The Wonderful World of Hygge

Like all of you, I am a lover of words. Sometimes I get a kick in the pants by the way a word sounds. Who can resist saying Zimbabwe? Other times a word wins my heart based on its meaning, like the word lagniappe. And then there are words like hygge (pronounced hue-gah).

Who else but the Danish would come up with a word that explains so much about something so minimal, yet all-encompassing? This word has become popular in the US over the past couple of years, probably because so many of us are searching for calmness, coziness, and peace. I knew when I first read about it, I would be eager to find out more about the whole idea.

As everyone already knows, hygge is a word that defines a particular feeling, ambience, or state of being that assists those who live in places where winter evenings can begin at 4:00 o’clock and snow is pretty much continual make it through the dark periods.


The juicy part is all the things that come together to make hygge happen. Allow me to share some of the ways it is explained:

  • a feeling
  • a mental state
  • coziness
  • well-being
  • candlelight
  • warm food
  • family-time
  • the manner in which people behave towards one another
  • intimacy
  • comradery
  • conviviality
  • contentment
  • gratitude
  • festivity
  • food-making

The idea, the word, the concept draws me in. If you’re thinking about reading a great book in front of a fire while covered in a furry throw and drinking hot chocolate with your dog by your side, then you’ve gotten the point. Maybe hygge does have something to do with the fact that Denmark normally makes it to the top of the “happiest places to live” list. But we all know that happiness rarely comes from outward objects, settings, or food. Still, count me as one who is going to get deep into the hygge movement this year. Want to join in?