You may not know how to pronounce it, but chances are you've been practising “Hygge” for as long as you can remember.
It's that trendy Danish lifestyle concept which is all about creating a feeling of contentment and well-being, by enjoying the small things in life.
Pronounced “hoo ga”, there is no perfect English word to describe this trend, although cosiness and comfort, just about sum it up.
Yet here in Scotland without even realising it, we already practise the global phenomenon with great skill – except we have a different, funny little name for it – and that is the long-held, simple art, of 'Coorie'.
Traditionally, Coorie means to 'snuggle' or 'cuddle', to sit down and take a moment.
So it is a centuries-old version of the Scandinavian way of living, and with winter upon us, it is most certainly the most “Hygge” time of year.
What is Hygge?
Similar to Scotland, Danish winters are dark and long, which they get through by lighting lots and lots of candles. That is Hygge.
Being warm, content, and feeling like you're wrapped up in a hug, that is Hygge.
It's all about enjoying simple pleasures and moments, or just taking time away from the daily rush. It can be found in a warm cup of tea in a favourite mug, by wearing cashmere socks, or reading in an armchair; whatever makes a person feel comfortable, relaxed and present, that is Hygge.
How to live the Hygge life
“Hygge for me is about creating a warm atmosphere, and enjoying the good things in life; such as beginning an evening by lighting a candle”, reveals the director of Love Scottish, Lesley Landels.
Indeed, a dimly-lit room is almost the essence of hygge, a feel-good factor from twinkling lights and flames, which all help to create a warm, and cosy, home.
For some it might also be wearing a pair of comfy bottoms they would never wear outside, open fires, and mince and tatties, or for others it is lying in bed listening to the rain or cosying up to watch a film.
Hygge is essentially wholesome, and it can be done alone wrapped up in a throw, with a cup of cocoa, or in the comfort of friends and loved ones.
Benefits of Hygge
In today's world where staying at home has become a larger part of our lives, the need for hygge is much more relevant.
For starters, it certainly makes winter more bearable. But it is also one of the best forms of self-care, can reduce stress, and bring about a greater sense of mindfulness.
For Love Scottish founder Lesley, it is easily summed up by the words “peacefulness, happiness, content, calm, love and balance.”
That might explain why Denmark is regarded as one of the happiest countries in the world.
Also, not forgetting that as winter and hygge going hand-in-hand, the peak season of it all brings one of the best times to pull out all the stops – Christmas.
A hygge festive season needs even more candles, home fragrances, fairy lights, cosy blankets, tartan and plaid, family, eating well, and togetherness, an extraordinary level of cosiness.
“The ways in which I describe hygge, are all of my brand values, and ultimately why I make candles”, stated Lesley.
And whether we choose to hygge-out, or coorie-in, it will always feel like home.