I’ve been told to do this by my Spanish friend, Ana. She told me I have to do it because according to her, no one but a true Valencian can really understand how to make an authentic paella (i.e. no chorizo – cho-ree-thow – no peppers, never put fish and meat together in the same recipe, etc), and therefore, what’s a Jock doing, trying to explain Hygge to British people?
I feel bad now for trying, but everyone should have a little Hygge in their lives, so here goes. And apologies in advance to any Danes who read this and choke on their Carlsberg when I explain it all wrong!
So…first things first – we say Hygge thusly: hue-guh. Hygge is not a thing, it can’t be touched or seen. You can’t buy it from Ikea. It would be incorrect to say a person, thing, or place was ‘very Hygge’. It’s something else entirely.
Hygge is best described as a special moment. A moment of love, a moment of cosiness or pleasure. A sense of comfort, kinship or contentedness. When you wake up in the morning all comfy and warm and remember it’s your turn to stay in bed, you curl up under your quilt and sigh. That’s Hygge. Now you know what we’re talking about!
Now just image you have the concept of Hygge in your awareness, hanging around back there, all ready to appear when you have a lovely moment. It’s such a lovely idea, because it helps to recognise a lovely moment and helps to squeeze all the loveliness out of it, either by yourself or with your partner of your little one.
I really think we parents need this. Seriously. It’s so easy to end up just processing things, people and tasks throughout the day, and who could blame us? It’s so challenging to have children, run a home, have a successful relationship, pay the bills and find time to check if you’re still sane at the end of it. It’s so easy to get into that kind of routine, that way of thinking and being, because it takes so much to make life work.
I want Hygge to be installed in my noodle, so that special little moments don’t pass me by or get ignored. I’d love to be more present when I’m with my children and really enjoy the moment, and not be thinking about what I need to do next.
This is really important, because kids of all ages know when they’re not getting what they want or need. They may not always know consciously, but they’ve undoubtedly, at some point, taken away a feeling that’s the opposite of Hygge. That happens enough times and they begin to get the impression someone’s not interested.
So this is my new mission – Hygge! Not mission impossible I hope. Just a little helper from Denmark in my head, reminding me to say ‘Ah, lovely, this is so nice’ – whenever a little moment comes calling.