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  • Writer's pictureCoralee Beaulieu

What the heck is "Hygge"?

Still scratching your head? I did for a while too, but after a little digging, I knew a needed a little Hygge in my life. So, what the heck is "Hygge"?

According to the "VisitDenmark" website,

Hygge (/ˈhjuːɡə/ HEW-gə or /ˈhuːɡə/ HOO-gə) is as Danish as æbleskiver (Pancake Puffs), and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul. In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Cozying up with a loved one for a movie – that’s hygge, too. And there's nothing more hygge than sitting around with friends and family, discussing the big and small things in life. Perhaps hygge explains why the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world.

This widely used word first appeared in Danish writing in the 19th Century, but it was not until around 2016 that it was catapulted into the cultural idea it is now known as in Denmark (and Norway) today. The perception is that the Nordic nations have somehow marketed the corner on "happy living." And there might be some truth to that, they invariably always top the happiness-ranking tables. 2018 was no different, Norway and Denmark respectively landed in second and third positions on the "World Happiness Report."

Where am I going with this? I'm leading up to that, but here's just a little more information. The high season of hygge, in Denmark, is Christmas. Danes, for the most part, lead a non-materialistic lifestyle but when it comes to religious holidays, they go all out. I've read Danish winters are long and dark, and so the Danes fight the darkness with their best defence: hygge and the millions of candles that go with it. I've also read the best places to experience this is in the Tivoli Gardens or walking the streets of Copenhagen during the festive seasons. I can only imagine what the Danes will do with lighting, mulled wine (known as gløgg to the locals), blankets and oversize scarves. Just collecting all this information has made me want to visit Denmark even more now.

Since I can't make it to Denmark, anytime soon, I thought I might bring a little "hygge" to my home. I'm doing a 7-Day Hygge Challenge. The idea is to get the hygge cozy going, just as Fall is descending upon me.

The objective of the 7-Day Hygge Challenge is to do something enjoyable, something creative, every day to keep the cozy element primary in your life. My list is below. Anyone want to play along?!

  1. Monday - Buy and light a new candle(s), in a fresh light outdoorsy scent.

  2. Tuesday - Have any evening without screens ... no TV, computer or cell phone. Play a board game, read a book, work on a puzzle, while listening to music. Put on music that is calming and relaxing, or that will transport you back to a time you loved.

  3. Wednesday - Create something ... bake, write a letter, sew, knit, draw, colour, or paint. I plan to repurpose an old ceramic pumpkin and to make myself accountable I will post a before and after photo of my project.

  4. Thursday - Bring nature indoors ... plants, fresh flowers, dried twigs. Create an arrangement, display or vignette.

  5. Friday - Have a movie night with a loved one or friends. Choose a movie that you REALLY want to watch. The one you would watch if no one found out about it. Do this in your comfy clothes and cozy wraps, and include comfort food or a tasty treat and favourite drink. (This is a no-brainer for me; Zaa and Chianti.)

  6. Saturday - Get outdoors. Take a walk in nature, alone, with your partner or with friends. If the weather is not agreeable and you need to get in from the elements, find a bookstore that has comfy couches or chairs, grab a delicious latte, and browse through some books or magazines. Indulge in your moment.

  7. Sunday - PJ Day. Stay in comfy clothes all day. Have breakfast in bed, don't make plans, read, watch Netflix, light candles, have a delicious warm pastry and coffee or savour a new tea, pamper yourself in your favourite way. Tip: Earlier in the week go to a tea shop and buy some loose leaf tea of the REAL kind. Ask to smell some teas with things like cardamom, coconut, cinnamon, clove or chocolate. Splurge on a little bag and brew a cup.

Your list can consist of whatever - but it should remind you of a warm, happy and simpler time in your life, and one that brings fonds memories when you think about it. Make your list, complete it and enjoy the challenge while you have some cozy socks on your feet.

Ready to get started? Or don't know where to start? Or have a little inspiration of your own you'd like to share, PM me as I am keen to see how you might challenge yourself. And please stay connected for more designer tips + tricks, resources and insider info.

Cheers Cora



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