Most Canadians’ participation in Scandinavian culture begins and ends with Ikea. But this winter, another Scandinavian concept has been making a big impression on North Americans: hygge. Perhaps you’ve been hearing this word around lately. Pronounced (somewhat) like “hue-geh,” hygge is a Danish word that refers to a feeling of warmth, cosiness, and happiness. That feeling you get when you curl up in front of a warm fire with a hot chocolate and your family? That’s hygge.
The concept is generally confined to winter, when the dark and cold have a tendency to induce the blues. In Denmark, where winters are long and days are short, hygge is a way of combating the feelings of depression and frustration that can get people down.
In Canada, forecasters are predicting a return to the “classic Canadian winter” in contrast with the mild winters we’ve had for the past few years. That means cold, stormy weather and lots of indoors time. Which makes it the perfect year to adopt the hygge lifestyle. As author Annie Dillard once wrote, “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.” So rather than making your way begrudgingly through the winter, try to spend your days appreciating what’s there.
Not sure how to embrace the cold? We’re here to help, with a few basic ways you can make your winter a little more cosy, happy, and hygge.
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