Design

I’m Swearing by the Hygge Manifesto

I'm Swearing by the Hygge Manifesto

When I first heard “hygge” mentioned on the radio a few months ago, I turned the volume up. What is this word they’re saying? I think it’s meant for me…

Hygge (pronounced HOO-ga), the Danish philosophy that’s taking over the internet, is basically the idea of living your coziest, most cuddled-up-with-your-loved-ones-by-a-fire-drinking-hot-chocolate kind of life. The approach helps Danes get through long, dark winters.

As a person who is perpetually wrapped in a blanket, who was aghast when she discovered her boyfriend didn’t immediately change into sweatpants after work, who loves game nights and drinks red wine all year round — had I been living a hygge existence all along without even realizing it?

Copenhagen-based photographer Nana Hagel says: “People all over the world have ‘hygge’ in their lives, they just don’t necessarily have a word for it.” 

But for Danes, hygge is much more than nice lighting and warm drinks (though those are greatly encouraged). “Hygge can happen when there are soft blankets and candles involved, but it has more to do with your mindset, relaxing and feeling comfortable with the people you’re with, or alone,” explains Hagel.

I’m already drawn to all things cozy, but could I get even more hygge — both of the body and the mind? As winter’s ennui set in, I couldn’t think of a better time to try. So, I turned to The Little Book of Hygge, in which Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute (that title!) lays out the hygge manifesto.


Using Wiking’s hygge pillars as my guide, I set out to approach winter like a Dane:

Atmosphere. According to Wiking, 28% of Danes light candles every single day, so I’ve been following suit. “Since we go through an extraordinary number of candles, we get cheap tea lights from Ikea,” says our Danish friend Lee Jensen, who grew up in Copenhagen. Bringing actual nature into your home also ups your hygge game, but instead of house plants (which are doomed in my apartment), I’ve been opting for fresh eucalyptus branches. They smell earthy, are super cheap and last a full month — much longer than most flowers.

Truce. “Hygge is all about relaxed thoughtfulness,” Wiking told us. “Save the talk about politics for another day.” With all that’s happening in the world right now, I’m always talking about politics with friends and at work. But, for sanity, I’m trying to take small breaks on my own. The classic go-tos — a book, a bath, a run — have proved steadfast. I’ve been opting for novels by young female authors. So far I’ve eaten up The Girls, The Mothers, Sweetbitter and Fates and Furies. All engrossing reads, and it makes me feel all hygge inside knowing this demographic of writers has been killing it lately.

Presence. Hygge is all about living in the moment, and one of the simplest ways to do this is… stay off your phone. But during any downtime at home or with friends, my hand starts autonomously grasping around for my phone like it’s a lifeboat. Before you know it, I’ve liked an Adventure Cat pic and tuned out the conversation. Lately I’ve been leaving my phone in my purse, which has helped temper my addiction.

Shelter. Instead of meeting friends at bars or restaurants, I invited people over twice last week. We could actually hear each other, and it was much cheaper and less crowded. Pizza parties are always a hit; and if we have a little more time, this easy lasagna with cheese and spinach is the ultimate group comfort food. Playing multiple rounds of Celebrity is a must, either way.

Comfort. Sweatpants, wool tights, chunky sweaters. Nuff said. “Danish people typically take their shoes off at home,” says Jensen. “Basically every Dane I know wears knit socks or these felt slippers.” This winter, I got this hilarious footwear, which took things to a whole new hygge level.

Togetherness. My friends and I are always juggling work, relationships and life itself, so it can be hard to get everyone together. Meik suggests starting a tradition: “It might be playing board games on Fridays, or a monthly cooking club, or any meaningful activity that will knit the group more tightly together,” he says. Following his advice, I’ve finally started the articles club I’ve been wanting to host for so long. First up: “The Wedding Toast I’ll Never Give.”

Harmony. Hygge is all about the idea of “we over me.” But do you ever have those moments with friends, where it feels like everyone is waiting to talk and no one is really listening? I’m guilty of conversational tunnel vision, for sure, but the other night on a double date I made a conscious effort to rein in my diatribe. Instead of immediately countering my friends’ stories with one of my own, I told myself to hold on, listen and ask a question or two first — like a little hygge pep talk in my head. It ended up being such a fun night, we already have another dinner on the books.

Pleasure. On a recent road trip, as my boyfriend and I drove past one of many McDonalds, thoughts of those gooey sundaes I loved as a kid flashed in my mind. This is not an impulse I would normally entertain, but hey, I was living by the hygge manifesto, and pleasure is key. So we swooped into the drive-thru and within minutes I was indulging in cold soft serve ice cream and warm fudge — pure bliss, just as I’d remembered. Apparently, hygge is not reserved solely for at home or by a fire, you can find it sitting shotgun in a Prius.


Finally, a fun fact: Danes use the adjective “hyggelig” even more than the noun “hygge.” When you leave a friend’s dinner party, you might say, “It was very hyggelig.” If you felt a special connection with someone new, you might even say, “hyggelig to meet you.”

Will you try out the hygge lifestyle? Do you already? What are your favorite hyggelig winter activities?

P.S. Surprising things about parenting in Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

(Copenhagen photo by Karen Sofie.)

  1. Sigrid (from Norway) says...

    It is always “hyggelig to meet you” in Norway. You take out your hand, say your name, listen for the other persons and then you say “hyggelig” or “hyggelig to meet you”. :)

  2. Hanne says...

    I’m living this lifestyle!! Im norwegian, living in northern Norway and we call it “koselig”. Never thought about it as a thing. We have a lot of comfort in our home, a good sofa, candles, pillows etc. Comfy clothes to change to when you get home and knitted socks. The most important thing is to NOT STRESS and not stress up your family members. Home is holy. I’m at my most relaxed and happiest when I’m home. Tea in the evening, sharing meals with the family every day. Calm down! (The winter at my place lasts from November-April so we need to have a koselig home!)

    Something that shockes me: how can people wear shoes inside?! The same shoes as you use outside? I just don’t get it!! I refuse to believe it:)))(Remember to take them off in the hallway if you visit someone in Norway!)

    -Hanne

  3. I’m not a big “commenter” (though a big reader!) but I just have to say I can not stop thinking about this article! It just resonates with me so much. Valuing hygge is something I’ve done my whole life despite not having a word for it. Thank you for giving me this wonderful word :)

  4. Have not read Sweetbitter, but enjoyed The Girls, The Mothers and Fates and Furies. I think Fates and Furies was the most powerful, but The Mothers was an incredible debut novel.

    I have also been reading a lot by women–the times call for this, I think. Not a new book, but I have started The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

    For more female voices, I would also recommend An Unnecessary Woman by Rabin Alamodome and Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson. And How to Be Both by Ali Smith. Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien is also excellent.

    It is very easy to stick to American literature–and we have produced some great writers–but what is also so powerful is how universal an experience literature can be.

    Thanks for another nice post. Curious to see what you read next! So many great books to be released…

  5. Mathilde Johanne says...

    Haha, I’m Danish, and I can’t help but laugh at the fact that the word has become a global phenomenon. It’s just weird, because I never think about it as the concept it has become! But if people try to hygge, it’s only a good thing, so I can’t say that it full out irritates me :)

  6. We are in New Brunswick on the east coast in Canada so winter nights (when it gets dark by 5 pm) are long but I think of them as a break from all the busy summer evenings with lawn mowing and gardening chores. It is a guilt-free time to knit, watch movies and read because there’s nothing much else to do. We live in the country and sometimes go out snowshoeing with headlamps on which is fun if it’s not too cold outside.
    Nobody I know wears shoes inside, it would seem really rude to not remove my shoes at someone’s home. Since I live in an old farmhouse with cold wood floors I have a basket of knit slippers in different sizes for guests to wear.

    • Jen says...

      Hello fellow Canadian! Your comment reminds me of East Kootenay winters when I was little. We used to go outside after dinner and ice skate or go sledding under the stars with our neighbors! Of course the best part was coming home to a cozy house and a warm bath. I think Canadians definitely understand the concept of hygge.

  7. Sandra says...

    I’ve been hearing a lot about this concept recently, but don’t we already have this in the US? It’s called Netflix and Chill! :-) But seriously, I do love the idea of making our usual winter hibernation more sophisticated and cozy than it is.

    • I thought Netflix and chill means to watch netflix and have sex?

    • Aga says...

      No, no, NOTHING like netflix and chill. Hygge is about being in the moment, and/or surrounded by good company.

  8. Maybe someone already mentioned this, but the Dutch have the best word for this: gezellig/gezelligheid. It’s my everything.

  9. My friend’s boyfriend is Danish, so I heard of Hygge from her. I think we all practise it in one form or the other, but it’s about being much more conscious. Loved this post!

    http://www.KacheeTee.com

  10. Amanda says...

    Gosh, I loved this article-thank you!

  11. I’ve started putting my phone in my bedroom and closing the door when eating dinner so I’m not tempted to check my social media accounts! Sometimes I even put it in my bedroom while watching an hour long show or a movie. It’s soooooo freeing.

    http://www.mangotomato.com

    • Megan Cahn says...

      That is a really good idea!

  12. Talia says...

    I’ve always been like this. I called it nesting. It is a very relaxing and comforting way of life!

  13. I live on an island off the coast of Maine, so hygge is something we really take to heart in the winter. My sure-fire tips include indulging in a homemade spa treatment once a week, laying on the couch in my comfiest clothes and slippers with a cup of tea and a hot washcloth on my face, weekly potluck dinners at friends homes, and a “Friday night” tradition to look forward to each week. Ours is making a pizza and watching the newest episode of The Grand Tour.

    • That all sounds very, very lovely! I especially love the idea of weekly friend potluck dinners!! : )

    • Carrie says...

      “I live on an island off the coast of Maine”- already sounds awesome.

    • Maggie says...

      Laura, my family has an old cottage on Long Island in casco bay. There is nothing like it, it’s my favorite place in the world. How wonderful that you get to live there year round!

  14. “As a person who is perpetually wrapped in a blanket, who was aghast when she discovered her boyfriend didn’t immediately change into sweatpants after work, who loves game nights and drinks red wine all year round…” <– Wait. Are you me?

    • Megan Cahn says...

      Haha! Soul sisters :)

  15. I am Norwegian, and we have exactly the same focus on hygge and to have it hyggelig at home in Norway. My family in-law is French and they are also fascinated by this concept and find our home very warm and cozy. The whole family changes into comfortable cothes at home, and of course takes off the shoes and put on slippers of wool!! We find it surprising when they keep the shoes on in other counties. I remember watching Friends and thinking about this! LOL (We are also known to be a bit obsessed with bacteria, not only comfort). We use a lot of candles, I always light candles at the table at family breakfast in the weekends and when we have dinner. We often have friends at home for lunch or dinner, and we use the fire place every evening during the winter. For me this hyggelig lifestyle is natural and I would bring it with me wherever I live.

    • Anna says...

      Hi, Monica! I think removing shoes once home is European or at least Northern Europe thing! I’m from Baltics and I have similarly always marveled at US TV series and house tours where everybody walks around their apartment or even lies in bed with their shoes on. Once I even got up my courage and discussed this with some Americans cause it just got to the point where I had to know how true that is and how they clean and care for their floors.

    • Autumn says...

      It’s actually very common in Asian cultures as well. It would be very disrespectful to leave your shoes on when visiting a family or friend’s home. And I can’t get over it in general because it just seems so so dirty to wear shoes at home!?

    • Me too! always so perplexed by people wearing shoes inside the home in tv shows and movies.

      I was raised in Asia for a majority of my childhood so my family adopted their habits of shoes off at the front door and showers when arriving home. And now living Hawaii people here also take their shoes off at the front door.

  16. Robyn says...

    Thanks! I have always engaged in hygge but didn’t know what it was. I change my clothes immediately when I get home from work. For me, it is a psychological transitioning from the outside world to my private space. Home is a sanctuary where I like to feel cozy and enveloped by my surroundings. Even in the summer we adapt this strategy, only with cooler clothes. We sit on our porch looki at the trees and watch all the wildlife we are fortunate to have in our yard.

  17. Katrine says...

    Hi COJ team
    I’m a Danish fan who have been following for the last five years. Like you Joanna I have kids almost the same age as yours (6 and 3,5) but we just got our third nine months ago (I was pregnant when you wrote something about having 2 or more kids – and I remember thinking ‘go for number 3!’).
    Living in Denmark hygge is a big part of everyday life but we don’t think that much about it, and it’s fun to read about it with your American eyes. I would say the most essential thing about hygge for me and my family is gathering around some kind of food and hot drinks, the most common combo is coffee and cinnamon buns from the bakery. And then we just sit and talk (usually without the use of either blankets or candles ;-)).
    If I should hygge by myself it would definitely include a good book – at the moment I’m reading Here I am by Safran Foer – I can highly recommend it!

  18. Lisa says...

    For anyone wanting to adapt the indoor slipper thing without looking like you have pillows on your feet, check out flattered.se – a Swedish brand that makes the cutest indoor slippers. They also make outdoor shoes!

  19. Lisa says...

    We have the same thing in Sweden as well, but we use the word “mys” or “mysig”. Staying inside inviting your friends over, popping a bottle of wine, cooking and then spend the evening in the couch chatting is the best. We even have this phenomenon called “fredagsmys” which basically is the Friday-hygge; a lot of people are off early on Fridays so you cook a nice meal (very often tacos!), watch to shows and having a cosy evening with your loved ones to kick off the weekend. It’s my favourite time of the week!

    • That sounds amazing! We need to institute taco Fridays here in America ; )

    • Maria says...

      It’s the same here in Norway, we have “fredagstaco” (“friday tacos”) almost every week, watch some fun TV-shows and eat candy – the perfect weekend starter!

  20. Helena says...

    I know I sound silly now but hygge is not pronounced “hoo-ga”. In Danish at least it’s pronounced [ˈhygə]. And here’s a link with a guy explaining it perfectly on YouTube: https://youtu.be/QSXiH_0HgwI

  21. keri says...

    I adore this.

  22. Anna says...

    After living in Denmark for 3 years and moving home to Australia – it is harder to have a hygge-ly lifestyle – my husband complained it is just too darn hot to have candles burning all day (when it’s 40 degrees celsius). One of my favourite expressions my friends would use would be to say we would just ‘hyggesig’ – which means just hangout together….. I love it, such a cosy word!!

  23. Hillary says...

    My friends and I are fully embracing hygge this winter! As native Michiganders, we aren’t novices to the long and cold winters. A few weeks ago we enjoyed a long weekend in the mountains by spending time near a fire, playing board games with wine, and skiing. As winter continues, we live the hygge manifesto by sharing books and articles, wine, and great conversation with fondue.

  24. Natasha says...

    Ummmm… I live this life and I live in South Florida. Obsession with warmth, I guess! :)

  25. Karla says...

    I’ve never heard of this, but reading through, it immediately reminded me of my children’s Waldorf education! It pretty much hits all those points in some way or another. They light candles in class, the rooms are meant to be cozy like home, fresh flower and tablecloths spruce up even the simplest of gatherings…they even have nature tables in the classrooms. It’s a beautiful and natural way of life and easy to incorporate bits into your routine!

  26. Émilie says...

    Thank you for sharing! Any other book recommendations for a ‘hygge’ evening or weekend? I’ve always loved reading classics, but since I started law school I often lack the energy and concentration to read dense novels on top of cases and doctrine. I read The Girls by Emma Cline a couple of weeks ago and it felt so wonderful and relaxing to immerse myself in another world.

    • Try reading The Year of Living Danishly or The Little Book of Hygge. They’re both great! I have a bunch of articles listed on my resources page on my site, too : )

    • Maria says...

      Hi there. It’s snowing outside and I’m sitting wrapped in a blanket on the couch in my apartment in Copenhagen, lit candles on the sofa table along with a big droopy bunch of tulips in a Holmegaard glass vase, a cup of chai tea by my side. I had to laugh because I can see what a cliché I am, but this is how to survive the dark Danish winters and I love it: hygge. As for book recommendations, Danes love thrillers, possibly because we all are so well behaved, so go for Nordic noir. If you like short stories, try Dorthe Nors. Hans Christian Andersen is perfect also for reading aloud to children. Poetry: Inger Christensen wrote the most beautiful books and should have won the Nobel Prize.

  27. I lived 3 years in Denmark and I’m in love with that country – especially the concept of hygge. Every home is very cozy, with a minimalist design, candles everywhere, beautiful art on the walls, amazing lamps, chic water bottles and thousands of other beautifully designed accessories for home. I used to enjoy going for a walk and peaking into people’s homes. Different from homes in the US, all homes in Denmark have decoration on their windows, it’s usually open (no curtains blocking the view) and you can see people having dinner, kids playing, it’s really nice. Restaurant’s atmosphere is also very warm, everything about Denmark is hygge. I love my Danish friends and everything that we can experience in that small country.

    • Anna says...

      Ditto – I miss it so much! I miss cycling at dusk past people’s houses and biking slowly so as to peek into their perfect homes – a mix of Ikea and scandinavian design pieces, all with candles lit in the windowsills. Winters were long and dark, but the cosy home life made it so bearable!

  28. Sarah K says...

    I love any and all winter survival strategies! (Lifelong Chicago-area dweller here, and the winters are still hard.) Last year I read a piece of wisdom (I think it was presented as a common saying from a Scandinavian country but I can’t remember which) that is still inspiring me: “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear”. The right gear helps so much.

    • Marianne says...

      Hi Sarah, that’s a Norwegian saying. We are just as into the whole “hygge” thing as the Danes (same words, same concept), but we’re also a bit more viking-y and rough when it comes to being outside because our climate is tougher than the Danish one. So we’re outside in all kinds of weather (w/ approporiate gear), and then we go inside to “have it hyggelig” :)

  29. Andrea Jane says...

    Am I the only one completely put off by Madewell? I feel like their demographic is so completely narrow. A thin, athletic 24 year old. Definitely not a middle-age woman with a few miles on her (spare) tires. I find them to be more exclusionary than Victoria’s Secret. Sure I’m not the angel type either but at least they carry undergarments in my size.

    Harrumph. I guess I’m getting cranky in my old age. And I have the Olga hi-cut briefs to prove it (they never, ever ride up, for what it’s worth).

    • Andrea Jane says...

      Whoops! Wrong post! I wandered off!

    • Andrea Jane says...

      Slinking off on my high horse….

    • Carrie says...

      Died laughing at your high horse remark

  30. Emma says...

    Loved this!

  31. It’s definitely a nice and whimsical concept. If only we could actually try and do it in our day-to-day life!

  32. My mom is Danish and always burns candles in the morning eating breakfast, having coffee or tea in the afternoon and during dinner. She always has fresh flowers on her table. My parents actually raised us on a cut flower farm so that has always been a major part of our lives. Her house is so cozy and beautiful and everyone who meets her loves her and her house! It’s so funny to see how popular “hygge” is here in the U.S. right now. We live in California where winters are very mind, but my house and surrounds have always been important for me to keep cozy with flowers, candles, things I love. I guess I really got this from her!

  33. This sounds like an absolutely incredible mindset! I’m definitely going to try this from now on <3

    xx

    bombshell-to-be.blogspot.com

  34. Nudibranch says...

    Seriously, hygge is just the 2017 trending version of cocooning. Remember that?

    I seriously think you could pull all those old pieces, substitute the ‘hygge’ for ‘cocooning’ and run them otherwise as is.

    It’s a nice idea, but there’s nothing new here.

    • One Love says...

      Agree :)

  35. Onelove says...

    Winter is actually my least favorite season. I’d rather be sipping wine in a terrace on a balmy night with Spanish guitar music in the background but I still do love candles and a warm atmosphere. Just without the snow.

  36. Here’s a little hygge thing we do living in cold and snowy Edmonton, Canada. We light a beeswax candle every breakfast and dinner between October and March. It’s such a nice thing to focus on, and seeing both my meal and my husband bathed in warm candlelight always makes me feel hyggelig.

    P.S. Also: hygge byproduct! We have connected with the honey and candle people at the farmers market. They even gave us a lovely pair of white beeswax tapers for Christmas.

  37. I love all thing Hygge at the moment, I recently did a post on it. Thanks for sharing
    Eme x

  38. Katie says...

    This piece is lovely, but it reminds me that spring can’t come fast enough!

  39. I keep reading about hygge (which I cannot stop mispronouncing despite the phonetic spellings I keep seeing!) and it mostly just makes me really glad that I no longer have a winter to “get through!” It’s 82 degrees in Houston today! That said, I do totally subscribe to the idea of cozy evenings. It actually started with the post by Jenny Rosenstrach about making home a haven for your children. My littles are typical busy city kids, so in the evening we dim the lights, light candles, and listen to classical music year round. I think it’s so important to make the mental shift into night time so you can relax, rest, and sleep.

    As for the discussion about tabling politics, I think it’s actually VERY important that we take small breathers from activism. We have a long four year (or, God forbid, eight) fight ahead. The last thing we need is for everyone to burn out in the first 100 days. Fight, fight, fight, all day and then clear your head and rest so you can do it again tomorrow.

    • Elizabeth says...

      I just wanted to say I love this comment (live in Atlanta, so the actual “trying to stay warm in freezing weather” is also less applicable) and agree that we need a break- even a small one- once a day to rejuvenate. Everyone’s break can be different (prayer, exercise, meditation, hygge), but it doesn’t mean you’re less devoted to a cause. Love what you do with your busy children- we also listen to music and dance and play each evening. We’re all different and have different ways to recharge. That’s okay!

  40. Oh I wish I could adapt to that kind of lifestyle, but the truth is I am so addicted to my phone! I’m pretty sure not even hypnosis could cure me of this aching urge to always be on my phone. I will get the book anyway and see if it can slowly pry me away! :)

    Laura| http://www.lauralivinglife.com

  41. Daniela says...

    I was still pondering on the idea after reading this post when I came across the New Yorker’s article, so fun!
    It´s summer time here in Argentina (and so hot!) so it´s hard for me to link coziness and blankets to a happy place, but the whole concept of comfort and simplicity fancies me… :) thanks for sharing!!

  42. I am willing to commit 100% to this! I too am constantly wrapped in a blanket and make a bee-line for my dresser to change into cozy sweats as soon as I walk in the door so I’m already halfway there. Now I just need to get a house with a fireplace (I wish). I live in Alberta so am no stranger to snow and freezing cold, and this year we’ve really been trying to embrace winter and get outdoors. Even though ‘hygge’ is about comfort it feels like playing in the snow and then curling up with a cup of tea and a candle go perfectly together.

  43. What an excellent post! Hygge and being cozy is exactly what winter is all about!

  44. I love the hygge mindset! Living in Minnesota, where our winter days are short, dark, cold, and often overcast, a sense of coziness and togetherness is essential to survive winter! I wrote an article for Darling last winter about this, and how hygge helps us see everyday moments as meaningful.

    http://darlingmagazine.org/why-embracing-hygge-will-radically-change-your-winter/

    It’s really transformed my attitude toward winter this year. It’s not just about surviving—it’s about thriving, and finding something to be grateful for every day!

    • Amy – that’s SUCH a great attitude and exactly what hygge is all about!

    • Taylor says...

      I agree about the mindset! I live in Michigan, grey cloudy winters. Three years ago I decided I was going to ’embrace’ winter as opposed to dreading it/complaining about it all season. It’s made such a difference:) I now look forward to big snow storms, opportunities to get outside, etc. It has made winter much more enjoyable.

  45. Loesie says...

    In the Netherlands, we call it ‘gezellig’. Very gezellig!

    • Sarah says...

      I was going to comment the same! (It’s just harder for the non-Dutch to pronounce than ‘hygge’ :) ) Gezelligheid… always.

  46. I live in Michigan, so out of necessity we hunker down for the winter. I think of it as a time to recharge and have introspection. When I lived in California, I felt like the beautiful weather and never-ending sunshine forced me to get up and out. However, balance is key in everything, isn’t it?

    Julia

  47. Sarah says...

    My brother-in-law moved into our spare bedroom a few years ago while he was between leases and he constantly teased both my husband and I about changing into sweatpants immediately after work! We both assumed everyone did that and still think he’s the weird one :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg i always do, these days! 6pm = joggers + foot duvets! :)

    • Joanna, what are your favorite sweatpants? Just feel like you would know good ones :)

  48. Carrie says...

    This just sounds like everyday life in our house pretty much from September to April. I’m a sensitive person who absorbs all the emotions around me so it’s almost a matter of necessity. It’s how I recharge and renew myself. I always look forward to warm breezes and gently blowing curtains come summer though.

    • Sasha says...

      Very well said, hygge feels like wrapping my heart in a nice warm blanket. There’s no where I like better than home. Except sometimes our tiny tent, when back packing in the summer it becomes a hyggellig home away, with really good scenery.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      sasha, what a sweet comment!

  49. for my office, which i spend about 40 hours/week in, i created a fake flameless fire pit out of fake rocks, fake branches and leftover xmas lights. it is ridiculous, but when i look over at it from my desk i feel warm & fuzzy. i also keep one at home, because HYGGE IN FULL EFFECT.

    i IG’d it: https://www.instagram.com/p/BP6JmTygd_R/

    • That looks so cozy. What a cool idea!

    • Lindsey says...

      Awesome!

  50. Katharine says...

    I grew up in a small mountain town in Idaho and our neighbors were all Alaskans and so many of these things were part of my childhood. The not wearing shoes in another person’s house was such a thing that when you went over to someone else’s house you brought your slippers to wear :) I’m curious now if a lot of these are just coping mechanisms for those from harsh winter climates but the Danes are the coolest manifestation of it!

  51. Polly says...

    Add to your book list:

    The Trespasser
    &
    The Wangs vs The World

    • Megan Cahn says...

      Thanks for the recommendations, Polly!

    • allison says...

      I’M READING THE TRESPASSER RIGHT NOW and should warn you: do NOT start it until you have a lot of spare time to read it and do nothing else. I want to ditch everything and everyone and stay home reading it all day and night. It’s that good. Fair warning to you!

  52. It is so funny to me that “hygge” has become such a thing lately – seriously I’ve been seeing it pop up everywhere! Haha. I first heard about it last summer when I visited Copenhagen (which I’m obsessed with by the way), but also, I totally ascribe my life to it – game nights + red wine + candles FO LIFE. Also, McDonald’s sundaes are where it’s at. ;)
    Anyway, if anyone’s interested in visiting the place that began this “phenomenon”, I wrote all about my trip here if you need ideas. :)
    https://wonderlandsam.com/2016/06/10/euro-trip-copenhagen-denmark/

    • So cool!! Loved the post! Such an amazing place.

  53. Sandy says...

    This may be tacky, but I LOVE the blanket that you’re pictures with. Did someone hand-make it, or any chance that you bought it somewhere?

    • Megan Cahn says...

      I got it for Christmas, actually. Blankets are my favorite presents :) This one is from Pottery Barn.

  54. Kerri says...

    Is it not normal for people to take off their shoes at home?? Is this why I see so many “styled” interior design photos on Instagram and such and there’s always a pair of shoes lying around by the furniture? for reals, someone needs to provide some insight here.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha good question! we always take off our shoes before coming into our apartment, but i just did a quick office poll, and people were split 50/50 between yes and no!

    • Kerri says...

      Oh my gooooooodness!! This is somehow one of the most shocking things I’ve ever heard hahaha I think the only person I know who wears shoes inside is my mother-in-law who says it’s for orthopedic reasons and I still thinks it’s weird. (Just kidding mil, you’re totally normal) Maybe it’s because if Canadians wore their shoes inside there’d be little patches of melted snow everywhere ;)

    • Laura C. says...

      we take off our shoes at home but we can’t go barefoot because of our marble floor- it is SO cold, but it seems that my girls don’t notice it at all since they are ALWAYS barefoot- I don’t feel comfortable wearing shoes at home and I always ask my mom to take off her shoes when she is coming.
      When other people come, well, I can’t do anything!
      I wish I had wooden floor!
      It is impossible for me to be dressed at home. I change not only my shoes but my clothes too. Sweatpants forever ;)

  55. Erin says...

    After reading through your 2016 Gift Guides, I bought three pairs of the “Foot Duvet’s” as gifts (they were super on sale!). After feeling how soft they were, I HAD TO keep a pair for myself. They are part of my weekend uniform. SO GOOD.

    Thank you!

    • Amy says...

      Omg. Me too! I bought several as gifts, from the gift guide, and I kept a pair for myself.

  56. Camilla says...

    I am from Denmark, North of Copenhagen, and was reading this post expecting to be kind of annoyed. Danes think it is hilarious hat there are suddenly so many books on the subject and a lot of focus on Denmark as the happiest place on Earth. Which by the way has everything to do with our social welfare system – worth remembering in these uncertain political times http://www.businessinsider.com/denmark-worlds-happiest-country-2016-3?r=US&IR=T&IR=T/#why-is-denmark-so-much-happier-than-other-countries-you-ask-1 But SARAH P is also right, there is a downside to all the hygge as Danes tend to be very in-ward looking. That said: I am drinking tea, my sweatpants on, a candle burning, my husband and daughter on the coach watching TV under the duvet, and I am wearing the exact same felt slippers! So, your characteristics of hygge are spot on!

    • Sasha says...

      I saw some silly American article claims the Danes were so happy BECAUSE of hygge. After reading a lot about political systems, economies, culture etc in Denmark, Finland and Scandinavia I’ve come to your conclusion too (it’s a no brainer), it’s the political and social safety net and equality.
      I too subscribe to hygge, living in MT you just have to, but it’s about coping with long dark winter. And often I’m worried about my country’s future underneath my coziness.

  57. Meghan says...

    ‘ you can even find it sitting shotgun in a Prius.’ Had me LOL’ing
    , a hard task in times like these. I love your writing, Megan! You have an understated and quirky writing and outlook that I really enjoy.

    • Megan Cahn says...

      Thank you, Meghan! This made my day :)

  58. Ha! I’ve been mispronouncing it wrong all this time. Thanks for the phonetic spelling. :) I agree that those of us in the colder climes are no stranger to the basic concept. When I lived in MA, I found that all my new friends preferred to entertain at home instead of meeting out at a bar somewhere, unlike in NYC, where we lived before. I really liked it!
    And for those of you taking umbrage with the idea that we should shut out politics– Meghan didn’t say that we should never talk about politics. We are bombarded with political news every time we open Facebook and Twitter. Many of us are actively involved in the resistance, in varying degrees. It’s all a bit traumatizing and stressful. (I haven’t slept through the night since the election!) We’re at real risk of burn-out if we don’t take the time to slow down and enjoy some peace and quiet.

    • Couldn’t agree more. If anything, this election and political climate has made me realize how important hygge/self-care truly is.

    • Alice says...

      Yes to this! Great post and during these crazy times I appreciate the reminder to continue seeking joy in the little things.

  59. Judy says...

    My boyfriend is half Danish and his father’s family thinks that the recent trendiness of “hygge” is hilarious. We love it though! Every time we have a lazy night on the couch, we just say it’s a hygge aften (Danish for cozy evening) and it somehow feels great and intentional.

    Our hyggelig activities include lighting some smoky incense, throwing together a charcuterie/cheese plate for dinner, and maybe inviting some friends over for a board game.

  60. Julie says...

    I am from Copenhagen (and it is actually my old street on the picture!), and it is fun to see the whole hype about hygge. It is just a normal thing in our life to make things hyggelig. And right now it is more important than ever. It is oh so dark and freezing cold right now!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      how cool! the street is beautiful :)

  61. I live in front of my fireplace from September to March, so I get this! I think I was a cat in a past life, but maybe I was just Danish.

    Also, YES to taking shoes off in the house. Seriously. As someone who lies on the floor in front of my fire, I don’t understand how people can where their dirty shoes in the house (unless they have indoor shoes?).

    • Annie says...

      I love everything you just said. Maybe we were both Danish…cats in our past lives? :P

      Also, shoes are gross. I don’t make it weird for guests, but it totally grosses me out (don’t get me started on the packing post here that implied shoes go in a suitcase uncovered. No way.)

    • Typo…that should say “wear” not “where”!

  62. Erica says...

    LOVE. The book “A Year of Living Danishly” by Helen Russell is another amazing book about hygge!:)

    • Yes!! So good! That’s exactly where I learned of it : )

  63. Bianca says...

    Lovely as it sounds to be cozy by candlelight, as others have said, I find this western fascination (its always the US/UK) with appropriating other cultures into something trendy a bit odd. For a long time it was Feng Shui, then the whole Kondo craze, and now Hygge. As Georgina mentioned, the idea of hunkering down with like minded friends and not discussing anything controversial is somewhat insular. Given this wave of xenophobic populism sweeping across the US and Europe, people should be reaching out to others, trying to understand each other and problem solve together. Not stick to only those that look, sound and think exactly the same way.

    • maria says...

      Thanks Bianca, I was waiting for someone to point it out. As cute as this post is, I see the whole hygge thing as a marketing craze, selling comfort to those who feel disempowered and scared by the current right-wing turn and the whole ugly wave of nationalism and xenophobia, which we should rather be standing up against, despite all the discomfort and lack of hygge that the political engagement entrails.

  64. Kimberly Jewel says...

    Those booties/slippers look awesome.

  65. Noreen Haenn says...

    @meghanhaenn

    Are you drinking peppermint tea under a blanket as you read this?

  66. hygge is my jam- here in minneapolis it’s kind of required! and those “foot duvets” are AMAZING.

    xo, brittany
    http://www.notablob.com

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      agreed! we have them at home, too.

  67. Christina says...

    I feel like anyone who lives in north, northern hemisphere likely does some of these hygge-things anyway! (I’m saying northern US, Canada – where I’m from, Northern-ish Europe – I live in London, UK now, it’s all cold). Coming home from work in the dark, candles and blankets are a must (electricity is expensive, yo!)

  68. Yay! Reading a Hygge book right now and started noting #winterrituals on my instagram bc winter is tough for me emotionally!

  69. Sarah P says...

    While this concept certainly sounds like the panacea to all of the world’s fears and anxieties, the obsession with hygge seems a little tone-deaf to me at the moment, given the political climate across the globe. Obviously having peaceful, calm moments and spaces is important to every person’s sanity, but this trend is starting to rub me the wrong way.

    In times like these, avoiding discomfort (“save the politics for another day”) is actually a dangerous idea, in my opinion. It’s just too easy to become overwhelmed, want to avoid uncomfortable conversations and situations, and want to stick our heads in the sand; Hygge is not the remedy we need for that. And in fact, for marginalized individuals and communities, hygge isn’t really even an option. A cozy, cuddled-up life is only reality for the most privileged among us (and I would include myself in that group),

    This Slate article is particularly interesting: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2017/01/10/danish_hygge_is_cozy_and_also_tied_to_right_nationalist_xenophobic_populism.html

    All that being said, this is a nicely written post and I am generally a big fan of the CoJ content! Just wanted to provide a counter-perspective on this one. Thanks!

    • kathy says...

      agree – this also makes me uncomfortable.

    • Marie says...

      i initially felt this way too when i first read this. but it’s -literally- impossible to be so totally ON 100% of the time. i keep up with so so much news these days (because a lot is being created…ugh) but i need a bath sometimes. and a dumb magazine. then back at ‘er. i think that’s what Megan was trying to say xo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thanks for your comments! yes, that’s definitely what megan was saying. we talk about politics constantly at work, and i know megan is very active politically outside of work, as well — but at the end of the day, it can be helpful to take a bath or read a book and practice self-care to help you work hard (and resist!) the next day.

    • I understand what you mean, but I don’t think it’s about avoiding discomfort. I think it’s about repairing & healing from the discomfort that we all face each day. Many of us are super involved and tuned in to what’s going on in the world right now… and it’s super stressful. I think of hygge as part of self-care, which is meant to help center yourself. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we’ll be burnt out & not have any energy left to fight the battle that needs to be fought right now. Just my 2 cents, but I see where you’re coming from.

    • Megan Cahn says...

      Thanks for your note, Sarah! I totally agree – “saving the politics for another day” is an idea in the book that I couldn’t totally get behind. I am constantly reading, discussing, debating and trying to educate myself, but I think it’s also important to take small moments for ourselves when we can. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and the article, reading now :)

    • Meg says...

      I was going to post this article, as well.

  70. allison says...

    I lived in Copenhagen for years and fully embraced the concept of hygge- it’s ingrained into the Danish culture because of their long, cold, dark, wet winters. You have to light candles, cuddle with friends, and spend long nights chatting and hanging with loved ones in order to get through them! It’s a lovely, lovely concept but I’m still scratching my head about how it’s suddenly “trending,” and feel a bit miffed when people I know latch on to it without fully understanding the cultural aspect behind it- for example, a woman I know started a garment company and named it something with Hygge in the name, and she’s never been to Denmark, doesn’t totally get the idea, and did it because she knows that it’s popular now and will attract a younger, hip audience. Something about that bothers me, but now as I’m typing my feelings it feels a little silly to say out loud… buttttt…. it still annoys me. Ha! Thanks for making me think this morning, COJ!

  71. I just had to write about hygge recently. Beyond the togetherness part, it isn’t a thing in the south of France, where February temps are in the 60s and people would rather sip a glass of wine on a café terrace–even on the days when it’s colder–rather than stay closed up at home.
    I like winter for about two days a year and then I’ve had enough of it.

  72. Lauren E. says...

    I’m with you. I didn’t know I was living this life! Relieved to know I’m trendy without even trying.

  73. MK says...

    My husband is fully dressed at all times, including shoes, until right before he climbs into bed. Even after work, even on lazy weekends. It is so weird! I am definitely a sweatpants/slippers the moment I get home kind of gal.

    • Amy says...

      Yes yes yes. Me too. When I hear that my friends are sometimes dressed all day and into their evenings, I start to wonder if I’ve “let myself go.” I definitely see no reason to wear anything but sweats at home, but I also don’t want to slowly become a frump without realizing it!

  74. Rachel says...

    There is an amazing small business based in Denver that is all about the hygge life – check it out! https://www.hyggelife.com/

    • Kate says...

      Hi! Even though this stuff is technically all my style–and I’m in Denver– it’s a little toooo curated for me (kind of in a similar vein to Allison’s comment). So many antlers!

  75. Dayna says...

    It’s so funny to see this becoming a “thing!” I’m from San Francisco but have been living in Norway with my fiancé for almost a year. We have the same exact concept, except the work is “koselig.” At first it was something I actively thought of doing — lighting candles, making snacks, fuzzy socks, etc. But now I’ve realized it’s really just a part of life here. The reason we want to get cozy as soon as we get home is because it’s so freaking cold outside!

  76. I know I cannot adopt Wiking’s hygge pillars from now on. But hygge lifestyle will definitely change my dream and rhythm of life; I know this.

    kingessay
    http://www.kingessay.co.uk

  77. I love the idea of coziness, but the hygge trend seems a bit weird to me – like lots of cultural concepts that have become trends, I think it’s been sanitized. Whilst it is in many ways lovely, it has a dark side; one of my Danish friends hates the insularity of the concept in Danish culture. I recently read this piece in The Guardian about that very issue, it’s a really fascinating read: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/nov/22/hygge-conspiracy-denmark-cosiness-trend

    • Sarah P says...

      Thanks for sharing that article.

  78. I was like you, already practicing hygge and didn’t even know it! Slow down, savor life and cuddle in. It’s a peaceful transformation!

  79. you have to see the new yorker article (shouts & murmurs) this week about hygge. 😂

  80. This is everything I need/love in my life!

  81. Kristen says...

    I love this concept! We have also embraced this idea and have included beer tastings and watching foreign films to our winter nights. Something about reading subtitles adds more intention to viewing and the new landscape adds to a travel wanderlust during the chillier months.

  82. Sarah Kang says...

    this photo made me awkwardly ALOL at my desk at work!

  83. Love that you covered one of my favorite topics (obviously!).

    I felt so strongly about hygge after discovering it last year that I named my wellness business after it. Hygge perfectly relates to my philosophy on health & wellness. I work with my health coaching clients to ditch the diet mentality in exchange for simple, sustainable strategies. I don’t believe the answer to healthy eating or consistent exercise lies with a pill, cleanse, 30-day challenge, or restrictive diet. There are simpler ways to live well. By really taking care of yourself, like hygge encourages us to do, you listen to what your body is telling you it really needs. And it’s not another diet.