Library Columns Olivia Tooker

Hygge by Olivia Tooker

Olivia Tooker
by Olivia Tooker

Hot chocolate, candles, and sweaters. Those twinkly lights everywhere. Friends over for a nice, hot meal. This may conjure up images of fall, but for people in Denmark this is a year round lifestyle.

Denmark is one of the happiest nations in the country despite their dark and chilly winters, with strong winds. So why are they so happy? Well, “hygge” may just be part of it, pronounced like “hue-gah.” While the closest American translation for this Danish term might be “coziness,” what it really means is creating a comforting environment filled with little joys. As stressed-out Americans, we might want to try it out.

These Nordics focus on the simple pleasures — from a good meal with friends to picking fruit, a walk in the woods to making paper snowflakes. The absolute key to hygge is those simple pleasures. If you’re an early bird who enjoys watching the sunrise with your first cup of coffee, you’re already with it. Hygge includes small rituals that boost your happiness and help you be mindful of pleasant moments.

Embracing hygge is alse embracing redecorating — you want to make your home a place of rest and contentment. Add blankets and pillows for maximum comfort. And to really add hygge, introduce some plants inside. Now, if you have any ant problems feel free to skip that step. I’m not sure if the Danes have experienced a sugar ant invasion like any Floridians have.

You can also add lamps! Lamps, christmas lights, or candles. Lighting is an important fixture of this mindset. If you’ve got natural light, use it! While overhead lights enlighten the area, you want coziness and warm light and that can be accomplished with many smaller lights rather than one big one.

Crafts also inspire the coziness, as long as they don’t get too complicated and stressful. Make a bag and fill it with dried lavender. Or you can make a mug cozy — basically a sweater for your mug —  for your morning cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. For more crafts and decorative ideas, check out “The Joy of Hygge” by Jonny Jackson through the Heartland Library Cooperative or through Overdrive on the Tampa Bay Library Consortium.

And of course, delicious, comforting food is essential to this coziness. Depending on your chef-level in the kitchen, you can keep it as simple as doing a mug cake or brownie, or something else “fika” — something sweet to eat with your coffee, or more complicated like an entire meal with friends. For recipe ideas, check out ““How to Hygge : The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life” by Signe Johansen through the Heartland Library Cooperative.

So take hint from the happy, happy people of Denmark and bring a little hygge into your life!