Hygge 101: Get cozy with this Danish concept

A cozy windowsill, with a candle and hot chocolate, exemplifies hygge. Alisa Anton/Unsplash

Have you heard of hygge? This Danish concept, pronounced "HYEW-guh," has taken the world by storm.

But what is it? Hygge has no literal English translation, but in spirit it's close to coziness, comfort and togetherness. It's also the Danish secret to surviving and even enjoying the long, cold, dark winters in Denmark. Danes are no stranger to the bleak midwinter; in December, the sun sets at 3 in the afternoon!

But instead of dreading being cooped up during the winter months, Danes look forward to making their living spaces as cozy as possible and enjoying their time indoors. Hygge is about savoring and celebrating the moments and elements in our control; a reframed perspective on being housebound during the coldest months of the year.

The basic elements of hygge are:

Soft lighting

Warm incandescent lighting, such as candles, a fireplace or dimmed light bulbs. Fact: Danes are the top consumers of candles in Europe, burning 13 pounds of candles per person annually. Eco-conscious? Ultra-warm LED Edison bulbs cast a cozy glow with a smaller energy footprint than traditional incandescent bulbs. No fireplace? Try the cult-favorite yule log video Fireplace for Your Home — it's available on Netflix, in both Classic and Birchwood Editions.

Food and drink

Coffee, tea, cocoa — you name it! This is the time to relax with a steaming mug of something delicious. It's never a bad idea to include some treats, as well. 'Tis the season for baking!

Togetherness

One of the key elements of hygge is spending time enjoying the company of friends and family. Talk, play board games or cook a meal. Take some time to unplug from modern life. And never fear, introverts — enjoying your own company is hyggeligt, too! So go ahead and curl up on the couch with your latest read.

Music also can help create a relaxing and cozy environment — whether you're reading a book, enjoying a meal, or lounging on the couch. That's why we've created the Hygge Stream on YourClassical — to help you get into the hygge spirit all winter long.