So how do you pronounce this wonderful term? Hue-gah? Hoo-gay? Hue-guh? No one seems quite sure about this, either. But no matter how you say it, HYGGE has spawned hundreds of books and magazine articles and decorating trends. The Danes came up with the concept because they have very long dark winters and they needed to find a way to make those dark days fun instead of going out and burying themselves en mass in snow drifts or drinking themselves to death. So they concentrated on fuzzy hand-knitted socks and crackling fires and perfect pots of tea, and on candle-lit homey gatherings of friends and family around home-cooked pots of stew. (Do they use Le Creuset in Denmark, I wonder?) Then, they throw in READING. Now that sound pretty hard to beat, and just the ticket for those of us who are feeling a bit battered by this last year.
Of course, it occurs to me that I have been making perfect pots of tea for years, and that I already have fuzzy socks, and that there are few things I love more than reading in front of the fire, or warm cozy dinners with family, or drinking wine in my kitchen with my very best friends gathered together. But apparently the secret to HYGGE is that you should do those things consciously, with appreciation for the moment.
|Debs with fire, fuzzy socks, candle, and her furry friend, Chewbacca.|
INGRID THOFT: YES!! How could I not, with a name like mine? One of my nephews refers to his sweats and p.j.s as his "cozies," and the whole family has adopted the term. I like getting into my cozies and curling up on the couch with a good book. Even though I have the Danish blood, I think my husband taught me about coziness and a feeling of contentment more than anyone else. I grew up with an inclination to always be productive, but early on in our relationship, he showed me the value of slowing down and recharging one's batteries. I think a lot of cultures do it better compared to Americans when it comes to self-care and creating a sense of community. I'm all for productivity, but much can be gained from taking it easy when given the chance. Also, aren't the Danes one of the happiest groups of people on the planet? Perhaps they're on to something.
|Do you know how much I love Ingrid's photo???|
HALLIE EPHRON: HYGGE? I'd never heard the term, but "slowing down to smell the roses" and being content in the moment and indulging in friends and good food and staying warm... high priorities for me. All year 'round. My favorite winter clothing: silky long underwear -- not the waffle weave cotton stuff that bunches up in your pant legs and armpits. That thin extra layer really works, and there are brands like Cuddle Duds that aren't expensive and feel great.
And I confess I'm into warm winter socks in a big way and sometimes, when it's really cold, I wear my Uggs boots around the house. They weren't cheap but one of the best investments I ever made... five+ years ago.
My favorite cozy activity does not involve friends... a hot bath. The original bathtub in our 1920s house is large and has a sloped end and I can submerge everything but my knees. Mmmmmm.
|Hallie's UGGs and fuzzy socks|
Also! Jonathan makes coffee for me every morning. When I hear the sound of the spoon stirring in the milk, I know this seems silly, but I think, wow, I'm lucky.
I have fuzzy slippers, I admit, and Uggs? Are perfect. (Except if it rains.)
And how about that moment when you first get into bed, and the comforter and pillows are all puffy?
|Hank--or Jonathan's--cozy chair|
RHYS BOWEN: I am not a winter person! If I had my way I'd hibernate and wake up in March. I know this is wimpy because California winters are not harsh, but usually I escape to Arizona and this year John's health issues are keeping us in very wet and windy Marin County. So for the first time in ages I'm having to create my Hygge (I'd guess it's hooguh). I do love my Uggs. Brought them back from Australia in the days when I went back and forth all the time to my parents and now wear them in the house all the time (my, but they hold up well!).
Candles. I love candles on winter evenings and I've kept up some of the sparkly little lights. And I'm knitting scarves and I love mulled wine. And I'm making lots of soup. I'm lucky enough that two of my children live nearby and I really enjoy impromptu visits from them. And going to movies and having lunch with friends. I think we need lots of contact with people we care about to get us through the dark time of year!
LUCY BURDETTE: Wish we all lived closer and could do Hygge together (not Hallie's bathtub though!) Of course in Key West, we don't have too much chilly weather. But when I am in a chilly patch, I have a very nice fleece blanket that I like for lying on the couch to watch TV. And animals help too! Especially a purring cat on my lap. They are having a cold snap in LA, where my sweet granddaughter Dorothea agrees
with the cat notion. (She has two kitties, this is Zuma.)
|Julia practicing ultra-hygge|
READERS, how about you? Are you into the cozy Danish HYGGE thing?
P.S. I love everyone's houses. How fun to see them!