Hygge Heaven

A few months ago I read an article about the Danish tradition of hygge (pronounced HOO-gah). The word roughly translates to a feeling of coziness and warmth, of times spent snugly with those we love. Hard to argue with that on a cold Chicago night, right?

I immediately wanted this tradition in my house. With six kids making so much noise (and mess!) all day, it takes real effort to slow everyone down. I love the intentional nature of a hygge: time is purposefully set aside for doing basically nothing but feeling safe and content. Such a delight!

For us, hygge involves a darkened room lit with a few candles. Quiet music. Mugs of hot tea and homemade cookies on the cocktail table. Blankets on the sofa and the family snuggled together. We politely take turns talking about whatever comes to mind: events of the day, silly questions, thoughts on life.

Our first hygge was anything but hygge. Just as we settled into the moment, our house alarm went off. The lights were out and we all freaked out, especially when Chris thought he heard footsteps upstairs. We raced out of the house and into the car, backing out of the garage like lunatics. After FOUR Chicago policemen walked through the house and found nothing, we returned to the house and resumed hygge. We still don’t know what set off the alarm, but it sure was nice to have a hygge to settle our frazzled nerves.

My mom came over a few weeks ago for dinner and hygge. She snuggled into the sofa with us and read the kids a new book. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a quiet moment with her like that since I was a kid. It was a nice way to reminisce about all the special and lovely things my mom did when she was raising her brood.

Now that we have gathered for more than a few hygges, I find myself craving it. I love this quiet time with my family. The whole family is happy after hygge, and this happiness lasts well into the next day. No matter how tired or stressed or overwhelmed we might feel, we can always retreat to hygge to reconnect and reset.

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