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Hygge Life, The Ultimate Lifestyle of Coziness

Black and white bookcover of The Hygge Life

The ultimate guide to the hygge lifestyle: The Hygge Life | Embracing the Nordic Art of Coziness, by Authors Gunnar Karl Gíslason and Jody Eddy

Hygge: ˈh(y)o͞oɡə,ˈho͝oɡə/


  1. a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or wellbeing (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)

The Danes founded the Hygge life movement

Leave it to the Danes to package my every day, lived experience as an art form.

Apparently unsatisfied with their high quality of living, happy population, free education, modern furniture and work-life balance, they founded a stylistic movement that makes something like doing nothing look aspirational. And even more significant, they truncated such a definition to include that sneering bit about “wellbeing.”

I have been doing nothing forever. Since long before I had even heard of Denmark. But what makes them so much better at it? The main difference is, I suppose, that I feel bad about it.

This, of course, stems from the aesthetic. Hygge within Danish culture is dependent on the look as much as the feel. In a way, it’s kind of like making the bombshell heroine in a romantic comedy a klutz. Although she is perfect in every way, the screenwriter gives her a fault. An adorable fault that in no way impedes her ability to look hot. That is what I equate Danish people and their hygge to. They took what the rest of the world calls “laziness” and spun it into an endearing quality. Something to strive for.

Yearning for Hygge life

Why does a Danish person do Hygge better? Why do we envy and hanker after this particular feeling? Is it because they are generally eight feet tall with icy-blue eyes and 8 per cent body fat? Yes. Is it because, when you observe them in their Nordic chalet under a pile of woven blankets, the tinder burning brightly in their HETA wood stoves, that you wish to be them? Also, yes.

Neither affirmative would be said if you were to observe me. In the sweatpants  I’ve worn near exclusively for the past 10 months, under a pile of fleece blankets smeared with remnants of both cheese dust and crusted jam.

I don’t begrudge it, though. The only problem I have is that I want to be them. I want to hygge with the best of them.

And so, since I have felt the impulse to better myself, the subsequent symptom of which is that I must now advise you. Follow these tips and tricks to transform your simple, slovenly weekend of doing nothing into heavenly hygge.

The Hygge life, part of a woman's body showing a pink sweater and a hand holding a cup of coffee
Hygge is a feeling of contentment and wellbeing

Less is more

Because they lean more towards the minimalist scale of things, Danish hygge has a crisp serenity to it. Their coziness is uncluttered from the extra or unnecessary. If you don’t want to (or are too lazy to) get rid of your many acquired possessions, a good shortcut is to observe the bleakness of your own life. Yes, even for just a brief moment, look introspectively into the dismal, desolate state of your life (be it personal, professional or both!) and notice how it’s practically the same as observing a minimally decorated Danish home.

Bring nature in

Danish people use all sorts of elements to make them feel connected to nature. Materials like wood, stone and even house plants make them feel more balanced as they live the hygge life. And if that isn’t an excuse to let that feral cat into the house, then I don’t know what is. So what if it has one ear and paws like razors? You love that little, bedraggled child of nature with all your might.

Treat yourself

An element of hygge culture is to enjoy yourself. Indulge a little. Bake something fresh and delicious for you to consume. Well, I say go one step further while cutting out the middleman. The universe didn’t put you into existence at the same time as cinnamon bun Oreos for you to half-bake some glob. And the genius product engineers didn’t make the easy-to-open panel so you could eat just ONE cookie. Eat the entire bag.

With tips like these, the hygge life is well within reach, don’t you think?

Home baked cookies on a checkered brown and white cloth, the Hygge life
The Hygge life includes baking and enjoying delicious food
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The Author
Daniel Dalman is a writer and avid Instagram-er living in Saskatoon. He can often be found enjoying a glass of wine, dining out, and taking a spin class — although he rarely does all three at the same time.

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