Are the chilly winds, short days, and overall January dreariness getting you down? You might benefit from introducing a little hygge into your life. Pioneered in Denmark, hygge (pronounced hue-ga) is a lifestyle that encourages rituals and sensory experiences to incite a feeling of coziness and warmth. Soft colors, warm drinks, and gentle patterns are used to create a welcoming and intimate environment. Picture a living room lit only by the soft glow of a fireplace, with friends gathered around a coffee table clenching cups of hot tea while wearing hand-knit scarves. According to hygge evangelists, this kind of cozy and feel-good setting can become an antidote to the emotional and mental distress that arises from a busy life. Slowing down and engaging in activities that create a sense of comfort soothes anxiety to promote a sense of security and belonging in the world.
However, some critics of hygge aren’t buying it, arguing that orienting one’s life towards comfort creates complacency, and places unnecessary importance on domesticity. So is hygge a helpful tool to rediscover mindfulness and a sense of place, or just a fad?
Check out these titles to find out for yourself:
The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
This is the perfect little coffee table book with fun illustrations to get you rolling with hygge.
Simply Scandinavian by Sara Norrman
So you’ve got the tea, the snacks, the blankets, and music going in the background. Time to step up your hygge game with some furniture that will increase the flow of your home! This lovely book will get you started to arrange your furniture in a way that promotes a sense of community and belonging, while encouraging simplicity and lightness.
Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing the New Domesticity by Emily Matchar
Journalist Emily Matchar noticed a renewed interest in domesticity among her female friends. She set out on an investigative journey to understand why women are enthusiastically returning to tasks such as cooking, sewing, and all things natural all while documenting their efforts on sites like Pinterest and Etsy. Through captivating interviews and anecdotes, Matchar examines the causes and considers the consequences of women embracing domesticity in the 21st century. This is a great non-fiction book if you’re skeptical of domestic fads and wondering what our culture’s embrace of hygge says about gender norms.
The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia by Michael Booth
Do Americans perceive Scandinavian culture through rose tinted-glasses? Michael Booth thinks so. After living in Denmark for over a decade, Booth grew skeptical of international coverage of Denmark’s educational, health, and economic successes. He sets out to identify the complexities of the country’s government and culture while offering a nuanced view.