Winter is coming! In the nice way, not the Game of Thrones way. And along with all the usual wintry excitements – Starbucks red cups, ice skating, wearing two pairs of tights under your jeans – this year we have a new obsession. Hygge.
Are you just making noises?
No! Hygge is everywhere, trust us.
It’s pronounced ‘hoo-ga’ – or ‘hewwguuah’ if you want to attempt a Scandi accent – and it’s the Danish/Norwegian word for… well, there’s no direct translation but the closest is ‘cosiness’. Or ‘simple, homely pleasures’. Or the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you’re bundled up in a blanket next to a fire with a good book and a hot chocolate and maybe Bing Crosby playing soft jazz in the background.
That sounds like effort.
Ahh, but it doesn’t have to be. While the shops might try to flog you snuggly blankets and rustic slippers and candles that smell like pine trees in the name of this trend (and we want them, we won’t lie), the true meaning of hygge is something much simpler that everyone can embrace.
Here are five ways to find your inner ‘hygge’ for free…
1. Go outside so you can appreciate being inside again
You know how playing hockey or football or netball or doing cross-country or any outdoor physical exercise at school is basically hideous between October and March – because you’re frozen solid, your nose and eyes are streaming like fountains, your hands have become mangled claws and your PE kit was designed by someone with no respect for weather? Well, that amazing feeling when the final whistle goes and you can all race back into the feety-smelling warmth of the changing room and throw your jumper back on and sit against a radiator whimpering until the feeling comes back into your fingers? Hygge!
Of course, in Scandinavia you might go for long walks in a forest followed by a woodland sauna. But it’s basically the same.
2. Reread a childhood classic
Sure, grappling with Tess of the D’Urbervilles is going to look ace on your personal statement when the time comes. But to really stir up those feelings of inner cosiness and contentment, park yourself on the sofa under a blanket with a classic book you have known and loved for years. It’s the literary equivalent of buttery mashed potato or custard. Which, come to think of it, are also very good ideas.
May we recommend: Ballet Shoes, Winnie the Pooh, Matilda, Angus, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, any Harry Potter.
3. Toast something
Toastiness is central to the whole hygge situation – whether that’s a marshmallow, bread or just your own feet.
Sure, you might not have an open roaring fire to warm yourself in front of, Scandi-style… but you probably have a candle (try the messy drawer in the kitchen if all else fails – they are basically legally obliged to contain at least one old candle, as well as eight thousand rubber bands and five takeaway menus), a grill or a gas hob, right? Indulge all those campfire fantasies you picked up from American movies by making s’mores, or go for a stack of hot buttery toast and breath in its exquisite scent. Hygggggggeeee.
4. Get dressed under the covers
Remember this old gem from your childhood? Go on, we won’t tell anyone.
Or if your desire to shower outweighs your desire to start the day off cosy, you can always wear your duvet to the bathroom and back – a manoeuvre we like to call ‘the walking sausage roll’. Genius.
5. Surround yourself with love
Much as we love the shopping possibilities, the true meaning of hygge isn’t chic minimalist homewares or amazing food or even just being cosy and warm – it’s really about surrounding yourself with good spirits. Which could mean filling your bedroom with eight shrieking friends on Friday night, or enforcing a family board game tournament on a rainy Sunday afternoon, or even just draping your cat around you like a furry scarf while you watch seven episodes of Gilmore Girls. Whatever works.
And if anyone asks why they have to play board games for five hours or sleep on your floor or stay still long enough to become a living accessory, you just yell ‘hygge! HYGGE!’ until they give in.