What Is Hygge?

Most people have seen it, few people can pronounce it. So what, exactly, is this winter-time theme that everyone keeps creating Pinterest boards for? Spoiler alert – it’s not actually something that you can buy.


Pronounced “hue-guh”, Hygge is a Danish word that is defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being”. It’s the epitome of relaxed warmth and happiness… not a pair of fuzzy socks or an overpriced blanket. Some people have likened it to the feeling you get while drinking a warm cup of coffee on a quiet morning, or the cozy happiness of being snuggled under a blanket by the fire on a cold night. Maybe for others, it’s the feeling of being surrounded by close friends or family. It could really be different for everyone… the point is, it’s a feeling, not a thing.


Like many other things in our modern world, Hygge has been adopted by marketing agencies tasked with “selling a feeling”. We’re all familiar with how advertising works: “this alcoholic beverage will ensure you have fun” or “this car gives you a higher social standing”. Psychologically adept marketing executives have successfully paired material things with the feeling of Hygge. Cozy blankets, soft clothing, scented candles, and homey decor are all meant to invoke this feeling in consumers. It seems to be working for a lot of them, since Hygge is quite the craze. However, just like $200 pairs of yoga pants completely miss the point of yoga, buying material things to feel Hygge is just unnecessary. Hygge is completely free.


Again, Hygge is not a thing, it’s a feeling. It will vary for each person who wants to experience it, but for some people the cozy blankets, candles, and fluffy slippers might do it. People certainly do like to be comfortable in their homes, and during our cold winter months those cozy blankets and fluffy slippers can come in handy. If surrounding yourself with those things and burning some scented candles puts you into that ultimate state of comfort, relaxation, and happiness, then go for it. Just don’t think that you have to have those things in order to experience Hygge. The things you already have in your home probably bring you some sort of happiness, and there’s much more to happiness than material things. Whether it’s a good book, spending time with family and friends, or just cuddling with your pet, Hygge can be found by anyone without having to completely redecorate your home or spend a single penny.