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The Art of Hyggelig

003aPhoto by Eva, 2015

As Autumn’s leaves settle down on us, we tend to stay indoors more.  We search to bring more comfort into our daily lives with warm colors in our homes and clothing, warm food and drinks and lights  being turned on earlier in the afternoon.

The Danish language has a word that covers it all and more…Hyggelig.  The English/Danish dictionary I have states that the meaning is simply “cosy, enjoyable, homely”  But Huggelig encompasses so much more.

Just imagine…it’s dark and cold outside already and you step into your home.  Coffee is brewing, the table is set with a cloth tablecloth, baked goods just out of the oven, candles on the table, soft music and a fire in the woodstove.  Your heart and soul absolutely swells at this point.  This isn’t just “cosy”…this is over the top cosy…this is “hyggelig”!

We aren’t talking a romantic dinner for two kind of situation…in most cases, that’s not our idea of cosy…it’s more in the “romantic” frame of mind and soul.

It takes practice to make your home “hyggelig”.  It’s the small added touches in life…maybe real cloth placemats or tablecloths in rich homey colors, napkins, candles, music instead of the tv, softer lighting, etc.  Even breakfast by yourself can be hyggelig.  I take a tray, make my soft boiled egg and toast with my coffee.  A jar candle and Zowie, Kitty and I have a quiet 15-30 minutes before I have to start my day.  It’s a state of mind that stays with you all day.

At night after dinner, sitting down with my cup of coffee or Earl Gray tea and a cookie or two(or three), the candle burning, possibly the woodstove at this point, it softens the end of the day.

Hyggelig covers all of your senses…you feel comfort deep in your soul.  I always know that if I give a deep sigh, it has touched my soul.

I know many people’s homes have a huggelig feeling over the Christmas season but they aren’t able to sustain it the rest of the year.  Maybe that’s why so many people love the Christmas decorating so much…for that huggelig feeling.  I have been guilty as everyone else…letting the speed of life take away my peace of mind and soul.  As I get older, I realize it’s a necessary part of my daily life…to internalize the bits and pieces of huggelig.

I’ve started small…instead of not eating breakfast most mornings, I know make my tray…sometimes a soft boiled egg and toast, sometimes oatmeal with applesauce on top.  I then light a small jar candle I have and sit in my comfortable chair and eat with Zowie and Kitty close to me.  I do the same ritual at night…peach and quiet, a cup of coffee or Earl Gray tea and the candle.

I grew up on hyggelig but after my parents both passed, the only time I’ve had hyggelig has been at Christmas and I didn’t know what was missing…I’ve realized just recently that I need it each and every day.

til next time…Eva