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How to Hygge, a Cozy Concept Made in Denmark

Meet Mette and Mette.

Mette Dahm and Mette Wismann, collectively known as the Viking Moms, are the Danish co-authors of a soon-to-be launched parenting book, Become a Viking Mom! Providing an insightful look into how parents can cultivate a personal happiness that will radiate in their family home, the book has a lot of healthy practices that can also be applied by those of us who are single and childfree. Take, for example, the Danish concept of hygge. Denmark is home to this unique word that, despite having no direct translation, has charmed the world over in recent years.

Meaning something similar to ‘cozy,’ creating opportunities for snuggling, and proclaiming comfy clothes to be nearly obligatory, we’ve been sold on this Danish concept since we first heard of it. And we wouldn’t doubt there being a correlation between this word’s continued integration in Danish culture and the fact that the Scandinavian country has rivaled Disneyland as the happiest place on earth for the past few decades. In fact, research shows that having close relationships with your friends and family is the number one predictor of being happy. And that is exactly what hygge is about.

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The two authors are spreading their knowledge about motherhood, an experience deeply impacted by their culture.

Go ahead and throw on your favorite handknit sweater and grab a mug of something warm. We’ll be waiting here with some tips from the co-authors about getting hygge with it this season and beyond…

In your book, Become a Viking Mom!, the concept of hygge is applied to family life, and is described as ‘being together with people we love.’ Can a hygge moment be enjoyed alone? How is it different?

Yes indeed, you can hygge all alone. It’s about creating an atmosphere of safety and coziness. And also a time to relax and gain new energy. If you spend time alone maybe you can make yourself a cup of tea, sit in your favorite place, maybe read a book or listen to music and allow yourself just to be and enjoy the moment.

Your book also takes about ‘eating with love’ and other practices that go into hygge. What are  the benefits of actually incorporating this concept into our lifestyle?

Hygge provides a quiet moment in your busy everyday life. When you practice it on a daily basis it will reduce stress. And when you hygge with friends and family it will give you a strong feeling of connection and that way it reduces loneliness and also the level of depression. Practiced from a young age, hygge also teaches young children that they are important and loved, in turn making them value close relationships in their life.

Is hygge becoming any less or more popular with younger generations? Do you feel like the modern Danish lifestyle has less time for a hygge moment, or do people still value that special moment?

Hygge is loved by all generations, and something we’re all brought up with. But hygge has some enemies – the busy lifestyle and the increasing use of screens. Hygge takes time and you need to be present – two things the busy lifestyle and screen time don’t come with. As Viking Moms, we think that hygge is more important than ever in contrast to the digitized world.  

 

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How do you make a comfy and happy atmosphere? This is one idea…

With all the talk about creating warm and cozy moments, hygge seems like more of a winter activity. How is it experienced differently throughout the year?

Hygge is often associated with winter accessories like woolen socks and fireplaces, but the truth is that we hygge all year round. In the summertime we invite friends over for a picnic, serve homemade food and do all we can to create a warm atmosphere – and that’s really hyggeligt! During autumn in Denmark it begins to get dark in the afternoon and we hygge more and more inside, light candles and decorate our homes with warm lightens and lot of woolen blankets.

What three accessories do you absolutely need to create the perfect hygge atmosphere?

[Mette Dahm] Personally, my number one favorite hygge accessory is candle light. I have a crazy amount of them – I even light them in the bathroom. The second accessory would definitely be my fireplace. It becomes the heart of the house and instantly draws people to gather around. Strings of light are my third go-to. I decorate my living room with them and sometimes it’s the only light we use! It really helps to create the hygge atmosphere.

[Mette Wismann] Woolen blankets are my absolute favorite hygge accessory. I love to snuggle under a woolen blanket with my children reading a book. It creates a warm and safe feeling, almost like a nest. Another personal must-have are homemade Danish cookies. My children love to bake and it’s always hygge when we gather on the sofa eating cookies. Last but not least, I just love to put on warm and comfy clothes. Feeling comfortable and not focusing on how I look is the cornerstone of feeling good and of hygge.

Want more? Connect with the Viking Moms here.

Need a few accessories to help you hygge just right this season? Take a look here.

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