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Hygge. You may not know this Danish term, but you know the feeling: comfy, cozy, and perfectly content. Pronounced “hoo-guh,” hygge can be used as a noun, adjective, or verb, but for the Danes, it’s more than a word; it’s a way of life—and quite possibly the reason they’re consistently named the happiest people in the world.
Though hygge can happen anywhere, at any time, winter—with its long dark nights and crackling fires—is most certainly hygge’s high season. To prepare, we asked Alexandra Gove, creator of the Avon boutique and online shop Hygge Life, to share how she gets hygge at home—and how we can too.
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What is it about hygge that resonates with you?
When I discovered hygge in Copenhagen in 2013, it gave me a word to describe—and do justice to—so many cozy places and moments that I love and treasure. Many people who I meet express the same thing: Hygge is this feeling that we have all experienced, but we’ve just never had a word to describe it. Adding “hygge” to our vocabulary helps us appreciate those special moments and feelings even more—and gives us an opportunity to consciously create more of these moments in our lives. That’s how Hygge Life started: It was an opportunity to help others slow down to create and appreciate life’s most treasured moments.
What does hygge feel like to you?
Hygge can be present in so many different situations and can look and feel different for everyone. I find hygge in moments when I am completely comfortable and content with myself, the atmosphere, and the loved ones surrounding me. I find hygge at home with my husband in the evenings, sitting in a beautiful cafe with a friend and a warm cup of coffee, or enjoying a meal and wine with my family or closest friends.
How can we make our homes more hygge?
It’s not about decorating to perfection or spending lots of money. It’s about surrounding yourself with things you love and making your space completely yours. Think about the daily rituals or moments that you treasure—making your first cup of coffee in the morning, having dinner with your family, or snuggling up with a good book in the evening—and keep them in mind while you’re decorating your space.
If you are an early riser and mornings are your favorite part of the day, then make sure your home caters to your morning routine. Place a candle by your coffee machine, pick out the spot in your house with the best morning light or view, and make that your morning nook where you enjoy your coffee and check your email.
If having dinner with your family is an important part of the day for everyone to come together and connect, then splurge on a comfortable dinner table and chairs that everyone enjoys sitting around for an hour or two each evening.
What items from the Hygge Life shop do you love for winter?
What item in your home most represents hygge to you?
We have candles and candleholders scattered throughout our home: a petite Breakfast Candle on a small, blue-and-white antique dish beside our coffee machine, a collection of pillar candles on the mantel, an antique brass candleholder (passed down to me by my grandmother) in the middle of our dining table, and a soothing scented candle on my bedside table. Whenever I light these candles, it marks the beginning of a new moment and a time to slow down and focus on whatever is happening at that particular moment.
Describe your most hygge memory.
One of my most hygge moments was my wedding day this past July. We were surrounded by all of our loved ones in a beautiful, sunny, mountaintop setting, and enjoying the surroundings, good food, drinks, music, and each other. It was absolutely perfect—a very hygge wedding.