What the Heck is "Hygge"?

While everyone else is Marie Kondo-ing their homes and figuring out what sparks joy, I’ve been cozying up to the concept of hygge. It’s just another reason for me to love Denmark more than I already do (have I mentioned how obsessed I am over Nadine Redzepi and her cookbook “Downtime”?).

In essence, hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word to describe a mood of coziness and wellness. It’s about enjoying the simple things in life and embracing the comfort of home. One of the podcasts I listened to actually described hygge as a verb. While Americans tend to think of “coziness” as a noun and a state of being, the Danes think of it as something that’s actively pursued; quite literally, hygge loosely translates to “to cozy.” The word “hug” even directly stems from hygge.

Over the past month, we bought armchairs and a floor lamp – the finishing touches to bring together the living room and unintentionally boost hygge. We’re talking throw pillows, a fleece blanket with both dogs nestled beside me, a good hardcover book, an Anthropologie candle, smooth jazz on Spotify, and the recent LA rain gently pitter-pattering against the window pane. Pure bliss.

Here are my favorite ways to indulge in hygge.

Candles

Studies have shown that Danes burn more candles than any other European country. The hygge is real! After the holidays, I scored some deep discounts on candles at Home Goods, World Market, and Pier 1 Imports. And don’t forget to save your candle jars to use as pots for plants. Eco-friendly and cozy!

Lamps

SImilar to candles, lamps are an important part of creating the perfect atmosphere. The Danes take great pride in light fixtures and strategically plan where to place their light sources. It’s more important to have small pockets of intentional light rather than a central light source that overpowers your space. Keep it light but not too bright.

Boyfriend Sweaters

I raided Alex’s closet and have been wearing some of his oversized sweaters to work. The baggier, the better. Just tuck it into a pair of high-waisted, fitted jeans. For those of you braving the polar vortex, don’t forget to accessorize with fleece socks, mittens, and a cute headwrap. [sources: Chellysun, Belletag/Nordstrom]

Homemade Bread

The feeling of pulling something fresh out of the oven has hygge written all over it. The warmth, the smells, the joy of sharing with your loved ones. And even if it’s not bread, any comfort food like pasta, soup, or cookies also work. Ramen pictured is from Ippudo!

There’s a fine line between coziness and laziness, but the beauty of hygge is that you can make it your own. Whatever brings those warm fuzzies to your heart and mind.