The Oxford Dictionary recently released their 2016 “Word of the Year” finalists and winner, post-truth. Most commonly (and unfortunately) associated with politics, post-truth is defined as, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.
While political commentary may have made post-truth the most relevant word of the year, the most charming (and my favorite) word on the list is hygge, meaning “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being”.
Hygge is of Danish origin, and considered a fundamental part of Danish lifestyle. The ultimate hygge experience is achieved during the chilliest months of the year with simple indulgences such as cozy slippers, candles, a good book, homemade mulled wine, and the company of loved ones.
In the face of the shortest days and coldest nights, the Scandinavians are some of the happiest people on earth. They surround themselves with hygge to ensure security, cosiness, companionship, peace of mind, and wellbeing.
The concept of hygge is one that everyone should adopt — in a sense it’s really just treating yourself and treating others.
These are a few of my favorite, feel good hyggeligt (hygge-like) things of 2016:
The above items can be enjoyed with feel good music or a great book. I recently read A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman, and highly recommend it. It’s endearing and wonderful and Scandinavian. As for music, try Merry Christmas Lil Mama, the new collaboration Christmas mixtape by Chance the Rapper and Jeremih. Yes, Christmas has passed, but also yes to both artists being so amazing it doesn’t matter.
There’s no literal English translation of hygge, but I believe the Germans call it Gemütlichkeit. One of many words I’ll need to remember while living in Berlin come January…