When you think of the term ‘hygge’ what comes to mind? Is it toasty thick knit socks by an open fire and a mug of something warm in your hands? Is it quiet evenings snuggled under that arm knit blanket which has been doing the rounds on social media lately? Or is it like me, something louder, filled with more laughter but at the same time really simple?
When my husband first started working in Scandinavia he came back all excited to discover a cultural thing that the Danes did which he knew I would love: hygge. I chuckled because as a knitter, I was already aware of hygge (and perhaps now what is becoming a bit of a ‘thing’ for 2016). But my knitter-focused view of what hygge was soon became clear to me was skewed with my cultural references.
What is often missed when we are sold the idea of hygge is that for all the cosy and comfort that your disposable income can buy, hygge needs something much simpler and by virtue less costly: family and friends.
To me now hygge is the evenings sat on my sofa with the kids wriggling at the side of me while we watch a film. It is having friends over for dinner with many children going mad around the house, destroying the bedrooms with a toy-explosion while we laugh over food and wine downstairs. Hygge is a game of Scrabble, playing some vinyl or doing some slow crafts. It is picking out some fabric from my stash, not cruising the online stores for more; it is doing some stockinette stitches while chatting to people in the room. Most importantly, it is not opening my laptop and definitely not looking at my phone and taking a few steps back.
Hygge is taking the time to clear my busy mind – a bad side-effect of being self-employed. That overwhelming urge that I must be doing at all times, not concentrating on the thing at hand sometimes gets out of hand. Sitting and not doing, not thinking but enjoying. All the open fires, hot drinks and hand-knit socks in the world cannot come close to that. Okay maybe the hand-knit socks.
This is what hygge means to me. Not the over-marketed idealised lifestyle of hygge but the doing something for my health and quality family time kind of hygge. What does hygge mean to you?