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Photo Doris Oberfrank-List

If you saw people chatting, smiling, perhaps even laughing, visibly enjoying each other's company, what would you call the scene?

Enjoying the moment? Being together? Chilling out together? Well, in Denmark, we've given a name to this atmosphere of well-being.

You could say that it's at the opposite of what our ancestors, the Vikings, are known for because it's more a question of being than of doing. It's a state of being connected, at peace with the world and enjoying the moment. The word "hygge" sums this up.

"Hygge" is in fact a state of being where doing is less important than just being and in an increasingly stressful world where a lot of people get into a feeling of overwhelm, the Danes cultivate "hygge". The Danes also describe themselves as being happy! And a lot of things have been said on this account. Danes cumtivate the little things and as you'll see, "hygge" is not about great emotions and passions. This is all very Latin and would take up too much energy of the average Dane. He values his comfort, being part of a whole, that is his community, I think it really comes from the ability to get the best out of a bad situation because when you look at it, Denmark is often shrouded in fog; the weather is grey, windy, stormy, sleety or snowy and this is the incubator for "hygge".

"Hygge" thrives in the hours between dusk and dawn. And these are very long in the winter time in Scandinavia!

So what are the elements of "hygge"? As I said, it's about a state of being where there's no other purpose than well-being. Food and drink are optional elements but a real Dane will always pay attention the surroundings. Maybe you know of some famous Danish designers? They've cultivated the art of bringing beauty and functionality into even the most basic of everyday equipment such as cutlery, crockery or toothbrushes. We just enjoy using beautiful objects and don't see why we shouldn't surround ourselves with them.

So in the days leading up to this the most "hyggelige" of all feasts, Christmas, I'd just like to share some of the thoughts about "hygge" that I'm entertaining and also share with you some tips on how to bring "hygge" into your holidays. You can keep your eye on this spot if you want to try out some "hygge"-building activities and perhaps approach the holidays from a different and "hyggeligere" angle than the one you're used to.

Don't forget that I'd love to hear from you so if you've got any comments, suggestions or questions, don't hesitate to drop me a line at

Katrine Horn

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