In a Hygge frame of mind: morning coffee by candlelight!

Yesterday we had a freezing fog advisory in Walla Walla. Poor visibility and slick road surfaces were the main items of concern. When I ventured out for my usual Thursday morning strength training and swimming workout at the YMCA the visibility was fine, but the road surfaces- -yikes! When I tried to brake at the first stop sign I encountered, my Subaru spun out into the intersection instead. Fortunately no humans, animals or automobiles were harmed by this event, but I was rattled. I took the shortest route home; it was Hygge time.


Who-gah? What’s that?


It sounds like the horn on a Model-A.


Yes it does, Lily. For the benefit of everyone, including 9, Hygge (pronounced Hoo-gah, as far as I can tell) is a Danish concept, meaning the pursuit of all things cozy and enjoyable. Apparently it’s a national pastime during the cold, dark months, a sort of nation-wide winter survival tactic.


So how do we Who-gah?


We bundle up and sit around the fireplace, eating comfort food.


That sounds boring. And fattening.


To some, Lily. But yesterday it sounded a lot more fun than spinning out on black ice. Think of it as being near midnight on Christmas Eve, when you’re home from a gathering of friends and family and vegging out in front of the fireplace with a full tummy and zero ambition. In short, Hygge is being relaxed and wallowing in a sense of well-being.


Like I said.

Hygge: don’t forget your shearling slippers!

Personally, I find it confusing that Hygge is considered a social thing. If it’s cold and dark outside, why leave your warm, comfy, Hygged-out home loaded with glowing candles and soft, cozy blankets? Why would you want to put on your galoshes and de-ice the car windows and slip and slide over icy and snowy roads to a friend’s house to Hygge?


Maybe it makes sense if you get unexpectedly snowbound?


Forced Hygge. That’s an interesting thought, 9. But if you were caught at someone else’s house, who would feed your cat? And what if your friend’s extra pair of shearling slippers were way too small for you?


Or if their idea of comfort food was peanut butter and you had a nut allergy?


Exactly, Lily. Under these circumstances, it would be impossible to feel content.


Yesterday’s Hygge-fest was honored more in the breach than the observance. I’m terrible at being at home in a state of contentment during daytime hours and I did make it to the Y in the afternoon when the roads had thawed. Got in half an hour of strength training, wary of the temperature falling again and the freezing fog closing in. I guess it was in the spirit of Hygge that I spent a few extra minutes in the shower, warming up, when I got home.


If you choose to Hygge with intent, it can be very expensive. In fact, interior decorators have embraced the concept in terms of home design. Check out For a mere $12,388 you can purchase “The Tiered Man Chair and Footstool-Sheepskin” (no returns or cancellations on this item). Details here:


For that price it should come with a real man.


And a real sheep!


Beeswax candles seem to be part of it, as I’ve gleaned from some other websites. Also mugs of frothy, milky drinks. Hygge appropriate clothing is loose fitting and neutral in color, in natural fibers of course. For excitement, you can write a letter to a far-away friend, or have brunch with people you haven’t seen for a while. You can arrange a board game night, you can- –


Die of boredom!

It kind of sounds good to me.


It might interest you to know, Lily, that there’s a song and dance number in the musical “Frozen” that’s all about Hygge. Plenty of YouTube clips of this are available online.




I don’t think Hygge could ever be a full-fledged lifestyle for me, but last Friday when I got home from a very brisk walk in the 27 F high (not a typo) the one thing that made total sense was turning on the gas fireplace and plopping down in a recliner to warm up and re-set. Hoosegow joined in by jumping onto my lap for pets.


Hygge, on demand.


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