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Getting Hygge with it

Na-na-nana-na-na-na – do you have a mid-90s pop song stuck in your head now? Well, as tempting as it is so rhyme “hygge” with “jiggy”, the Danish coziness phenomenon is actually pronounced “hoo-guh”. But do you know what it is and why it’s suddenly everywhere?

Imagine yourself in a cabin, sitting in front of a crackling wood stove. The wind howls and it’s pitch black outside, even though it’s just four in the afternoon. This is winter in Scandinavia - or Maine, for that matter, where Giesswein USA is based. Winter is long, hard, and forces the focus on the inside rather than on public spaces. So shouldn’t that indoor space be an inviting sanctuary?

You may have heard of hygge as being a trend focused on candles and fluffy blankets, but Hygge House blog notes that “[s]ome also refer to hygge as an “art of creating intimacy” -either with yourself, friends and your home. While this way of life originated in and is mostly associated with Denmark (often called the happiest country in the world, by the way), it seems that most countries where the home becomes the de facto retreat for a big chunk of the year have a term for this – in German, we call it “Gemütlichkeit”. Sounds complicated, but couldn’t be simpler: Make your home a place for comfort, coziness and simplicity. Leave the distractions, technology, and outdoor shoes at your front door.  As the Danish Tourism Board notes, “there's nothing more hygge than sitting round a table, discussing the big and small things in life.“( We’d just venture a guess that doing so while wearing Giesswein slippers would actually make an already hygge experience exponentially more hygge. But we may be a bit biased.

In the US, hygge goes hand in hand with the “self-care” revolution, which is sweeping social media and covers everything from natural beauty products to coping mechanisms to battle the uncomfortable end of weekend feeling known as the “Sunday Scaries”. One word that keeps popping up in conjunction with hygge is “mindfulness”. Light a candle, prepare a meal, read a book, all with intention and being present while doing so. Allow yourself to slow down and enjoy where you are, no matter how trivial the moment may seem. In an ever more stressful world, hygge encourages us to take control of the unplugging; to focus our attentions back on the simple things and allows us the freedom to do so. We’re not missing out by checking out for a few hours; unwinding is important to help refill our permanently-on-empty physical and mental energy tanks.

So take a nice walk through nature, return home to a warm cup of glogg, eat some museli or bacon (yes, bacon is hygge!), slip into a pair of slippers and ahh…relax!