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Happiness begins with hygge

Georgia East


The concept of 'hygge' originated as a way to get through the long, dark months of the Danish winter by invoking a sense of pleasure from hunkering down, eating copious amounts of warming foods and owning a vast selection of woolly socks. Since then, the notion has evolved into the simple practice of deriving happiness from the ordinary. At its core, hygge is about creating a warm atmosphere by appreciating life’s little pleasures. This could take the form of curling up in a patch of afternoon sun with a good book and a glass of red wine or taking a long, hot soak in the bath before you go to sleep. Hygge isn't something you need to prepare for; it's about cultivating small moments of pleasure that together lead to a more satisfying way of life. Think of it not as a euphoric exclamation but rather as a soft sigh of contentment – cool, clean sheets after a long day, preparing a meal for someone you love, or the unexpected appearance of a favourite song on the radio.

In Denmark, hygge really comes into its own around Christmas time. Things like mulled wine, hundreds of candles, and restaurants serving nothing but warm porridge varieties embody this unique concept when the weather turns frosty. That said, there's no reason not to apply this thinking year round – every day there's an opportunity to be mindful and grateful. So if you're looking to incorporate hygge into your life and home, here are a few simple ways to bring in the bliss:

  • On cold, dark days, curl up with a scented candle and a mug of hot cocoa and revel in the feeling of coziness.
  • Invite friends for a home-cooked dinner and take your time setting the table and preparing your favourite dish.
  • Buy yourself fresh flowers for no reason other than to brighten to your day.
  • Spend time actively devoting yourself to a hobby that you love.
  • Take an afternoon nap.
  • Surround yourself with blankets and daydream.
  • Most of all, be present.