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Hygge: It's Happening To YOU & You Don't Even Know It!

Hygge: It's Happening To YOU & You Don't Even Know It!

If you’ve been anywhere on social media, read any home décor or lifestyle magazines, or watched tv over the past few years you’ve probably heard the term “hygge”.  But if you haven’t heard of it, that’s certainly okay, and I’m glad you’re here to see what this funny sounding word is all about!  When I first heard it I kind of said, “Ahhhhhh, that’s the word I’ve always been missing!”.  I LOVE the concept of hygge.  The Danish term has no direct translation to English but it is often loosely translated as “cozy”, though it's really so much more than that.  The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”  However, I think this definition from Hygge House is probably my favorite:

 Image Source:  Hygge House

Image Source: Hygge House

Hygge House goes on to explain that “Hygge (or to be “hyggeligt”) doesn’t require learning “how to”, adopting it as a lifestyle, or buying anything.  It’s not a thing and anyone telling you different either doesn’t understand it or is literally trying to sell you something that has nothing to do with the concept. You can’t buy a ‘hygge living room’ and there’s no ‘hygge foods’ to eat.  Hygge literally only requires consciousness, a certain slowness, and the ability to not just be present – but recognize and enjoy the present. That’s why so many people distill ‘hygge’ down to being a ‘feeling’ – because if you don’t feel hygge, you probably aren’t using the word right.”

In short, this is what Pinterest tells us hygge is:

This is what retailers tell us hygge is:

But THIS is what hygge actually is:

Did you notice an extravagant woodland cabin, a roaring fire, a million candles, expensive sweaters, a vast assortment of high-end pillows, throws, etc in those pics of actual hygge?  Nope.  Not a one.  Real hygge is a feeling that comes from recognizing that there's something special about that particular moment and, basically, finding joy in it.  There's joy on that sofa with two people enjoying each other's company.  There's joy in that kitchen being shared by a dad and his daughter while making breakfast.  There's joy on that winter walk, alone, with a beloved pet.  As Alex Beauchamp states,  "That’s what real hygge is – a simple moment that feels so special, cosy, relaxing, loving or happy that you just need to call it out. It’s not about being fancy, or styled, or being in the best circumstances, or having the right things. It’s literally about being present enough to see how great a moment is, and give that moment a name – hygge."

That doesn't mean that a nice fire, candles, snuggly clothes and the like can’t contribute to a feeling of hygge, but that certainly isn’t all that it is.  These days, true hygge (for me) is more about family and sometimes about finding a few minutes to be alone with my thoughts.  Do I enjoy a warm cup of coffee or tea and maybe even a book in those moments?  Yes, if I’m lucky!  But it’s not the coffee or book that creates hygge for me, it’s the recognizing of the peace and quiet and the "self indulgence" of a little time alone that brings it.  Here are a few real-life examples of what hygge looks like in our home:

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And here is a great article by Hygge House that further expands on what hygge is/isn’t (it is really a great read!).

So now that we all know what hygge is, tell me, do you intentionally try to create hygge for your family?  I do!  Some of my best memories from childhood were from when I was just sitting on the couch next to my grandmother watching the Golden Girls on tv!  It always felt so nice to have her undivided attention, I loved how we laughed together, and she was always so warm…I obviously didn’t realize it at the time, but I was recognizing that moment of hygge, even as a child.  I absolutely want to create those sorts of moments for my kids and that’s okay!  Hygge can be both intentional and unintentional and guess, what?  It’s all hygge.  It’s a FEELING, regardless of how you get there, right?    

And after all this, now you’re probably thinking “Ahhhh...this hygge thing really does happen to me all the time!”  And yes, it does (see why I was so excited to finally learn what that feeling was called??)!  The trick is to recognize hygge when you feel it, be grateful for it, and to always be on the lookout for its next appearance.  I’ve found that since I’ve come to learn what true hygge is, I recognize it more in my life…which means I’m having more moments of mindful gratefulness…which makes me happy.  It’s sort of one awesome circle of happiness --> gratefulness --> happiness that has made a true impact on how I view the every day happenings in my life.  Isn’t it amazing how that works? 😊

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