The other day I was sitting on my couch feeling the annual onset of the winter blues. There are times I don’t mind bundling up and braving the snow (it’s part of being a Chicagoan) and there are times I simply do not feel like subjecting my body to temperatures colder than the surface of Mars. When I pulled up an article claiming I could get through the winter by applying a Danish cultural norm to my blistery Illinois life, I was intrigued.

Enter: Hygge.

Fun word, right? Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) has no direct translation from Danish to English, which is absolutely fascinating. It is almost impossible to entirely explain this Danish word using only English words, but many have tried.

Loosely translated, hygge means “togetherness,” and “coziness,” and a whole bunch of other words that instantly make you feel warm and fuzzy. It’s that feeling you get when the holidays put you in the best mood ever. When even the snow is a welcome treat. The Danes have basically bottled this wonderful feeling you get when you’re just enjoying the season.

Hygge is curling up with a good book. Hygge is going to dinner with your best friends, enjoying pretty candlelight glow, and playing with your dog in the snow. Are you getting the idea? Naturally, hygge’s high season is Christmas, but the Danes practice hygge year round. Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world despite their long, dark winters. I think they know what they’re talking about.

I decided to test this concept, so last night I made soup, curled up on the couch to watch The Bachelor and tried my very best to channel the Danes. And you know what? I think it worked! Bring it on, winter!

If you’re interested (I was!) here are six other cultural concepts we don’t have in the US but would definitely benefit from.


Source: Tumblr

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