All posts filed under: hygge

The Essence of Hygge

I have been trying to come up with a definition of the “essence of hygge” or the “basics of hygge” and I think my conclusion is that the essence of hygge is taking your time to enjoy something. Or in other words, hygge means no stressing or rushing. Even coffee and cake is no guarantee for hygge if you don’t take your time to enjoy it. Imagine indulging in a nice sweet and sticky piece of cake with a cup of hot brew and then suddenly you discover that you have to leave the house in two minutes? Gone is all the hygge in a flash of a second! Almost anything can be hygge as long as you do not stress or rush through it. That is why I think the most important factor for hygge is the absence of stress or rush. You have to allow yourself to take your time in order to get that hygge feeling. Hygge does not have to include wool socks, hot chocolate, cake or a lamb skin throw …

Hygge, Coffee and Cake in the Good Old Days

The old photograph above from the early 1900s captures the essence of what hygge (togetherness/coziness) is. My Danish mother-in-law found it in an antique store in a town called Ørbæk on the southern Danish island Funen where she is from. Growing up on a farm on Funen she experienced this kind of hygge herself. She told me that they used to get coffee and cake three times a day! First at 11 am they would have coffee and cake, then at 3 pm they would have coffee, cake and cookies and at 8 pm they would have coffee, cake and cookies again!! And they did not just eat a piece of cake while doing something else. No, the family would sit down together for coffee and cake three times daily and of course also for the three main meals! Imagine all this togetherness/hygge throughout the day? I cannot help but wonder how they found time for this but maybe that would be the case if we got rid of all electronics? I bet the total …

A Hygge Night in Nyhavn

A great way to experience “hygge” and to be happy as a Dane is to spend time in Copenhagen’s lively old harbor, Nyhavn (New Harbor). Nyhavn is a “must go to” for both Danes and tourists. Whether its a sunny summer day or a cold winter evening, Nyhavn is a happy place to relax in one of the many cafes or just take a stroll along the water. This used to be the place where sailors took a break from the sea in one of the many bars. Even Hans Christian Andersen lived here for a long period of his life and wrote many of his famous fairytales like The Princess and the Pea. Since then it has been thoroughly renovated but the happy atmosphere lingers on – so much so that CNN has named it one of the 15 happiest places in the world. This Christmas my husband and I were so lucky to spend one night of happiness in the most “hyggelige” hotel I have ever been in, right on the outer corner of …

Hygge – by a Dane in America

  As a Dane living in America I could not be any happier about the recent invasion of hygge to the United States and a lot of other countries! I love American culture and Americans. Especially their openness to new cultures and immigrants and their willingness to embrace what is new and different. But there is one thing I have been missing during the seven years of living here and that is a slower pace, more family time and the ability to just enjoy the moment – in other words: hygge! Many Americans are very busy, their kids are very busy/active and I believe a little more down time would do us all well. This has become of extra interest to me as I am raising my children in America and I want them to be as happy as the Danes. My favorite example of the difference between Americans and Danes is how coffee is mostly “on the go” over here while in Denmark it is typically something you enjoy sitting down, preferably while talking with a friend. I …

Weekend Hygge and Aebleskiver

This weekend was a true “hygge” weekend. After returning from Denmark last weekend – and a veeeery long airplane trip with two young children – all you need is “hygge” and relaxation. We even got a little snow and extremely cold weather which made the need for “hygge” even bigger. And I learned that the thought of “aebleskiver” and hot chocolate awaiting inside actually made me enjoy being outside with the kids in spite of what felt like minus 17 degrees celsius. Danish “aebleskiver” is the ultimate Christmas/winter comfort food. They are little dough balls made out of a pancake-like batter, baked on a special “aebleskive pan” sprinkled with powdered sugar and dipped in strawberry jam.     When we didn’t eat comfort food and sip hot chocolate we cleaned up all (almost) our clutter, making room for more “hygge-space”. I have finally realized that clutter/mess interferes with the “hygge” feel and it is more pleasing to only have a small amount of decorative items on display. This way you can fully enjoy looking at your …

Bringing Hygge into January

Leaving the festive and “hyggelige” (cozy) month of December behind and entering January is for me always followed by a certain sadness. Gone are all the Christmas decorations, parties, comfort foods and “hygge” (coziness/togetherness). Instead we get New Year’s resolutions of eating healthy, working harder and all the demands of starting a new year in the cold Winter months. This year I am determined to keep the “hygge” from December going. Maybe not with Christmas gnomes and ornaments but the comforting “hygge” part. The photo above from “Bakery by Hermann” in Lyngby, Denmark, captures what my January “hygge” will be like – soft and cozy lambs wool throws and hearty baking the Danish way. I love how this bakery brought the lamb skins outside on a bench. That is exactly how I envision myself in these cold winter months ahead of us: sitting on my porch on a warm lamb skin with a steamy hot drink – be it hot spiced wine, coffee or hot chocolate. This way January can be the month of relaxation …

How to Hygge

  Danish hygge is becoming a world-wide term. It has even been nominated word of the year by the Oxford dictionary! Especially in England people are so eager to learn about hygge that a college has started teaching about it and a large number of books on hygge are successful on the international market right now. So what is this hygge? And is it what makes Danes the happiest people in the world? I think it is part of Danish happiness – the relatively good welfare system helps a lot too of course. We prioritize to take a break where we slow down and appreciate some simple pleasures of life. I know it is really hard to do it in the busy lives most of us live today but I think it could be the key to more happiness/contentment to stop and enjoy life a little every day if possible. My daughter was for the longest time asking me for more “mom-time”. I thought mom time just meant being alone with me. Not until recently did …