Monday, February 20, 2012


i'm not sure i want to write about hygge quite yet, because i'm not sure i completely "get" hygge (pronounced, i think, HYOU-geh). actually, i feel like i sort of do get it, but every article I read about it (maybe two-- and i've now blogged about the extent of what I read about denmark before moving here) gave it this "can't-quite-put-your-finger-on-it" quality, so i feel like i'll probably learn more about it and then feel sheepish that i felt so confident to write about it on day three. or i'll learn that you can never really "get" it unless you were born in denmark and grew up with it... sort of like... the danish accent. but maybe it's more that it's just difficult to describe in english because there is no easy translation. it's like, "feeling cozy inside your warm house on a cold, rainy evening" or "that feeling you get at christmas time-- not the stress feeling, but the other feeling." here, let me find a description online that will probably do it more justice.

here you go:
Gather the family and invite over a couple of good friends. Push the sofas and chairs up close to the coffee table. Douse the electricity and light some candles. Better yet, light a fire in the hearth.
Serve plenty of food and drink. Raise a toast or two, or three, and feel the warmth flow around the table. Look at each other until you see the candlelight shimmering in each other’s eyes. You've got hygge!
read on here if you'd like.
in any event, i write about it ever so briefly here because i want to encourage everybody to try a little aspect of hygge-- because why should i have to spend three years learning more about it before i pass it on to american culture? so, what i want everybody to do is to dig through your junk drawers and take out those tea candles you bought about ten years ago when they became inexplicably popular in the u.s. then, put them in a couple of candle holders and light them. do this especially at dinner time. but clear off your table first and make a good dinner, or at least make your dinner look appealing. turn off your bright overhead florescent lights that you use to cook with (and while you're at it, turn off your t.v. and npr (that last one's my own admonition to myself)) and turn on a lamp with some warmer light. now, sit down and enjoy your dinner and a little bit of hygge. do this for one week and see if you're not hooked on how much nicer it makes dinner feel-- and relaxing! then, put the candles by your window so that all of the people walking past will sense the hygge in your house and be inspired to make some hygge of their own. that's what it's like in denmark. you really see candles lit in the windows of many homes. and it really does make everything feel quaint-- in such a good way!

so, are you going to do this or not? vaer sød do.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Sounds lovely, just need to wait until it get s dark to enjoy the candle light. Glad you guys are enjoying yourselves.