Do you find pleasure in the art of creating a relaxing atmosphere in your home? Do you feel content sharing a simple meal with your family or friends? Do you live for the moment when you get home and put on a pair of really comfy pants that you would never wear in public? There’s a Danish word that encompasses all of those things (and so much more): hygge. Incidentally, there’s a word for those pants too, it’s hyggebukser. Perhaps you’re already well aware of the trend that originated in Scandinavia and is sweeping across the globe like a warm, woolen blanket. It was short-listed for Oxford dictionary’s Word of the Year, and yet every expert on the topic seems to have a different, very specific scenario that defines what it actually means. From what I can tell, it’s up to you to define what it means to you. So I’d love to know, how do you hygge? Share your most hyggelig habits in the comments below!

It’s up for debate whether you can hygge by yourself, but I find that my most hyggelig habits are the ones I practice by myself, when I consciously make the decision to unplug and start winding down for the night. Here are a few ways I hygge.

Create a beautiful atmosphere at home – For me, this means hanging art and photography that inspires me and stimulates creative thoughts. Lately, this has also taken a new form in a new penchant for ceramics like a handmade mug and saucer (the saucer makes it feel extra special) to drink my nighttime tea and investing in nicer plates to eat my meals off of.

Dress up to dress down – I used to wear my most worn out clothes to sleep and relax in, but ever since I bought a matching pajama set I’ve been able to Marie Kondo all of the old, worn out t-shirts and sweatpants out of my life. Now it feels like a treat when I get into my house clothes. The silk pajama set by Equipment and cashmere house socks above are on the pricy side, but these really don’t have to be expensive! My favorite loungewear is these super soft pajama sets from Target.

Soothe your senses – I will admit I have a habit of going into an Instagram rabbit hole at night and coming out at midnight in a daze – where did the time go? So lately I’ve been trying to put my phone away, light a candle or some incense, do a little bit of restorative candles, and then drink some warm tea. It doesn’t happen every night, but when it does I don’t think there’s anything more hyggelig.

*Photo by Sarah Elliott for eyeswoon, ocean print StoryPrintsCo, rope wall hanging Cindy Zell, cashmere bed socks The White Company, lamp Schoolhouse Electric, pajamas Equipment, Boy Smells candle Urban Outfitters, chunky knit blanket Ohhio, marble mug Terrain

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Comments (8)
  1. 1
    Libbynan December 23, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    I recently purchased my first set of real linen bedding. Now I am really into hygge……or is it hygging? Anyway….crawling into my bed is now the high point of my day and I can barely force myself out in the morning. So comfy…..

  2. 2
    Cindy Johnson December 23, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    The last couple of years, after work, on really cold days, I’ve decided to enjoy it by putting on my flannel pjs and robe, light the fireplace, and make soup for dinner.

  3. 3
    Jennifer Rose Smith December 23, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Cristina I LOVE this — total synchronicity for me… I was just learning about hygge for the first time on the radio last week and have been thinking about it ever since. I think lighting is a big part of it for me. I love to light candles and always feel comforted by the energy and light of a real flame. That, paired with freshly cleaned floors and countertops equals total hygge for me. Also a great album playing, and maybe a very cold glass of water.

  4. 4
    Lisa December 24, 2016 at 7:48 am

    A few notes on hygge. Anglophones use it as an exotic version of “cozy” because that is the closest concept in that language. But as you note, Christina, it is much more, in its rightful cultural context. Yes you can hygge on your own. It is a reflexive verb in Danish – at hygge sig. Hygge is both a noun ( something you have and experience, a set of conditions) a quality ( for which you use the adjective hyggeligt), and also something you do ( hence the use of the phrase “kan du hygge dig?” upon parting.) It has been interesting – and a little disheartening – to see this term become increasingly associated with material things as it has gained more global usage, since its essence has to do with a sense of being and connection – to self, others, and nature…
    But for sure, a world with more hygge in it will be a much nicer place.
    Especially if we remember that it is not only about how nice and cozy a place looks, or how beautiful the things in it are, but about the connections between people that a setting or occasion fosters. ( you can even end up having a totally hyggeligt time in the most unlikely of settings if the company is right!)

    Wishing you much hygge!

  5. 5
    Chanel Dror December 24, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Weekend mornings! Windows open, music playing, cooking up a storm with my man.

  6. 6
    McKel Hill December 26, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Loving hygge right now! I heard a native Dane say it can be best described as Thanksgiving, aka a nice cozy meal with people you love. I love the notion of adding a little Thanksgiving to every day!

  7. 7
    Stephanie W January 5, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    This article is about me! I can relate to everything discussed. Great article & thanks for the lesson on hygge.

  8. 8
    keith January 15, 2017 at 6:42 am

    That sofa is definitely a statement in our living room.