Hygge

January 11, 2020

Hygge by Emily Parker  

 

If you’ve been with me a day or two, you know I’m a big hygge lover. Winter is not my favorite, to put it mildly, and those smart Danes know a thing or two about staying happy during these cold, dark months of the year after the excitement and festivities of Christmas are over. Once you’ve read one or two hygge books, though, it can begin to feel like you’ve read them all because they’re all full of the same tips- snuggle up by a fire in comfy clothes with a soft blanket and a warm drink. Surround yourself with people you love in your home and have no-drama, comfortable get togethers. Homemade baked goods and soup. Nature walks bundled up nice and warm. Can it really be that simple?

Yes, yes it can, and is. There’s no hack for winter, no complicated secret. Parker does a great job about being upfront about this. She provides specifics about a few things the Danes enjoy that maybe the rest of us aren’t as familiar with (savory oatmeal anyone?) but also stresses that hygge isn’t complicated and anyone can do it. There were two areas that I was especially impressed where she deviated from the other hygge books I’ve read. First, she took a deeper dive into what it means to have stress-free conversation with your family and friends as you Hygge together. She talked about Danes being sensitive to others accomplishments and not “bragging” about their own unless everyone else in the conversation had achieved a similar level of mastery or achievement. I thought that was so interesting and took conscientiousness to a new level. Secondly, she addresses the sometimes thorny issue that hygge is for the privileged, and she’s upfront about the socialist quality of life in Denmark that puts time and cozy items within the reach of all the citizens, and she talks a bit about how cultures that aren’t as egalitarian can approach the practice amongst friends and family with differing incomes and time availabilities. So well done.

If you’re looking for a lifeboat to get you through these next few cold drab months, may I suggest learning a little more about the Danish practice of Hygge? It’s a source of joy for me. The snow is swirling and my soup is ready...

 

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