In a world that often moves at a fast pace the concept of Hygge is becoming ever more appealing, creating calm and cosiness with your family. Hygge has no literal translation, it’s more a mood or a feeling. Although originally a Norwegian term for wellbeing, it has been embraced by the Danish since the 18th century. Despite long dark winters, the Danes are still one of the happiest, most content nations in the world, making the most of the weather by creating time and space to cherish themselves and those they love.
It is about savouring a comforting meal shared with family or friends, enjoying good food, great conversation and a glass of wine, enhanced by the relaxing glow of candlelight. Hygge focuses on quality time spent with people you love, living in the moment, practising mindful eating and not rushing to clear up the plates as soon as you have finished your dinner. The Danes pride themselves on making their homes welcoming to guests, always offering them something to eat or drink, this is not only good manners but it demonstrates they care and are offering warmth and hospitality. The ultimate compliment you can pay your host after time spent at their home is to say it was “Hyggeligt”. Hygge is not about striving for perfection, it’s simply preparing a meal such as a wholesome casserole or, if your guests have just popped round for drinks, you could offer them some good cheese, fresh bread and olives served on a simple wooden board.
There are always candles lit in Danish homes evoking an instant sense of peace and tranquility, so why not try placing some around your kitchen on windowsills, in or around a fireplace or on your dinner table? Hygge focuses on spending time with your family maybe playing cards or board games, lighting your wood burner, putting on some music and enjoying a soothing cup of hot chocolate. Hark back to simple pleasures away from technology, by snuggling up together on the sofa under a soft cosy blanket in your favourite fluffy socks.
It’s possible to create a calm, cosy atmosphere conducive to Hygge with little expense, you just need a few well thought out pieces, such as some comfy cushions, soft throws or blankets and of course candles, lighting is key. The high season in Scandinavia is Christmas, picture a snug, warm inviting cottage in the snow, the aroma of delicious food cooking and the fire burning, and a welcoming glass of mulled wine served by your host when you arrive, what could be better!
So as the evenings draw in and there is a crispness in the air it is the perfect time to take a step back from our busy lives and focus on some precious moments with the ones we love.
For some more tips on making the most of your kitchen why not read our article, Your kitchen, a family living space.