Although I grew up American, my life has always had a touch of Danish in it.
My great-grandmother immigrated to the United States from Denmark in 1914, through Ellis Island. Although I never knew her, she left an imprint of Danish tradition on my mom and my aunts, that they have passed on to me, my sister and my cousins.
It’s impossible to visit my relatives without the mention (or the making of) abelskiver (Danish apple pancakes) or to get through Christmas without overeating butter cookies. Some years as a kid, we even adorned our Christmas tree with strings of tiny Danish flags.
A few years ago, my mom came home from visiting our extended family in Denmark. She began describing an idea she came across during her visit—the concept of hygge.
Hygge (pronounced “hoo-guh”) is best translated in English as “cozy,” but to be honest, that doesn’t really cut it; that would be like saying the word “beautiful” means “sorta cute.”
Hygge is a lifestyle– a way of living life in such a way that little pleasures are woven into the fabric of daily practices. It focuses on incorporating soft lighting, pleasing fabrics, gentle scents and general loveliness into daily life.
Before I’d ever heard of hygge, I’d already established fixed “cozy” things in every area of my life; I have my special “cozy socks”, my extra soft “cozy blanket” and my “cozy pajamas”– to name a few.
Who knew this “cozy” gene was in my DNA?
In the past few years, you may have noticed that the concept of hygge has been written about on the front page of about every lifestyle magazine in America and even made its way to The New Yorker; it’s become quite a phenomenon.
Not surprisingly, I’m eating it up.
I decided that in addition to my normal “cozy” rituals of the day, I want to be a bit more intentional about adding hygge to my day, which is why I created my “hygge tray”– an idea that I read about in one of the countless hygge articles I’ve come across this past year.
I’ve carefully chosen each item to place on my tray:
A simple but elegant bud vase with a heavenly bamboo stem inside, a glass timer with black and white sand, a white and gold tea pot/cup combo for one, a golden trivet, a hexagonal golden candle holder, a miniature succulent plant and rose and mint colored bowls– for daily chocolate, treats or fruit.
My “hygge tray” has started to become part of my daily joy ritual. I pull it out at nap time and after my toddler’s bedtime, to practice the beautiful art of hygge!
Here’s my tray!
Perhaps you will join me in the art of hygge too?