A bit hard to explain and even harder to pronounce, the Danish word “hygge” (pronounced “hoo-gah”) has exploded in popularity around the world. It translates roughly to “coziness,” but it means so much more than that.  

In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Cozying up with a loved one for a movie – that’s hygge, too. And there’s nothing more hygge than sitting around with friends and family, discussing the big and small things in life.

With so many cold, dark, days, the simple act of a candle glowing with a cup of coffee in the morning or a home cooked evening meal with friends can make a huge difference to one’s spirit.

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By creating simple rituals without effort {such as brewing real tea with a little china cup every evening to stopping at the flower shop every week} the Danish see both the domestic and personal life as an art form and not every drudgery to get away from. They incorporate hygge into their daily life so it becomes a natural extension rather than a forced and stressful event.

So whether it’s making coffee a verb by creating a ritual of making it every morning to a cosy evening in with friends where you’re just enjoying each others company to the simple act of lighting a candle with every meal, hygge is just about being aware of a good moment.

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Candlelight is a key component to bring about hygge, and the Danes burn more candles per head than anywhere else in the world. 
Make a habit of lighting a candle with your morning cup of tea or evening meal to start or end your day with some peaceful ambiance.

When cold temperatures and shorter days mean more time spent indoors, making our home a winter haven becomes even more important. It comes as no surprise that the Danes take pride in creating a comforting space. 
To get cozy at home, incorporate extra pillows and blankets in fabrics such as wool or organic cotton, cover bare floors with soft rugs, and layer window treatments to keep out chilly drafts.

Find joy in the simple pleasures, such as reading a good book, listening to your favourite album, or watching the snow come down outside the window while snuggling up under a cozy quilt.

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To take hygge outside, grab some friends, and try out some winter activites. Feeling less adventurous? Bundling up and heading out for a walk in nature, soaking up the crisp winter air and muffled calm of a snow-covered landscape, can be incredibly rejuvenating. Follow any of the above with a warm drink, and you’ll be basking in hygge bliss!

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To channel Danish-style hosting, try not to worry about your house being perfectly spotless or your menu overly glamorous (a simple pot of soup is the perfect cold-weather antidote). These details, which are truly unimportant in the grand scheme of things, interfere with the true meaning of hygge and get in the way of spontaneous gatherings. To take the stress out of hosting even further, make your brunch or dinner potluck-style, inviting your guests to bring a favourite dish to share.

Hygge is not something you can achieve in a rush. Although it might be difficult for busy Canadians to embrace, dabbling in the art of lingering allows us to slow down, live more mindfully, and uncover many hyggelig moments we might otherwise pass by.

If your normal tendency is to jump up after a meal to start cleaning up, try instead to sit for a moment and appreciate the nourishment you provided your body. Lingering around the table with others, savouring a mug of tea or glass of wine, allows space for deeper conversations to unfold.

Natural ways to hygge

Nothing says hygge quite like candlelight; however, many candles are made from paraffin, which releases hazardous chemicals and can contribute to health risks such as allergies, asthma, and even cancer. Opt for 100 percent vegetable-based or beeswax candles with cotton wicks.

According to Katherine Thomas, an aromatherapist and perfumer in Calgary, “Essential oils have the ability to affect our mental state, bringing feelings of joy and clarity to confusing, chaotic moments.”

She adds that using a diffuser at home is one of the simplest ways to experience essential oils, and provides this recipe for a cozy diffuser blend:

3 drops sweet orange

3 drops cedarwood

1 drop vetiver

1 drop ginger

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