Hygge: What it is and How to Incorporate it in Your Family

Denmark is consistently ranked at the top of the list of the world’s happiest countries. Many are curious as to what makes the Danes such a happy group of people. In the book The Danish Way of Parenting, authors Jessica Alexander and Iben Sandahl describe the Danish parenting style, which they indicate helps Danish children grow up to be happy, secure, and resilient adults. These adults then raise their children in the same upbringing and the pattern continues.

Serenity and connection are important values to Danish people, and hygge is one such way in which the Danes practice these values.

According to Merriam-Webster, hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is defined as “a quality of coziness and contentment” (Merriam-Webster, 2019). Danish people consider hygge to be an important part of their cultural identity as well as a way of life. You may have engaged in hygge too without being aware of it.

Whether it is cozying up together to watch a sunset, enjoying a candlelit dinner together, or working as a team to complete a task, the basic idea of hygge is setting aside stressors and disagreement to spend quality time with loved ones in a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Here are some tips for how to incorporate hygge into your own family life:

  • Leave negativity and stressors at the door
  • Think in terms of “we” rather than “I”
  • Play games that everyone can enjoy
  • Create a cozy atmosphere with candles, food, and drinks
  • Unplug by putting electronics away during hygge time
  • Focus on the present moment and the company you are with
  • Engage in team building activities such as building a fort

Hygge can benefit you and your family by providing space for togetherness and tranquility. Resting in each other’s company and engaging in quality time can lead to a happier and more connected family unit. Interested in learning more about hygge? Check out this resource and then give hygge a try with your family!  

Written by: Mary Anne Sylvester