What does that word even mean?!
Ok. Most of you probably already know since it was shortlisted by Oxford Dictionary to be a Word of the Year for 2016.
I, however, live in the dark ages and stumbled across this word last Sunday. We were driving to my mother-in-law’s and I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw this word used as a hashtag on a photo that I liked. They also had a photo of a book written called The Year of Living Danishly.
I was immediately intrigued. For the past year, I have stumbled across stuff about Copenhagen (a city I knew nothing about, other than its name) on such a frequent basis that I was convinced that I am supposed to visit there. I’m a big believer in paying attention to signposts and it was happening so frequently that even my skeptical husband was beginning to wonder if I should just hop on a plane and go. We considered it for our first overseas trip this spring break, but I was worried about it being cold.
Yes, I know there is old Scandinavian saying “There is no bad weather, just bad clothing” – and I don’t have good clothing!
So in my intrigue, I googled “what is hygge” (pronounced hoo-guh) and while there isn’t an actual English translation, it can be compared to coziness. The website I came across- Hygge House described hygge as a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes by taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special.
And I was struck! This is the word that I have been looking for over the past year. I made it through last winter by looking for beauty everywhere. Mostly, I looked to nature. So when the photo challenge this week was ambience, I thought of my top photo, of how a place or moment in nature makes me feel. But I also thought about hygge.
The warm light of candles and fireplaces are one of the first things that come to mind when I think about both of those words and creating a warm atmosphere. But it goes beyond that.
It is the feeling that I have been trying to create in my home since I moved from Florida to Virginia. A feeling of warmth and joy. Surrounded by things that uplift my spirit when the days are a cold gray that seem to never end.
It’s about creating a place of relaxation. Taking time to savor a cup of warm tea in the afternoon (because, let’s be honest, that coffee in the morning… that’s so I can smile and say “Have a good day” as everyone walks out the door after a morning of chaos).
Enjoying the rituals around the holidays of making cookies and candies with my daughter. And then spending time savoring the richness of our hard work.
It’s about deciding that every day is special enough to pull out the sprinkles and real silver.
It’s about simplicity and slowing down the pace of life.
Something I’ve been seeking and journeying toward for the past year.
One way that I try to incorporate this concept of slowing down, of a warm atmosphere where you enjoy the good things in life with good people, is by pouring a glass of wine, putting on my warm slippers, turning on the fireplace, wrapping up in a cozy blanket, and spending time with my husband.
Another way is by having a snack for my teens after school. Sometimes it’s fancy, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s from scratch, quite often it’s not. But it’s in these few precious moments that my kids tell me about their day. The good, the bad, things coming up, things that have passed. These teenagers let me have a little peek into their world. They eat, they laugh, they play their music for me…and then they head off in different directions.
It’s in these little every day moments that we find hygge.
I hope that you all find some hygge in your life this week.
Let your light shine!