What is Hygge?
And How do You Say it?
What’s the best way to put into words that feeling of “home”? You know what I mean. Cozy is just a part of it, but there’s so much more. “Home” is a place, a feeling, a memory. It’s full of warm scents and happy sounds.
As Pia Edberg puts it in her book The Cozy Life, it’s “a safe haven where we can relax without the pressures to be anyone else but who we are. We invite those we love into our world and create an environment of togetherness.” Home is, in a word, hygge.
Hygge is a Danish word that doesn’t really have an English translation. It doesn’t really have an English pronunciation, either. Try imagining a Scandinavian person saying this: “HUE-Gah.” And that’s as close as you’ll probably get.
In a nut shell, hygge is this beautiful sense of “home” in all it’s love and comfort. It’s what makes a home feel like home. And that is why we should experience it, especially during these busy days before Christmas.
“There’s no place like home” - Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz
I have been seeing this word, hygge, everywhere lately. And for good reason.
Look around at how crazy our world has become. We are being led to believe that anyone who thinks or acts differently than we do is to be treated as a threat and our enemy. Even within our own families. It’s us vs. them. But you know what? I’m not buying it. There is a much, much better way to be a human, and I think we are all starting to realize it.
I think we, the human race, are starting to miss being together.
Imagine being in a community full of different ideas, stories and outlooks that respects each other and those differences rather than points fingers and condemns for them.
Hygge is the opposite of where we have been going, and that’s why it feels so attractive.
Hygge is about authentic, simple togetherness.
So, how do you get hygge with it? There are a lot of easy ways to get this simple, beautiful vibe into our homes and lives. Today I’m going to focus on the home. Simplicity is key. It allows you to slow down and take it easy. You get to just be authentic and experience the joy of being generous with others.
Step one: declutter. Did I just hear you sigh? Or was that me? I hear that word and think, “I know, but where do I start? And when will I find time to do it?” It really is like eating an elephant; you do it one bite at a time. Start with a cluttered counter, then move to a closet, then move to the whole room.
I’m not saying to make it sterile. Please don’t do that! Just get rid of everything you don’t use and don’t love.
Whatever you’re holding onto “in case” you might need it, toss it. If you are really unsure, give it a year (enough time to go through the seasons) and if you still have not used it, get rid of it. Let it go.
Don’t let your stuff ever own you—you are not what you own.
When you get rid of clutter, you get space. Space to breathe. Space to play. Space to think. Space to refresh. Maybe most importantly, you get space to invite others in.
You probably don’t realize how much junk you are carrying around until you declutter. I promise when you let go of the stuff, you’ll feel lighter! Wouldn’t that be a welcome change?
So, decorate with purpose. If it isn’t beautiful or useful, get it out of the home.
Now that you have more physical space, you’ll find you have more mental space, and you can appreciate being able to slow down and take it easy.
Here are a few more easy hygge tips:
Make the textures in your home soft and inviting.
Turn off some lights and use more candles.
Turn off the TV and listen to music.
If you are blessed with nature sounds outside your window, listen to that.
Find a scent you enjoy and fill the home with it.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about the importance of togetherness, which is the real goal of hygge. But for now, know you’re on your way to restoring a lifestyle we’ve all but lost, but so desperately need. Now you’re on your way to hygge.