If you haven't already heard, hygge is the new "in" thing, with countless books written about it. But what is it? Pronounced 'hue-ugh', this is the Danish coined phrase that can be translated simply as 'cosiness' in English.
It's a feeling and a lifestyle where the comforts of home are embraced, food is hearty and warm, and friends and family are gathered together. It's accessible, personal yet communal, and totally lacking in pretence. For the Danes, it's almost second nature.
Sounds good. So how do we get some hygge in our life? Here's 10 ways of achieving that perfect hygge in your life:
- Go home. 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 cosy and comfortable, most often at your home but perhaps at a softly lit cafe or a quiet nook at a library, definitely is.
- Be warm. Think wool socks, sweaters and blankets and textiles in general, such as plush towels, throws or curtains.
- Eat cake. And porridge. And fruit compote and open-faced sandwiches and a roast of pork or lamb. Hygge food is comfort food for everyday people. It's not expensive or fancy; it's accessible, soothing and plentiful.
- Invite friends. While you can hygge by yourself, being surrounded by friends or family is more in line with the spirit of hygge. So grab a cuddle buddy to snuggle with under that hand-woven blanket or invite guests to your homey feast to be more hyggelig. Playing board games with your company fits the hygge bill, plus you're going to want them on hand for what comes next.
- Watch scary TV. Watching scary TV shows or movies can increase hygge as long as it's fictional. (Watching the news is definitely not hygge.) Danes gravitate toward crime dramas or political thrillers.
- Ride a bike. Hygge doesn't mean staying indoors, and it doesn't require cold weather. Half of Copenhagen residents commute by bike — following in their footsteps can be very hygge because it fits the bill of slowing down, not being in a rush and taking in what's around you in the moment.
- Don't stay late after work. Danes and they value their family and spare time highly. This, coupled with it getting dark around 4pm in the winter, means they love nothing more than finishing work on time and heading home to spend time with their loved ones.
- Take lunch at 11am. Given the early morning starts, Danes usually take their lunch break around 11:00 am. It may seem early, but given we start to get hunger pangs around mid-morning, it kind of makes sense to eat a big lunch early on during the day to provide a profitable bout of energy for the afternoon.
- Wear black. If you've ever been to Denmark, you'd be mistaken for thinking all of the women are part-time ninjas – such is their predominantly black-coloured wardrobe. The fact that black absorbs heat and the temperature in Denmark can drop to −25 °C, it kind of makes sense that Danes are happy all the time – they're warm
- Dress for the weather. Danes abide by Alfred Wainright's phrase 'Der findes intet der hedder dårligt vejr, kun dårligt påklædning!' ('There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing!') If you've ever been caught out in the rain without an umbrella, stepped into a puddle in open-toe sandals or shivered at the slightest turn of the dial on the air conditioning, do as the Danes and dress for the weather. And yes, that does means layers, waterproof coasts and wellington boots in winter.
What do you think of hygge? Let us know your thoughts @office_fruit!