with friends and family. Incorporate Hygge to everyday life to guarantee it.”

– Jessica Joelle Alexander.


Hygge has become ‘fashionable’, here in the United kingdom. That is not to say that the public are not gradually becoming aware of this wonderful element of Scandinavian culture but it is more to say that, in recent years, Hygge is being used as a focal selling point by retailers. That is fine, but my hope is that people will see Hygge for a whole lot more than just the cosy blanket that is for sale in the local department store or online.

Hygge, I believe, is far more about a feeling.

To me, Hygge can be a component part of our lives, all year long. I say this, because I feel it is a way of life. Hygge comes into its own as the summer ends and autumn begins, of course. The slight chill in the air and that need to be wrapped in a big, comfy woolly jumper, or sweater.

Yet, Hygge is far more than this sense of safe, comfy cosiness that comes from engulfing ourselves under woolly clothes, fleecy blankets and furry covers. It is more than soft candlelight offering a warming glow. It is far more than the crimson reds, rusty oranges and gentle browning of summer greens in the autumnal kaleidoscope of colours, at the start of the colder seasons.

Indeed, the arrival of our chopped logs, the lighting of the evening fire and the gentle smoke puffing out of our centuries old cottage, in our quaint, pretty village is not even close to what Hygge is truly about, for me.

The cosiest, snuggliest, fluffiest, warmest and most richly crimson situations are only truly made complete when we can share them with a loved one/s; be that a family member, friend, neighbour or even colleague. Sometimes, it may be the arrival of a smiling stranger walking into the warm and cosy pub or cafe that is yet to fill with the chatter of people seeking restful restoration from the hustle and bustle of day to day life.

Yes, sharing a favourite place, sharing comfortable and cosy surrounds, sharing flavoursome food and something lovely to drink, sharing a smile, sharing laughter or a kind word and even just sharing a few minutes where we show that the other person (or people) matters is really what Hygge is about.

Retailers are doing well, though, for they are showing that we can make our homes, community venues and work settings into much more comfortable, warm, cosy and safe places in which to share our special moments with others.

This is done best, I believe, by stimulating our 5 senses; sight, sound, taste, smell and touch.

Our 5 Senses

Sight and Hygge.

What better way to make your home exemplify Hygge than to display things that you care about meaningfully, than to display items, possessions and objects that are sentimental to you and to display photos and artworks that represent something that touches your heart in some way? This gives the eyes a visual experience that is all about what is special to us. Likewise, what better than to use colours to either set a scene for warmth and comfort or that offer a hint of this when used as an accent colour to your main scheme?

Sound and Hygge.

Filling a room with gentle background music that is uplifting, serene, joyful…whatever encourages a smile, a fond memory or even just a contrast to silence, if silence is not uplifting. Perhaps the addition of a running water feature indoors or out or a set of hanging chimes by a window?

Taste and Hygge.

How lovely is it to enjoy the taste of something special; a favourite biscuit or slice of cake, for example? A flavoured blend of tea or coffee or the sweet yet slightly bitter taste of a richly decadent hot chocolate drink? A fruity dessert wine to follow a meal, a box of chocolates or perhaps a well planned dinner menu to share?

Smell and Hygge.

How about the fresh scent of cut flowers, the rich aroma of a pot of fresh coffee, or of something baking? What about a gentle perfume coming from the fragrant source of josticks, scented candles, a bowl of citrus fruit or infuser?

Touch and Hygge.

Don’t forget the delight of that furry throw on the back of the sofa or the fluffy scatter cushions. perhaps the feel of that oversized, cosy woolly jumper or the snugness of enjoying wearing your favourite ‘onezie’ might offer that warm Hygge feeling? A favourite blanket, those fluffy slippers or the comfortable chair that is known as ‘your chair’ because it is your go-to place when you want to enjoy a book and when you want your furniture to hug you?

What Hygge Means to Me

Do you see now a little more of what Hygge means to me?

For me, Hygge is sharing time with loved ones and it is to create a setting that makes being in a place, like having a hug from the whole experience. It is not about having material possessions in the setting you enjoy loved ones, it is about having meaningful things around you that enrich your senses and the experience of enjoying time with loved ones.

I made a little video to show a glimpse of how I am starting to achieve this at home, which you will find below. I hope that you enjoy watching and that the video and this article inspire you to learn more about Hygge, so that you can create the cosy setting in which to enjoy the special moments with loved ones, too.

What Does Hygge Mean to You?

I would love to learn more about what you are doing to bring Hygge into your life. If you would like to, please share something in the comments, below. Alternatively, maybe you would like to make a video or article, or both, for my ‘Guest Contributions’ section of this blog site? Simply drop me a line via the contact form on this site, which is in the main menu, and I will contact you about publishing your article here.

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