Hygge definition on Hygge House

Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special.

Hygge (or to be “hyggeligt”) doesn’t require learning “how-to”, adopting it as a lifestyle or buying anything. It’s not a thing and anyone telling you different either doesn’t understand it or is literally trying to sell you something that has nothing to do with the concept. You can’t buy a ‘hygge living room’ and there are no ‘hygge foods’ to eat.

What Is The Meaning Of Hygge?

Hygge Definition and meaning

It literally only requires consciousness, a certain slowness, and the ability to not just be present – but recognize and enjoy the present. That’s why so many people distill ‘hygge’ down to being a ‘feeling’ – because if you don’t feel hygge, you probably aren’t using the word right.

Another definition of hygge is “an art of creating intimacy” (either with yourself, friends and your home). While there’s no one English word or simple definition to describe hygge, several can be used interchangeably to describe the idea of hygge such as cosiness, charm, happiness, ‘contentness’, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness.

Danes created hygge because they were trying to survive boredom, cold, dark and sameness. The undefinable feeling of hygge was a way for them to find moments to celebrate, acknowledge and break up the mundane or harsh. With so many cold, dark, days, the simple act of lighting a candle and enjoying a cup of coffee could make a huge difference to one’s spirit.

By creating simple rituals without effort {such as brewing real tea with a little china cup every evening to stopping at the flower shop every week} the Danes see both the domestic and personal life as an art form and not every drudgery to get away from. They incorporate hygge into their daily life, so it becomes a natural extension rather than a forced and stressful event.

Whether it’s making coffee a verb by creating a ritual of making it every morning to a cosy evening in with friends where you’re just enjoying each other’s company to the simple act of lighting a candle with every meal, hygge is just about being aware of a good moment. Hygge is simple, it’s just the awareness of it that can seem hard to an outsider.

What is Hygge House?

HyggeHouse.com was created in 2004 as a way for Alex to connect back to her Danish roots because truthfully, she considered herself more French in style, culture and decor.

But in returning to Denmark as an adult, she realised that the concept of ‘hygge’ had been missing from her life and seemed totally absent in America where she had immigrated to.

So she created this site to bring more awareness of the concept of hygge by sharing stories and ideas to make the ordinary day, extraordinary through recognizing simple moments and trying to have a slow lifestyle in a busy world. It’s more memoir and personal stories than how-to or design-inspo.

Hygge House is a true passion project which means there are no sponsored posts or advertising. Because hygge isn’t about selling and buying, it’s about living.

Meet Alex

She grew up on a farm in a small town to a Danish mother and French father who were as creative as they were practical. Her clothes were hand made, toys were built out of wood, vegetables were grown in the yard not because it was hip but because that’s just what one did (or could afford). Life was simple, spent mostly outdoors, with weekends made for brunching with an eclectic group of friends and always without TV but lots of stories or music from the radio.

She was a tomboy who loved pretty things. She fished in dresses, played sports in skirts, built physical forts with hammers and nails then decorated with paint and linens. She even helped her parents renovate houses as young as six. She learned about life from constant family travels but also through books. As an avid reader, she grew up with the ideals, hopefulness, and curiosity set by Anne Shirley, Laura Ingalls, Tom Sawyer, Pollyanna, Pippi Longstocking, and Juana Maria.

At age 13, she became a bonafide geek, learning code on the first Apple II and eventually creating one of the first personal websites on the internet and some of the earliest community sites including Another Girl at Play and Girl’s Guide to City Life. As a grown-up, she’s helped build brands through creative, community and content for companies like Anthropologie, Hulu, Airbnb, and Disney. She often jokes that she’s an Amish girl living in a tech world. She couldn’t live without all the digital nor could she live without unplugged moments or days.

A true vagabond, Alex left home at 18 to travel the world and has lived in New Zealand, France, Canada, UK, Ireland, and Singapore before immigrating to America in the early 2000s.

After years of city living, she finally moved back to her rural roots, into a 1925 hunting lodge on an acre of land with a chicken coop. This home is featured in the book “Hygge & West Home: Design for a Cozy Life.

Alex lives with her little terrier-mix mutt rescue dog, Scout, who is charming, ornery and incredibly curious.

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