What is hygge? (pronounced HOO-GA)

Think coziness! 

A soft blanket

A book beside a crackling fire

A soothing drink

A lighted candle

A (real!) Danish pastry

A stroll alone or with friends


According to lifestyle journalist Helen Russell who writes in The Year of Living Danishly, hygge is the practice of taking pleasure in gentle, soothing things. You can read my review here.

Londoners Helen and her husband (whom she dubs Lego Man because of his yearlong contract with the company) celebrate romping through the sparkling Scandinavian summer and then buckling down to the bitter Nordic winter that “makes your forehead freeze with the effects of nature’s Botox and your eyes scrunch up to shield your irises from the chill. (259)

Some of you, dear readers, are facing cold temps very soon: Canadians, Americans in the northern states, Britishers, Siberians. Even if you live in warmer climes, you may need to prop up your spirits on a dull, rainy day!


HERE’S HOW TO CREATE HYGGE (Condensed from Renew Magazine, United Healthcare)

Savor the Moment:Smell the treat before you eat it. Linger over a good conversation at dinner. Choose enjoyment over accomplishments and possessions.”

Build a Comfortable nest: Blankets, pillows, soft pajamas may help

Set a soft mood: Candles, soft music (or silence), ambient lighting

Embrace nature: Take a stroll or leisurely bike ride; bring the outdoors in with wood, herbs, flowering plants.

Feed your senses: “Warm your hands around a steaming fragrant mug” of mulled cider, your favorite tea or coffee.


What Does Hygge Look Like?

Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, Copenhagen, extols Danish Secrets to Happy Living, his book’s subtitle. He defines hygge as a feeling of well being, a word, originally from the Norwegian, which Canadians may translate as hominess, or the Germans, Gemütlischkeit.

Google Image: Meik Wiking, author The Little Book of Hygge



In his The Little Books of Hygge, Wiking reveals that “When Danes are asked what they most associate with hygge, an overwhelming 85 percent will mention candles.” (2)


Coziness may also include a fireplace, vintage items – chocolate! – all of which may release the happy hormone oxytocin into our bodies.

“Live today like there is no coffee tomorrow.”    ~ Meik Wiking


Click below to see the 32-second MOVIE clip from a Netflix original, Abstract, “Ilse Crawford: Interior Design” where Ilse describes hygge as “a comfortable setting, good furniture design, a sense of belonging, community.”



An Image that certainly says Hygge to me.

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the wo/man that trusteth in him.  ~ Psalm 34:8 King James Version


“Do you know about hygge, Mom?”

“Hoog-ee what? she asks, wrinkling her forehead.

I explain, “Oh, feeling comfortable and happy like you are now.”

“Ach, don’t talk so dumb, Marian. I don’t need to know about such a funny word. I just like to eat warm soup in my cozy corner,” she says holding her soup spoon steady.

Maybe I should have said the German word Gemütlischkeit. She understood that word. I heard her say it.

* * *

This is an imaginary conversation, of course. But I know my mom and how she thought.

How I miss my Mother!



What says “hygge” to you?

How do you practice coziness?

Who do you know who’s very good at practicing hygge?