What is ”Hygge”?

I love words. I think that goes without saying (you know, being a writer and all). I’m always looking to expand my vocabulary, and I love to learn new words. Hence, Word Wizard Wednesday was born. How does it work? I pick a random word, I define it, then I share my thoughts. Simple, right? I want to share my findings with my readers. Sharing is caring, after all!

Another free word defined. You’re welcome.

This week’s word is ”hygge”. Pronounced hue-guh, hygge is a Danish word used when acknowledging any feeling or moment as cozy, charming or special.

That awkward moment when I learned that I was saying this word wrong… I really thought it sounded like ”jiggy”. I’ve been saying ”Let’s get hygge with it!” This doesn’t date me in any way.

Hygge (or to be “hyggeligt”) doesn’t require learning “how to”, adopting it as a lifestyle or buying anything. Hygge literally only requires a conscious appreciation, a certain slowness, and the ability to not just be present – but recognize and enjoy the present. If you’ve ever enjoyed reading a book indoors on a rainy Sunday or a cup of hot cocoa on a snow day you’ve experienced hygge without even knowing it!

Sweatpants are a big part of my life. They’re just so comfy! And yes, sweatpants count as hygge. There’s even a word in Danish for them. Hyggebukser are that pair of pants you’d never be caught dead wearing in public, but practically live in when you’re at home binging on Netflix. Or when you’re too lazy to do laundry and it’s the only thing to wear. This happens to me on occasion. If ”on occasion” means ”all the time”.

I prefer the term ”comfy-give-up-on-life-pants”.

In addition to describing things as hyggelig (hygge-like), Danes are also obsessed with adding hygge to other words to describe things. For example, a hyggekrog is essentially a nook where you can get cozy—imagine a window seat where you can wrap yourself up in a blanket and watch the world go by or your favorite armchair where you do all of your reading. Both of these things I do rather well, I might add.

Accurate picture of me in my favorite reading setting: the beach. Although not technically a reading nook, it is one for me!

Since I see the pineapple me above, that reminds me of food! What you eat is also essential to creating those cozy vibes and it’s all about homemade sweets, comfort food and hot drinks. While restaurants can have a hygge atmosphere (think candles on the table and a fireplace in the back), spending tons of money on an expensive meal isn’t the point. It’s more about comfort and familiarity. My idea of this (other than the beach) is a warm cup of tea in a cozy sweater, digging up and making my Nanny’s famous macaroni and cheese recipe, then sharing it with friends and family while getting super fat and bloated (worth it!), and spending the weekend baking to my heart’s content. Food is life, okay? ”Too much food” just isn’t in my vocabulary. Maybe that’s why my weight is climbing.

I say this, but only for a fleeting moment. Those pastries aren’t going to make and eat themselves! 

If you want to be truly hygge, just remember to appreciate the simple things that bring joy to your life. Instead of complaining about the bad weather this winter (yes, I know it’s tempting!), light some candles and hunker down with a cup of tea and that book you’ve been meaning to read for months (I need to do this ASAP. My TBR pile is getting embarrassingly long). Or if you’re feeling more social, cook up a pot of comforting soup and invite your friends over for a board game night. Have fun, and get hygge with it! (Yes, I will make that sentence cool 😉 )

Hygge, Will Smith! Got to get hygge with it!

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