No, not “higgie.”
It’s pronounced HYU-gah.
Now read the title again.
See what I did right there? That’s what you call wordsmithin’.
I first leaned about the Danish concept of Hygge in the book Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way.
Though its difficult to translate, Hygge sounds like something we need here in this little snippet of Pennsylvanian snow belt. In an NPR article, Clair O’Neill gives it a try:
From what I gather, it means something like “fireplace warmth with candles and family and friends and food, tucked under blankets on a snowy day, cup-of- coffee conversation, scarf-snuggle, squiggly, warm baby love.” Or something like that.
Now, we live in a place that gets dumped with snow. Come late January to February, we start throwing around the phrase “winter doldrums,” but it’s actually much more dismal than that. It’s cold. It’s gray.
And leaving the house requires first throwing snow around with a shovel and brushing off the car and wrestling three kids into their boots and bulky coats and then taking them off because now coats are a no-no in car seats and then MOM I’M COLD, of course you are because you’re no longer wearing your coat…
So we have to have a pretty compelling reason to even leave the house in the first place.
So, I’ve started Project Hygge. I don’t know what Hygge looks like in our home just yet, but I have in mind a few things I want to put into place.
We have a fireplace we’ve never lit, and I think it’s time to try it out. I’ve positioned a stack of blankets next to the sofa. And everything you read about the Danes doing (making?) Hygge involves candles. Mister found something that said they have a minimum of 3 candles burning in common areas in the evening. And a hot cup of tea around 7pm is a necessity.
When all I can see is gray and white for months and months and months, I think my eyes crave color. I’m trying to find a decent source for indoor plants (in December, I know). And while I gravitate toward neutrals for wall colors and curtains, a bright blanket or pillow can add some cheer.
Oh, and I crafted! Like, I made things with other things that go on the wall and they’re not hideous. What has become of me?
I’ve intentionally arranged the seating in our living room in such a way that very few can see the TV. I once heard a joke that when future archaeologists dig up our society, they’ll reveal all of these rooms that are oriented to the rectangle-box shrine. I don’t want the talking box to be the focal point. Let’s look at each other.
Additionally, I’ve committed to myself that we’ll have a family over for dinner every week. Starting….omg I need to clean.
It gets dark at 5pm, so let there be light! We’re off to a good start with the candles and fireplace. I think I may want to add a floor lamp in the living room since we have just table lamps – no overhead lights.
The Danes are said to be among the happiest people in the world, according to Dan Buettner, even thought their winters are longer and they get less daylight than we do. When it comes to the winter blahs, I’ll try anything. Bring on the Hygge.