Have you heard of the Danish concept of hygge? I first read about it a few years ago and was intrigued by the concept. It is:
I was captivated because, looking back, that’s what the majority of my childhood winter evenings felt like. They were special: we took time to be together, to enjoy each other, and to enjoy the moment. That’s largely been lost with the advent of computers, smartphones, and tvs. Yes, we had a television when I was a child, but it wasn’t connected to any outside source – just a vcr player – and family movie night was one of those special times. Over time we got older, we got busy, we became more isolated.
However, there are still times when I feel we recapture hygge. When we slow down and take time to enjoy each other and the time in which we’re living. We stay home from work, move away from our computers, and reconnect. Usually, those times are forced, such as during a blizzard. This spring just provided us with a lovely one: 12+ inches of snow and 50 mile-an-hour winds for 36 hours. We didn’t go anywhere. We built a fire in the fireplace, opened up a puzzle we hadn’t fixed before, and all pitched in to get it done.
We enjoyed a movie night all together. Funny: we had been talking with the kids about the possibility of us losing power from the storm. In the middle of the movie, completely unprompted, my 3-year-old niece turned to her dad and said “but if we have a blackout we don’t have flashlights!” He picked up his phone, shook it, and the flashlight came on. Relieved, she said “oh, you do have a flashlight on your phone!” and turned back to the movie, crisis averted.
We cooked together, played together, got projects done, and sometimes just sat and talked. Once the snow was done falling and blowing we went out and enjoyed it.
Our goal was to build an igloo, as the snow was perfect for packing. But despite our best efforts we only got it 5 rows high before we decided it would be just better as a fort (the walls kept falling over). We did make a massive snowman – as tall as me! Then it was back to the house for hot chocolate 🙂
The roads aren’t quite plowed yet, but they’re passable, so some of us are back to work. I feel hygge is evaporating as fast as the snow is melting and the rush of our lives is upon us again. Feeling hygge intentionally is hard, even though I feel like in rural South Dakota we experience it more often than most other Americans.
Have you experienced hygge? Does it take a blizzard to get you to slow down, or do you work at being intentional about making life cozy, charming, and special?