Hygge and Home

Hygge and Home. Kindness in uncertain times

Hygge and Home

This weekend has been tragic and difficult to understand. I’ve not wanted to watch the news but felt that I should, that I should know what happened in Paris. To try to understand the implications, possible repercussions. I wondered how much I should share with an impressionable 7 year old. I’ve imagined and feared.

A friend shared a link from Wikipedia a grim list of terrorist atrocities committed this year alone, many in places of less interest to European media and to be honest, many of those terrible events had passed me by, other lives of other ordinary people.

Over the last week I’ve been thinking about how little I like winter, the big tree at the end of the road by the church is stripped of leaves. That seems trivial now.  What mattered on Friday morning, my grumbles; the cold more snapping, howling wind chasing down the chimney. Then Friday evening came and perspectives changed. The world outside is seemed more grim and foreboding, for different reasons, these more amplified. My priority is not getting through winter, but keeping precious people close. I want to retreat from the world, protect my son and those close to me.

What can we do; educate our children in kindness and empathy. Understand and tolerate more, judge less. It’s difficult not to feel mute and helpless. I think it’s the small things, more kindness, for others and ourselves in times of uncertainty and horror.

Over the last week, I’ve been reading about Danish ‘hygge’, the exact meaning is difficult; creating cosiness sums it up, warm and snug. But it is also about being kind to yourself and others, which is what cosiness is also; intimate and friendly.  Making living spaces cosy; open fires, candlelight, blankets. More than that; eating homemade bakes, sharing food with friends, winter walks in nature. It really appeals to me. I’d bookmarked hygge in my mind after I’d seen it mentioned here last winter. I liked the idea and of trying to love winter more, see it as something to revel in rather than something to get through and last week I returned to the idea, finding articles on-line. I dug out some candles, there is ritual, remembrance and meaning associated with candles, it seemed appropriate to be lighting candles this weekend.

There is something slow and thoughtful in lighting a candle. I had an email from a lovely friend, saying she’d found contentment in slowing things down. Slow living. I think, winter is a good time to slow down, to make the home a place of retreat and solace, a personal place, somewhere to bear witness and wish for better things, a place to pause for though, send out some hope and love, to seek sanctuary.

I’m creating my personal hygge. I’m making my own small resolutions, for friends, family and beyond. In my own frivolous hygge I’m onboard with wooly jumpers and thick, soft socks. I’m extending it to hot water bottles, which I think are very hygge, chamomile tea, chocolate biscuits, fairy lights. What Nigella calls ‘bowl food’ food that can be eaten from bowls on the the sofa, slow cooked fragrant curries and spicy soups. I need some escapism and I’m revisiting A Touch of Mink (Doris Day film) and The Young Victoria on Netflix. I think that’s OK, self kindness.

Retreating a little from the world, but doing small things to extend a some kindness. Appreciating the good things, that I have a home and the family and things within it. I am very blessed.

Hygge and Home

Home Hygge


  1. Annie

    Such news to take in. I don’t watch the news as a rule but have been following a little. One of the things about social media that I dislike is the way it seems to amplify and escalate emotions and it’s easy to become over-involved (I hope that doesn’t sound heartless).  Kitty watched a news special about it last night and for me that’s the best explanation, for her to watch and process. Very hard for all. X

    1. helloitsgemma

      I don’t think that sounds heartless, social media has the power to give real time coverage, as does mobile phone footage, which makes it all the more detailed and personal. It also allows people to a voice which can be used both negatively and positively.
      We’ve been watching Newsround, provides excellent coverage for children.

  2. Claire

    Events recently have been shocking and upsetting.  It’s so hard to process and I can’t think what I’m trying to say (not very good when I’m trying to write a comment sorry!).

    I love the concept of hygge.  I remember learning about it in school and the closest word I could relate to it at the time was cwtch,  The fact that we didn’t have an exact translation always made me feel that it was quite illusive but I always strive to create it too.  I think for me it was once I had a nursing baby at home and a real cosy family moment, it was hygge.  I love your idea of hygge and am a fan of Doris Day films too.  I won’t rest until my kids have seen them all, just as my grandparents and mum passed them onto me too. xxx

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  4. Emma

    A sad and frightening time indeed.   I love the concept of Hygge, and was lucky to experience it on many an occasion in Scandinavia.    Even now, my Danish friends here will describe a get together, or a meal together as cosy, and I know what they are referring to.  It’s definitely more of a feeling than an act.  As for what we can do now.  More kindness and tolerance sound good to me… 

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