I have a new favourite wood. Hooga. Hygge (which is pronounced “hooga”) is the ancient Danish tradition of creating a warm atmosphere to relax in with friends and family. The origin of the word actually comes from a Norwegian word that means “well-being”.
Picture Christmas eve. You’re in your fluffy socks and fresh onesie from Santa, sipping cocoa or Baileys, surrounded by family and soft candlelight. You have nowhere to go, no set plans. Just time to visit and relax. That’s hooga.
It’s a philosophy that we Canadians as northern people should adopt. A philosophy that embraces simplicity, comfort and time to unwind and slow down and enjoy relaxing time with family or friends.
The Danes may be on to something. Denmark is regularly voted one of the happiest countries of the world. In fact, Copenhagen is home to The Happiness Research Institute and many Danes believe that hooga is a recipe for a happier life and well-being.
The art of hygge has become so popular, Morley College in London has started teaching it as part of their Danish language course.
If you’re not convinced hygge is for you, consider this. “The most important contributor to our psychological wellbeing is the strength of our relationships, and hygge definitely tends to encourage more close and intimate time with loved ones,” according to Dr. Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness at The Happiness Research Institute.
Yes, baby it’s cold outside. Let it snow. Be gay. We don’t care. We’re going to have a hooga holiday. Happy hooga holidays, everyone!
Ed. note: I am so grateful for my warm, cozy house, but my thoughts always turn to those who are less fortunate and homeless on the cold streets. Why not make a donation to a local shelter this holiday?