Evening settles over the tundra early in January when Upper Midwesterners experience only eight hours of daylight, half of what we get to enjoy in the summer months. We’ve been daily gaining precious minutes of sunshine since December, but these darker, colder mid-winter weeks set the perfect stage for living a more hyggelig (hygge-like) life. Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is a Danish lifestyle concept that became an international movement a few years ago. Its Scandinavian origins and our northern climate make the hygge model especially appealing. We’re on board. Here’s how you can be too.
According to Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and author of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience that promote intimacy and coziness. The basic elements integral to creating a hyggelig space include things like candlelight; a comfortable corner or nook to cozy up; relaxed, casual clothing; blankets, pillows along with vintage style décor; steamy and delectable comfort foods and warm sips of tea, coffee or mulled wine; books; nature; and most importantly, togetherness.
Candles are central to much of hygge because their soft glow instantly create a sense of intimacy and calm. Electric lights can emit a similar effect if chosen specifically to provide lower temperature pools of light rather than a harsh overhead glare. Scandinavian lamp designs by Poul Henningsen, Arne Jacobson and Verner Panton are particularly popular with hygge enthusiasts. Or consider installing dimmer switches so you can lower your lights for those special hygge moments.
Fireplaces are a popular hygge element. You could extend this to an outdoor firepit or fireplace, a steaming hot tub or strategically placed patio heaters for those brave souls who enjoy congregating outdoors all year round.
For indoor types, be sure you stock your gathering spaces with plenty of lap blankets, soft pillows and interesting books. Also, a basket of cozy wool socks is an incredible treat for guests who’ve removed their shoes.
Casual is key to the hyggelig life, something many work-from-home folks have lately become accustomed to. But that doesn’t mean you need sacrifice style. Just keep it minimalist with an emphasis on layers. Add in a variety of cardigans, scarves, wraps and warm socks and you’re set. Because you cannot hygge when you’re cold.
Cooking hygge meals is about slow … taking your time to create a dish or a simmering pot. Consider the creation of a hygge meal as a type of mindfulness. Turn off the TV, light some candles, put on some music and savor the process. Happy Hygge!
Local hygge items we love
Cozy up your house with these items from The 715 in Hudson.
Just across from the Dunn Brothers in Hudson is a cozy little shop that offers plenty of products to add a little hygge to your home.
Private and virtual shopping appointmenst can be scheduled in advance. All COVID related precautions are in place to help protect shoppers.
524 2nd St, Hudson, Wis.
the715hudson.com // 715.381.8175