Hygge or How to Survive Winter, Danish-Style -Jan 30, 2019
This winter seems to have hung around for a long, cold time. I think it can take a toll on even the most enthusiastic winter lover when there is little or no snow and a lot of ice. Cabin fever sets in when there is little to do outside to keep you physically and mentally active. It’s time to take a look around to see how other countries with cold climates make the most of their winters.
Our inspiration for this came from Margrete, the newest Ab Fab team member, who suggested a window themed around the Danish word ‘hygge’ pronounce ‘hew-ga’, which, in its simplest translation, means ‘fun and well-being’, particularly with regards to winter. It is definitely a more layered concept and we began exploring this idea of embracing winter through the products available in our store. Hygge begins with the gathering of family and friends.
Hygge embodies coziness, a willingness to be happy with simple pleasures such as a hot drink or a warm throw. Our window theme grew from the idea that we can create this happiness for ourselves. We could sit in front of a fire (real or not) and read a book. Or invite another couple over for a chocolate fondue one evening, with a board game for entertainment. We could pop some corn, pile blankets and pillows on the floor and have a family movie night. We could host a potluck with the nearest neighbours, just because they are within walking distance. Joining a book or cooking club, or any club, is another opportunity to make some social connections.
When we researched how other wintery counties create social connections, we discovered each has a unique word for this feeling. The German word is ‘gemütlichkeit’, which means conveying a feeling of warmth and friendliness. In Norway, the word is ‘koselig’ and while there is no direct translation, it implies warmth, intimacy and contentment with simple things such as candles, firelight, warm blankets and good company. For the Dutch, the word is ‘gezelligheid’ and it also has no direct English translation. It means a feeling of good times spent with family or friends, or can mean cozy and quaint.
Stripping away the complexities in our lives leaves the simple things to give us pleasure and happiness. For many of us, the simple times include food. As we put our window display together, food was central. We created a smorgasbord of things you could use at a potluck, from soup tureen to casserole dish to raclette. Lots of red things such as oven mitts and cocottes, buffalo plaid runners because this pattern just seems so Canadian, and white added in as it is simple and is best for showing food. Our electric fireplace adds a bit of cheery glow as well.
This winter we suggest you embrace the concept of Hygge and help warm up your own life and that of others around you. Find the positive, keep it simple and enjoy the season. For inspiration, come window shopping!
Did you know? Denmark gets just 7 hours of sunlight per day in the winter (Canada gets 9) yet it ranks first in the World Happiness Report.[i]
Cathy and staff
- Catherine Reid