Home Discover Luxembourg Meredith’s Outtakes: The Art of Hygge

Meredith’s Outtakes: The Art of Hygge

by Meredith Moss

Meredith Moss explores how to live Danishly in Luxembourg.

When I feel blue in Luxembourg, I try to channel my inner Dane. I’ve been to Denmark. The place is cold…even in June, but for some reason, the people are happy. Now, I need some of this Danish happiness to cross a couple of international borders into Alzingen so I’m attempting to change my lifestyle to attain the same level of joyful tranquility as the smiling Danes, who are consistently deemed the happiest people on Earth.

According to my extensive research, which consists of reading half of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking (pronunced ‘Viking’, of course), you can effortlessly introduce the Danish principles of hygge into your daily life. The Danish word “hygge” (you can say it as hue-gə or hoo-gə, by the way) is best described as the feeling of comfort, contentment and coziness. This seems achievable, right?

Something that excites me is ‘hygge bukser’, which translates as comfortable pants so wretched-looking that you will never wear them outside the home for fear of being seen:

 I normally find this sort of contentment in the bottom of a Chateau Lafite Rothschild, but that generally means a sore head rather than comfy pants. Photo: Unsplash/pixabay

While achieving hygge is about changing your atmosphere and vibe rather than consuming alcohol, you are encouraged to surround yourself with the right calming items. Apparently such items can dramatically improve your overall well-being, so I’m reading. Here’s my list of ‘hygge necessities’, known to my husband as ‘Stuff I Need To Buy’.

 

1) Light

Bad lighting is a proven hygge-killer. One of the key ways you can achieve the feeling of total comfort and happiness is by switching to candlelight or lower temperature lamps. I have no idea where to buy those lamps in this country and trust me, I’ve looked, so I’m investing heavily in candles. The average Dane burns around thirteen pounds of candle wax per year, so that’s my new target.

Too many? Photo: CC0 Public Domain/pixabay

Increased candle consumption = Increased happiness: light ‘em up, my friends.

 

2) Tribe

Surrounding yourself with the right people is essential to achieving hygge. I immediately think of something that one of my best friends in England once told me ‘The early part of the year is not easy. It is important to fill your weekends with spending time with friends to get you through the bleak English winter, which lasts until June.’ This is invaluable advice, but in his book, Wiking describes the get-together should be “like a good hug, but without the physical contact.” I’m sorry, this made me laugh out loud. Isn’t one of the requirements of a hug that you touch another human?

I think instead, I will take the time to relish a good conversation and throw in a hug because it will probably come as no surprise that this hugger cannot be tamed. This will be my modified hygge, or hugge, if you will.

 

3) Furniture

So hygge is an internal feeling, but apparently, it is easier to attain when hygge-friendly furnishings surround you in your home. According to my book, ‘The Danes are obsessed with design and have been known to buy goods for their home even before using that money for necessities.’ So once again, I’ve been doing this all wrong.

I told Sweet British Pete: ‘Forget the food for the children, just focus on buying an 18th-century chair!’ SBP objected to this, so I read on and am told that if my current furnishings are not as cozy and hygge-worthy as I’d like, I can layer on as many blankets, cushions, and pillows as I can find. I can totally get behind this as buying pillows is one of my vices.

A nightly conversation with SBP: ‘Why in God’s name do we have ten million pillows on our bed?! It takes me a half hour to get into bed and I didn’t buy a single one of these! And now with the candles? Why are there open flames near all these pillows?!’

I try to explain to SBP that my bed needs to be my sanctuary and now the whole house needs to be this way. He asks if I’ll fall asleep while making dinner if there are big pillows everywhere. And he brings up our toddler, AKA Pyro-boy. Maybe he’s right. Throwing in more cushions and blankets as well as open flames might not be the best idea.

 

The problem with hygge, also known as children

It hits me: Am I trying to achieve something only can exist in Denmark? And without kids?

The thing is this book keeps pushing the idea of slowing down and not rushing. I should be enjoying the coffee I am having rather than thinking about the next thing. I should be calm and induce calm. I don’t think this writer has children. He’s starting to infuriate me. And whilst I’m thinking about it, are we even sure that hygge even directly translates to anything in English? Is this a hipster concept like food-catching long beards and manbuns?

Can’t I just take a shedload of vitamin D and wash it down with a glass of wine while like-minded friends come over and sit under blankets? Not only would it be cheaper, I am rather sure it would feel a little more ‘effortless.’ I would be embracing my true wine-swilling, duvet-snuggling, lets-all-get-together self. And it fits in so well with Luxembourg, the land of crèmant and great friends.

Crèmant with friends is the Luxembourgish Hygge. Note the candles. Photo: Dave Lastovskiy/Unsplash

In conclusion, I have failed to live Danishly, so I’ve decided to live Luxembourgishly. Anyone got a book about that? I promise I will read at least 60% of it.

 

Featured Photo: I’m Priscilla/Unsplash

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2 comments

sarita 31st March 2017 - 8:53 am

I love that you compulsively buy pillows – me too!

Reply
Kate 23rd April 2017 - 9:18 pm

I love your commitment to just over half the book. x

Reply

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