Hygge is a Danish term used to describe the idea of being cosy, soothing your soul, warming the cockles of your heart and all that lovely stuff. Yes, this is an actual thing and we love it. Guess what guys – you’re allowed to wind down from your busy day and comfort yourselves and not feel guilty about it. Yes, open the wine, yes, eat the chocolate, yes, watch that reality tv show you say you hate but secretly love. Denmark is said to be the happiest country in the world and now we know why, they comfort and treat themselves all the time and why not eh? We all deserve to be treated. At GAFF we love being cosy with a warm blanket, the fire roaring, good tv and a cup of tea and now we have an actual name for it – Hoorah!
We had the absolute pleasure of asking Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen (probably the best job in the world amirite?) and author of The Little Book of Hygge a few questions on how to have Hygge in our homes. So put the kettle on, snuggle up, scroll below and embrace your inner Hygge.
At GAFF we just love the concept of Hygge. What is the first step we should take to have this in our home?
First, and most crucially, we need to start talking more about Hygge. Our language shapes our behaviour and our behaviour shapes our happiness. A rose by any other name may still smell as sweet – but it should have a name. Obviously, feel free to use ours. It is called Hygge.
In your book you mention the word Hyggekrog, which explains itself as the nook in a kitchen or living room where one can sit and have a Hyggelig time. How do we create this space in our home?
First make a Hyggekrog. The one thing that every home needs is a Hyggekrog, which roughly translates as ‘a nook’. It is the place in the room where you love to snuggle up in a blanket, with a book and a cup of tea. Then bring in nature. Danes feel the need to bring the entire forest inside. Any piece of nature you might find is likely to get the Hygge greenlight. Leaves, nuts, twigs etc. Basically, you want to think: How would a Viking squirrel furnish a living room? Then think tactile. A Hyggelig interior is not just about how things look, it is just as much about how things feel. Letting your fingers run across a wooden table, a warm ceramic cup is a distinctly different feeling from being in contact with something made from steel, glass or plastic.
Hygge emergency kits are very important and can include candles, good quality chocolate, tea, a blanket and, naturally, a scarf. In Denmark we survive from scarf withdrawal syndrome, so it’s important to have one on you at all times.
You speak about having a Hyggelig evening with friends and family, what does this involve?
The key elements of Hygge are atmosphere, presence, pleasure, equality, gratitude, harmony, comfort, truce, togetherness and shelter. In terms of food, the high levels of meat, confectionary and coffee consumption in Denmark is directly linked to Hygge.
Hygge is about being kind to yourself – giving yourself a treat, and giving yourself, and each other, a break from the demands of healthy living. Sweets are Hygge-lit, cake is Hygge-lit, coffee or hot chocolate is Hygge-lit too. Carrot sticks? Not so much. Something sinful is an integral component of the Hygge ritual. But it should not be something fancy or extravagant. Fois gras is not Hygge-lit. But a hearty stew is. Popcorn is too.
In your book you mention the importance of using light in a home to create a sense of Hygge. Why is light so important?
Because it has a great impact on the atmosphere in the room. Oh and with better lighting people also look better. You want to go with the lower end of the temperature scale. That gives a warmer and softer light. So light up the candles and the fireplace (if you have one) or have smaller lamps at the corner of the room instead of one fluorescent light in the ceiling.
What are the key elements that we should take from your book to have a sense of Hygge in our home?
I think, especially, now that we are approaching Christmas there is a need for Hygge. For many people, Christmas is a lot of work and stress, and therefore I think it’s even more important to keep reminding oneself of the Hygge manifesto: Atmosphere; Turn down the lights, bring out the candles. Togetherness; Build relationships and narratives ‘Do you remember the time, we …?’ Gratitude; Take it in, this might be as good as it gets. Equality; We over me, share the tasks and the airtime.
To welcome the winter months, BIC (whose utility lighters we’d be lost without, on account of all the candles we light on a daily basis) has partnered with best-selling author of the ‘Little Book of Hygge’ and CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, Meik Wiking to communicate the ‘Art of Cosy.’ For more Hygge goodness you can follow Meik Wiking on Twitter here.
Here’s a little list of Hygge goodies to add to your home:
Get cosy and see more Hygge-ful products in our gallery,