With the rains coming and going, it feels good to nestle in to our little house on the hill, to sit in front of a fire with a nice blanket on my lap, and to hold a cup of caffe latte in my hands. I just want to be warm and cozy. I recently read a book that may help me do that in new ways.
The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living is a light, feel-good book about how to bring more “hygge” into one’s life. Hygge (pronounced Hoo-ga) is loosely defined as those elements of feeling homey and cozy –a fireplace, candles, wool socks and blankets, nurturing food, good company and conversation, a warm sense of belonging. It’s the feeling of creating a safe, comfortable, comforting environment.
Written by Meik Wiking, the book is a sweet guide on how to create a sense of pleasure and comfort in one’s life. Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. He and his fellow researchers have been studying what makes people happy. And since the Danes often top the list of the happiest people on the planet, he seems the perfect guide to help others experience some of that happiness.
The “hygge manifesto,” as Mr. Wiking calls it, focuses on atmosphere (turn down the lights; light those candles), presence (“be here now”), pleasure, equality, gratitude, harmony, comfort, truce (no drama, no politics!), togetherness, and shelter.
I particularly like his Hygge Emergency Kit, which includes candles (of course), “some good-quality chocolate” (!) , your favorite tea, homemade jam, your favorite book and more. I also like the reminder that hygge is about the importance of “now.” “It is about keeping in mind that you live right now, allowing yourself to focus on the moment and appreciate the life you lead, to focus on all that you do have, not what you don’t. Cliches? Totally.”
The book’s design is lovely and simply Scandinavian, with lots of sky blue, muted orange, beige, and yellow, so it, too, is a comforting book to look at and read. My only concern is that the word hygge or variations of it are used quite often in the book, but what can you do? If you’re talking about hygge, you’re talking about hygge. See. Even I have used it a lot! And, actually, it’s kind of a fun word to say.
I will return often to this book, just for the comfort of its content and look. And now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll light some more candles…glassybabys, of course! Happy hygge-ing!