Hygge is the buzzword of the moment – pronounced hoo-gah a Danish word with no direct translation but described as a feeling of being warm, safe, rested, cosy and homely
But do we really need the Danes to tell us how to achieve this? It seems so – Passing Waterstones bookshop this week the whole window was dedicated to books on the subject. “The Little Book of Hygge”, “Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well”, “How to Hygge”, “Hygge for Hygge” – OK I made that one up – but you get the message, the Danes think we Brits clearly need instructions on the art of cosy contented simple living.
With advice on everything from how to make a perfect porridge – (I agree porridge is a tasty and versatile energy fuelled start to the day, but it’s been on the menu here for 1000s of years) – to ideas on baking and handicrafts – (Much needed guidance for a country whose people knit hats for their teapots!).
You may agree that as a nation we are already blessed with a great many hygge leanings already –
Our favourite TV shows are the very hygge Great British Bake-off and The Antiques Road Show.
We are a nation of the Sunday roast, fish and chips, hot-pot, buttered crumpets and afternoon tea.
And there’s no place quite like the fireside of a British country pub with a pie and a pint especially after a family welly walk on a cold and blustery day.
I didn’t know I was Hyggelig Last Christmas (yes it’s also a verb) when some of my favourite evenings were curled up by the fire in my fleecey tartan onesie, drinking Baileys coffee and watching Dickension and Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas – Kirstie Allsop is the uncrowned British queen of Hygge.
If you want some Hygge in your life you need to go vintage – second hand is very hygge – as are books, throws, chunky woollen sweaters, cashmere socks, cushions, candles and anything tartan – and particularly at Christmas – Stilton soup, roasted chestnuts, hot toddy, mince pies and egg nog.
The Joy of Hygge
However, Hygge it seems, is not just about material possessions – In the book “How To Hygge” author Helena Olsen explains that it is as much a feeling or a state of mind – “it is seeking out the joy in every situation you find. It is appreciating what you have right now in the present without worry. It is making a conscious effort to escape the relentless and unforgiving pace by which many of us feel overwhelmed”. Wise words – so perhaps after all, we Brits should take an autumnal golden leaf out of this book.
Now I’m off for a “brabbag” (pronounced bravick) another tricky word – this time from a language within the British Isles – Manx Gaelic to be exact and it means to have a warm before the fire – and you can’t get more hygge than that!
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