I am warmed by the concept of hygge as much as the next person who likes a choc or two and who hasn’t had a lie in for a few years. For the uninitiated (where have you been?) hygge has been described as “cosiness for the soul” (that sort-of sold me tbh).
Apparently the Danish obsession with it peaks at Christmas with their short days and love of hibernation. They’ve even got a specific word for it “julehygge”. For them it’s all about family, friends, traditions, decorations, relaxation and the glow of candles (I’m already feeling sleepy…).
So far, so good. Along this vein, I vicariously soaked it up, along with all the Lego-anecdotes in a “A Year of Living Danishly”. I even borrowed “The Little Book of Hygge” from the library, so I couldn’t help but chuckle at Camilla Long’s recent irreverent article. She suggests that whilst it’s fine for the Danes, it’ll fail to export to British culture without being bastardised into becoming either an excuse for slobbery, or a new criterion for the perfect parent trap. Another standard, inauthentically applied, masquerading as a lifestyle trend. Sadly, meaning the meaning of it is lost in translation.
The way it is portrayed in the media implies that we should be Scandi-chic and relaxed too. I think something needs to give. From personal experience (as the owner of white floors) nailing anything that approximates ‘chic’ with young kids leaves you anything but ‘relaxed’. That is of course unless it is a endemic part of your culture – in which case cosy socks will come as naturally to you as anti-bacterial wipes do to me.
Perhaps that’s why I saw the books as a bit of voyeuristic bedtime reading, rather than a recipe for 2017. As I’m just hygge-curious, a tourist and not a lifestyle devotee, I liked this foray into the flip-side. I’ll gladly soak up the spirit of it, but balance with a pinch of salt.
For the time being at least, a lie in and some new PJs will be enough for me.