This word has been popping up in various articles that I have read this year. So I decided to dig in a little and learn about Hygge (pronounced HOO-GA). It’s a Danish word which loosely translates as a feeling, a sense of comfort, togetherness, and well-being. According to Meik Wiking, in his book titled “The Little Book of Hygge”, you know hygge when you feel it.” Meik says “Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down. You may be having an endless conversation about the small or big things in life – or just be comfortable in each other’s silent company – or simply just be by yourself enjoying a cup of tea.”
While doing my curious research, a thought started to emerge in my mind. A smile started to cross my face. “Hmmmm”, I thought, “I feel that we have hygge at WinterGreen.”
Often times, people that I give tours to will tell me that it feels comfortable, warm and inviting here. Hygge (Hoo-ga!)
In our apartments, residents will often set up the area in their bay windows as a “nook” that they can sit in, reflect, observe life/nature outside, wrap up in a blanket with a book (from our library of course) and simply sip a beverage of their choice. It’s a comfy space. Hyggekrog (Hoogacrow).
Candles. According to the book, this is like the top of the hygge list. It says “No candles, no hygge.” Now, we don’t encourage real candles at WinterGreen. Battery ones are fine, however. We do have little white twinkle lights in the atrium. Warmth, coziness, hominess. Hygge (Hoo-ga). Who knows, maybe I’ll put a candle on my desk this winter. Battery operated, of course.
Games. That’s hygge? Yes. Our residents enjoy a varied list of games that are played during the week. From cards to board games to BINGO. Socialization. Bonds are created. Camaraderie. The comfortable feeling that you are getting to know the person sitting next to you.
A fireplace. Our Atrium has a two sided one. Some apartments have them. The fireplace is somewhere we can sit and rest by ourselves or visit with friends and experience feelings of coziness and warmth. As I’m writing this, people are sitting by the fireplace. It’s not even on. There’s just hygge going on out there!
Potlucks. Our residents enjoy the special potluck suppers they organize. According to my research “When everybody shares, everybody gets hygge.”
Books. Our library is full of books that have been donated over the years by many generous donors. Residents can cuddle up in their hyggekrogs (nooks/bay windows) and enjoy a good read.
Casualness. According to my research “Most hyggelige moments seem to be built on a foundation of casualness. In order for you and your guests to be able to hygge, you need to feel relaxed. There is no need to make things formal. Come as you are and be as you are.” I believe that our residents enjoy a casual atmosphere and a casual dress code. Drop-in morning coffee times, happy hours, movie nights. All are simple, casual times that residents can enjoy together.
Cake. Cake? Cake! Hygge. Often times, someone will bring a homemade (or store-bought) sweet treat to share at drop-in morning coffee time. According to my research “Hygge is about being kind to yourself – giving yourself a treat” now and then. Well then….bring on the cake! Just shut your eyes and think of that first bite of sweetness and the feeling that you get. Awwwww…..hygge. (Good thing we have FREE memberships to the Red Oak Center for Wellness, on our campus, so that we can run off the good hygge cake calories!)
I could go on and on, but I think that you get the feeling. Labor Day is coming soon. Some say it’s the start of the “Fall Season.” It’s a great time to introduce hygge into your life, if you don’t already have some. I bet you already do, though. You just didn’t know what that feeling was called. When asked how to spell a certain emotion, Winnie-the-Pooh said “You don’t spell it, you feel it.”
If you haven’t done so already, give us a call and come by to visit WinterGreen, or any place else on our campus here in Hudson and Osceola, this fall. We’d love to meet you and share some more examples of our hygge.
Meik also shared in his book, “Hygge may help us to be grateful for the everyday because it is all about savoring simple pleasures.” From all of us here at Christian Community Homes and Services, have a simple, safe and relaxing Labor Day weekend.