Light up your life with Hygge

PUBLISHED: 13:57 16 January 2017 | UPDATED: 13:57 16 January 2017

'Hygge', Matthias Buehler, Flickr CC 2.0

'Hygge', Matthias Buehler, Flickr CC 2.0


Cosy nights in with slippers, a roaring fire and crumpets . . . now that’s how to survive winter

When Boxing Day arrived were you poised, ready to pack away the tree and tinsel? Well hold you hard, as my friend and Suffolk raconteur, Charlie Haylock, would say. Have you heard of Hygge? (pronounced Hue-Gah). It’s a Danish word that’s catching on here in the UK. The Danes are said to be some of the happiest people, despite having to survive long, dark, cold winters, and Hygge is the way they cope. I’m not sure we have a word that directly translates, but cosy sort of fits the bill.

When Mark and I visited our eldest son in Copenhagen we loved all the bars and restaurants where we could dive in to escape the cold. They were really snug with glowing fires and some good brews. And that’s what Hygge is all about. So I suggest that some of those white twinkly lights and flickering candles shouldn’t just be for Christmas.

The next three months seem to go on for ever, and spring seems a long way off. The days are grey and the nights are long, so what about some Suffolk Hygge? Perhaps someone can come up with a Suffolk word to fit? I shall keep my candles out and suggest Mark leaves the white twinkly lights on the bush outside. Sadly we don’t have a woodburner in our town house, but we do have a gas fire which looks as though it’s burning coal so that will have to do.

One of Mark’s aspirations is to have a log store built against the side of the house, not because we use wood, but just because they look the part, and it seems he’s not alone. One of the most popular Scandinavian books is not a Stieg Larsson-like thriller, but a book about chopping, stacking, and burning wood. Last year it sold more than 200,000 copies in Norway and Sweden. I’m not so sure about chopping the wood, but I love the end result of a blazing fire.

I know lots of people dread long winter nights, but I actually enjoy getting in from work, putting on my slippers and drawing the curtains. A friend once told me slippers are common, but I think they’re made in heaven and I don’t care what they look like. They’re the epitome of Hygge. They’re also proof that we actually don’t need anyone to tell us how to do cosy through the winter – we already know.

My Facebook friends all have their own favourite winter survival methods. Lisa has a big red fluffy blanket and Angela a big bowl of homemade soup with a wedge of bread. Robin summed his up as a warm house, dogs, good supper, crossword and suduko. Bliss!

Dogs and cats featured lots. Clare’s idea of a perfect winter’s day is a cold afternoon walk with the dog along the River Deben and then home to draw the curtains, light the fire and snuggle up on the sofa with a blanket and a good book. Will says you can’t beat a good old fashioned stew with as many cuts of different meats as you want to put in. He likes scrag end of lamb with onion, turnip, split peas, potatoes, carrots and dumplings! And who can argue with Emma who pointed out it’s why crumpets were invented.

So rather than dread the next few weeks I’ve decided we are very well placed here in Suffolk to turn the winter months into a time to enjoy rather than endure. We have beautiful countryside for our walks, cosy pubs with fires and lovely grub, and lots of shops and farmers markets selling delicious local produce. What’s not to enjoy?

I hope you have a lovely January. Now where’s that glass of mulled wine? Cheers!

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