It's Friday morning.
I'm lying here peacefully in my hyggekrog (the nook where someone can sit and have a hygglig time! Which for me is also my bed...tiny living!), enjoying the still morning air, while a candle burns and Carl Nielsen's "Symphony No 4" plays softly in the background. I've got a favorite mug full of my favorite chocolate coffee next to me, I'm in no rush, and I'm having a hyggestund (moment of hygge)!
I have to pause here and say that hygge is so much more than I thought it was going into these two weeks. I feel no more adequate to fully express the width and depth of the hygge spirit here on my little tidy blog than I would to try to explain what freedom means in the everyday lives of Americans. Yes, a more hygglig atmosphere can be achieved through things, but hygge itself is more than candles and blankets. It seems to be a feeling of safety, of coziness, a happy moment well earned; that rest with friends by the fire after a day of skiing. The home made lemonade you drink quietly with your family, all slightly worn out and relieved after having just returned from a hearty spring hike. It's about opening your home to others because your heart is open to others. Living with the rhythm of the natural world, and embracing it. Valuing the things you have rather than trying to be flashy or show off with the toy/status symbol of the moment. Indulging, because you know that another day's joys are not promised to you. Sharing warmth and kindness with others, because this life right now is the only one we've all got.
I'm about to get into some more fun, lighthearted, and perhaps superficial suggestions here, and while they have gone a long way to introduce me to this Danish lifestyle, I just needed to take a moment to tip my hat to the actual emotional and cultural depth of this tradition.
Alright, onto candles, blankets, and cake!
Learning about hygge and trying to bring it into my home for the summer has been a delight!
At the start of this two week joy-speriment, I wasn't entirely sure where to start. So I got myself a copy of Meik Wiking's "The Little Book of Hygge", read blogs voraciously, and plunged deep into YouTube.
So, where to start, to try to bring a piece of the culture of the happiest country on earth into my home?
The number one thing that Danes associate with hygge is hot drinks. I was already with them there. I love me a hot coffee/tea/anything. The number two physical thing that Danes associate with hygge is candles. Of Danes polled for Miek Wiking's book, 28% lit candles every day year-round, and 31% burn six or more at a time. Lighting is so important to this experience of "a hug without touching" that it's first on most hygge lists and gets its own chapter in "The Little Book of Hygge".
Before this experience, I had zero candles. Though I love the smell and silent companionship of a nice scented candle, I saw them as clutter, and also as wasteful; they burn out fast & have to be replaced = bye money! But obviously I was going to have to get over my clutter aversion here. I went out and bought (dear lord) $170.00 worth of candles. I KNOW, I KNOW. I had no idea just how expensive candles could be.
Once I recovered from my spending heart attack, I arranged the candles all over my deck, bedroom and kitchen (and I still have leftovers because I SERIOUSLY over bought). I decided I would light at least one candle wherever I was in my house this week, and at night I would use candlelight instead of electric lights.
The candles gave me more joy than I thought they would.
Especially at night. The warm light did make me feel much more cozy. And it made me more inclined to read a lovely book in bed at night before falling asleep, rather than falling down a google-hole. I loved stilling out on my deck at dusk, basking in the comforting glow of citronella candles. And it's probably just the novelty of it, but I got a thrill out of navigating my house at night with a hand-held oil lamp.
I'm sure this isn't news to pretty much anyone, but lighting does make a huge difference in the atmosphere of a place. And candlelight, even in the summer, just is distinctly cozy and hygge.
Because my home is decluttered and I only have what I use and love, I didn't have to buy anything else to create more hygge in my home.
Which actually seems pretty on the money, according to my research thus far. Hygge isn't about spending lots of money, or being trendy or flashy or showy. It's far better to appreciate the things you have and use them to their fullest to create a hygglig environment. Which for me ties in very well with joyism/minimalism!
Alright, I'm veering into novel writing territory here. To avoid that, I'm just gonna entirely switch formats here & give you a bullet-point list of non-candle hyggethings I did in these two weeks.
My time with hygge isn't over.
I just received a copy of "How to Hygge" by Signe Johansen. I'm not even a little bit done with trying to bring more of this kind of coziness, joy, and peace of mind into my life.
I love that it works so well with my mindful style of curating my home through decluttering. I've shopped my things; I'm already surrounded by things that I use and that spark joy in my life. Hygge has just encouraged me to appreciate them more through using them more, and paying regular attention to how things make me feel.
Have you hygge'd? Share your hygge wisdom and experiences with us here, on our Facebook Page, and on our Instagram!
And check out more of my favorite Hyggespiration on Pinterest!