We Wish You a Hygge Christmas!
From Brexit to the shock US elections, from austerity cuts to rising Marmite prices, there’s no denying that this has been a testing year for all of us. So if you’ve spent the last twelve months rushing around in a cloud of hurry and worry, then perhaps its time to treat yourself to a little hygge.
What is hygge?
Hygge, pronounced as if you’re clearing your throat, ‘hue-gah’, is a Danish concept of self-care and laid-back living that we uptight Brits struggle to directly translate. It’s a mixture of cosiness and comraderie, slowing down and appreciating the moment. It’s the glow of a real fire, the warmth of your duvet on a cold morning. It is sharing a meal with friends, which lasts long into the night after the dishes have been cleared. It is your favourite baggy wooly jumper that your partner can’t stand; those old jeans that you just can’t bear to throw away because they are so damn comfortable and familiar.
But then perhaps looking for a literal translation is missing the point. They say that hygge is a feeling not a word. Hygge is a state of mind, a peaceful soul.
Where does hygge come from?
If you’ve ever watched those gritty Scandinavian thrillers, you’ll know how grim and grey Denmark can be. Danish winters are long, bitterly cold and dark – what we in the UK would call miserable. You’d expect the country to be as full of moaners as anywhere, even Britain. Yet despite their weather, or perhaps because of it, the Danes are ranked amongst the happiest people in the world.
They have learned the joys of the warm glow of candlelight, the pleasure of good friends and good food, and the calmness that comes from just slowing down and appreciating the now. This is a country that even has its own Happiness Research Institute, based in Copenhagen.
The closest we come to the feeling of hygge in the UK is the warm feelings we associate with Christmas. Not the crass commercial kind that maxes out your credit card, but the rich Dickensian images of roaring fires and roasting chestnuts, family gatherings and goodwill to all men.
Hygge is about experiences rather than ‘stuff’ and it gives us great perspective that helps us to appreciate the difference. As Dr Seus’s character, The Grinch came to realise, ‘Christmas perhaps doesn’t come from a store, Christmas, he thought, means a little bit more.’
How to be hygge
Helen Russell thoroughly explored the idea of hygge in her best selling book, The Year of Living Danishly. “The rest of the world seems to be slowly waking up to what Danes have been wise to for generations,” she says. And slowly is perhaps the perfect way of doing it. Hygge is all about slowing down and taking some time for you and your friends. As Helen explains “Having a relaxed, cosy time with friends and family, often with coffee, cake or beer, can be good for the soul".
Hygge can be as simple as serving your coffee in your favourite mug, with a home made cookie, and sitting in your favourite chair with a view out of the window. It can be as easy as lighting a few candles to place around the edge of your bath, and adding some fragrant bath salts or muscle soothing minerals.
Here at Kennedy’s, we completely understand the concept of hygge, because it is the philosophy behind everything we do. Our hand made chocolates need the pause of hygge to be truly appreciated. Our boxes are at their best when they are shared, in a hygge way, with good friends and great conversation.
That’s because they are created with hygge. We take the time to make mouthwatering recipes, and craft them with love and pride in what we do. For us, it’s not about mass production and profit; it’s about taste and texture. Our chocolates are designed to create special, hygge moments for each and every one of our customers.
As Helen Russell says, “Hygge seems to be about being kind to yourself - indulging, having a nice time.” So indulge yourself this festive season with Kennedy’s hand made chocolates and have a very hygge Christmas.