How Do You Hygge?

Am I the last person on earth to learn about hygge?


On the Oxford Dictionary’s short list for 2016 Word of the Year, hygge is a lifestyle trend that has apparently made a splash in the last year or so in the U.S.

Hygge (pronounced something like HYOO-guh) is a Danish word with no exact translation. It is a feeling, a mood, an experience – deriving joy from life’s simple pleasures.

As best I can glean from my tiny bit of extensive research, hygge denotes coziness, contentment, simplicity, and peacefulness. A combination of the people, places, and things that make you happiest.

No electronics allowed.

Hygge is something that the Danish people take pride in elevating to an art form.

Hygge can be as simple as a cup of coffee enjoyed while wrapped in your favorite blanket, curled up in your favorite chair.

blanket and coffee

Or it can be, like feng shui, a guiding design principle for your home or office.

While previously ignorant of the concept, it seems I have had my hygge-groove on around our house for a while.

After having moved a number of times, one gets really, really tired of “stuff”. Stuff to pack and unpack, stuff to arrange, stuff to dust and stuff to move aside to make room for new stuff.

Since retuning to Chicago, we have purged our shelves of tchotchkes and are trying to create a relaxed and (without even knowing it) hygge home.

Sure we have pictures of family and friends and a few sentimental objects around the place but these are things that bring us joy – add to the hygge in our home.

Oh, wow! Now I’m really in the groove. Soon I will be a hygge expert!

Even my daily rituals suggest a bit of hygge. I have a few favorite coffee mugs which bring back great memories related to particular trips or experiences.

Cowgirl Coffee mug

And some that just amuse me.

Shhhh there's wine in here

A cup of coffee in one of these mugs starts my day off right.

All day, every day, I have one of my beloved Nest candles burning. The delicate aroma makes the house feel cozy to me.

Nest Candle

My monthly “girls’ night in” get-togethers are overflowing with hygge. They are always meant to be casual, low-key evenings spent catching up with dear friends.

Girlfriends Gather Here

Last month we had “Soup and Pajamas” night to which my pal, Mare, wore her green, full-length, fleece onsie. If that’s not a hygge outfit I don’t know what is.

My sister-in-law has an extraordinary talent for creating hygge. If I didn’t know that she was 100% Irish, I might assume that she was Danish.

This gal has an extremely stressful, high-stakes, high-power job and needs every ounce of hygge she can get.

As often as possible, she will end the day by lighting candles all over her living room, grabbing a glass of wine and a cozy throw and taking time to breathe and decompress. The hygge is at its peak when this scene includes family and friends.

Fire Pit


Living in California means that she can enjoy outside hygge year-round where the candles are replaced by a firepit but the wine, cozy throw and loved ones are still part of the equation.

The concept of hygge, according to the Danish Ambassador, is a type of meditation – even done in a group – during which polarizing subjects are off limits in favor of focusing on what makes us happy.

I guess we all have stress, turmoil, and angst in our lives to one degree or another from time to time…or constantly.

It seems we can all use a little more hygge in our life.

How about you? Have you heard of this lifestyle movement? How do you hygge?

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Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I had to read this since I just wrote a piece (well, part of it) for Runner’s World on hygge! I had no clue what it was or what it meant when the editor assigned it to me so I also had to “do extensive” Googling. As it turns out, running is the perfect way for runners to experience this but, I love all the other ways you talk about too. I’m sure this “hygge thing” will have it’s 15 minutes… Congrats on being so trendy 🙂
    Allie recently posted…The Rundown – MahaloMy Profile

    • Hahaha! We have, indeed, explored the two opposite – yet equally effective – ends of hygge. I imagine that running in Hawaii elevated your hygge to an even higher level!

  2. I saw your post on hygge just as I was finishing my daily meditation practice. I’ve been trying to meditate every day and practicing hygge seems to fit right in.
    No you were not the last person on earth to hear of it – I think that was me! Thanks for sharing!

    • My mom and I were just talking about meditation last night. She swears by it and is trying to nudge me to start the practice. In the name of hygge I think I will!

  3. Thanks for the education. So as I’m decluttering I’m working on my hygge? How trendy of me.
    Kathy G recently posted…It’s A Winner!My Profile

  4. I have not heard of hygge, but consider me a fan now!
    Katy recently posted…To the Anxious Working Mom Going Back To WorkMy Profile

  5. I have heard of hygge but really appreciate your explanation. I have a favorite chair that I like to settle into with a book, so perhaps I have been practicing this somewhat for awhile? However, I don’t think I’ll be really accomplished until I learn to really limit the time I dawdle away on Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Thanks, Mo — have a great day!
    Janet recently posted…Reading, writing and watchingMy Profile

    • Janet, I’m right there with you. The giant hiccup in my hygge is my darn addiction to my phone or laptop. I guess that gives us room for growth in our practice, right? 😉

  6. I read about this recently and it’s fascinating to me at least, how we love to label things. I think we all crave coziness of some form or the other and to put it into words is interesting. Good way to sell books too! Anyway, your home sounds peaceful and lovely with just the perfect touch of good coffee mugs!
    Leslie Anne Tarabella recently posted…Quilted car coat, perfect for travelMy Profile

    • Exactly!! They have taken something we all do to some extent – call it relaxing or nesting or meditating – give it a difficult to pronounce name and you have a “brand new” lifestyle trend!

  7. #1 hygge: my steaming cup of chai latte sipped quietly first thing in the morning while trying to wake up from a sleep hangover
    #2 hygge: a 3-mile run

  8. Anne Smith says:

    My sister and brother in law spend a few months every year at a university near Copenhagen. I’ve visited a few times – once when the days were very short. They deal with the darkness by creating hygge – strings of white lights everywhere and lots of lit candles all day long. It really works!

    • It makes total sense that hygge would be an effective way to deal with a long, dark winter. Seasonal Affective Disorder must be rampant in those parts of the world where winter days are very, very short. Not surprising that white lights and an abundance of candles would help!

  9. Ahhhh!! I SO wish this is something I have perfected, but not even close! Oh well! Hope all is well with you and yours! xoxo
    Sandy recently posted…Wednesday Wanderlust ~ Albany, BahamasMy Profile

    • I don’t know, I’d say that you create some hygge with all of the gorgeous photos of travel locations on your blog. When I see those pictures, they certainly do bring me joy!

  10. Mo, this is the first I’ve heard of hygge — guess I’m not “with it”!! Nevertheless, I fully embrace the concept, having tried to rid my personal spaces of clutter and doing my best to invoke an atmosphere of calm despite often-hectic circumstances. I think it’s an ongoing struggle to balance our busy lives with the serenity we all want — and need!
    Debbie recently posted…Sunday’s Gem — Rose QuartzMy Profile

  11. I hadn’t heard of this until reading about it here – but it’s a lifestyle and an attitude I fully espouse. And being someone who’s moved many, many times in my life, I smiled at your angst about stuff – at least too much of it, because yes, if there’s one thing that helps us minimize, it’s having to move it. Loved this.
    Barbara recently posted…Ever been to Devil’s Tower?My Profile

  12. While I think I first read the term from
    Katie Clooney ,I think it is something we all have practiced for many years. As we shift gears after raising children ,we all have a normal inclination to pare down to that which brings us joy. Whether that means shedding items or relishing a good
    Home Goods trip or thrift shop find, it does not matter, its about finding joy. Some have called it nesting , I call it feeding my soul. The Danish may have coined the term, but women have been practicing this forever. I , like your sister in law ,have a very demanding career( and am Irish). I have an almost primal need to nest with a candle, a wood burning fire and some free flowing wine with my friends and family to balance it all out. You do that beautifully Mo!

  13. That’s it. I’m giving up exercise and adopting hygge as my new daily routine. I think I was Danish in a former life. Have a hygge kind of Sunday, dear Mo. Do you know what Hygge is spelled backwards? EGGYH! Exactly! Bonnie told me that.

  14. nope. you’re not the last…its me…i learned it from you! ha! i need it in my life though i’ll tell you that! and i need that black coffee cup 😉 btw…i love nest candles like you do so much that i recently bought myself the biggest size they make…its like three times the size and only $20 more…winner winner chicken dinner. hope you have a wonderful valentines day!
    nancy recently posted…still crushing on…heather chadduckMy Profile

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