Hygge

These few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are definitely the ones I look forward to most. From festive decorations to dorm secret Santa, the spirit of holiday and good cheer creeps into every single corner of campus. I love stepping outside to feel the crisp, fresh air against my face. I love seeing the light from people’s windows glow bright against the dark sky and spill silently into the night. And I love hearing Christmas music playing all over campus.

This morning I read an article titled, “The Secret to Happiness Is…” It turns out that the answer is a concept called hygge. Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in ordinary, everyday moments and thus making them more meaningful, beautiful, or special. While there is no English translation to this Danish word, it can describe coziness, charm, happiness, security, and comfort.

I’ve always believed in this idea of hygge without having a concrete name for it. And I think the reason it’s so effective in bringing joy is that it makes us truly acknowledge a moment instead of simply drudging through it. While the darkness and cold of winter term definitely gets to all of us, our happiness shouldn’t be based on things we can’t control. Instead, we should seek to do the little things that bring warmth and joy to our lives.

Hygge, the article suggested, can be sitting by the fireplace in pajamas while sipping hot chocolate and watching a Christmas movie. It can be eating homemade baked goods, snuggling up and reading a book, talking to family and friends. It’s all the insignificant things we often overlook, the insignificant things that make us happy.

Instead of succumbing to the winter blues this term, I’m going to try to apply hygge to my everyday life, and make even the most mundane events special.