While it can be practised at any time of the year, the Danish art of cosiness makes perfect sense during winter. For Danes, hygge (pronounced “hooguh”) is designed to encourage specific feelings of comfort, contentment and togetherness. It’s all about being warm and content while retreating from the extremes of wintry weather outside.
Though the English language has no equivalent, in Denmark hygge is a noun, adjective and verb all rolled into one. Part of the Danish way of life, the cultural concept of being cosy and kind to yourself is quite possibly why Denmark so often tops the list of the world’s happiest countries. The connection between hygge and happiness isn’t hard to see considering that prioritising relaxation, connecting with friends and family and pursuing a hobby are all examples of hygge.
The word itself originated from a Norwegian term for ‘wellbeing’, and first appeared in Danish writing in the 18th century. Since then, hygge has firmly embedded itself in the Danish psyche – taking on such importance that the country last year applied for it to be added to the UNESCO cultural heritage list.
In practice, hygge can range from drinking red wine by the fire to playing board games with the family, sinking into the pages of a good book or just lighting a candle in your home office. Mindlessly scrolling through your phone while slumped in front of the TV? Not so hygge.
To hygge up your home, set the mood with snuggly blankets, throws and cushions from Bed Bath N Table and light up a sea of flickering candles from Dusk. Meanwhile, get toasty with space heaters from Kmart and Big W, and create an instantly relaxing atmosphere with some softly lit lamps. To make the most of the chilly weather, don slippers, a robe and a set of comfy PJs from Cotton On Body or Sussan.