NPR recently had a piece on the word hygge as did The New Yorker. It’s on the Oxford English Dictionary’s short list of words for 2016 and Wikipedia has an entry for it.

For those of you, like me, who have never heard of it, details from the NPR story follow. “Meik Wiking is the author of The Little Book Of Hygge, and he is CEO of The Happiness Research Institute in Denmark. Hygge is actually a lifestyle concept, one that’s been around for a very long time in Denmark. What does it mean to live a hygge life? It’s been called the art of creating a nice atmosphere. It’s been called the pursuit of everyday happiness. But it’s basically building in elements of togetherness, safety, coziness, savoring simple pleasures, relaxation, comfort on an everyday basis”.

Since the United Nations has judged Denmark to be the happiest country repeatedly, maybe we should learn about hygge. If you’re in to decluttering, the slow food movement or mindfulness, you’re heading in the direction of hygge. Think candles, slippers and friendly cats. My Labrador believes she was hygge long before it hit The New Yorker.

Sure enough, my public library had The Little Book of Hygge in accessible format. Bookshare had Have a Hygge Holiday (Christmas family saga with hygge themes) immediately downloadable for the print handicapped. After consulting these sources and Wikipedia (of course), I’m going to try some of the following hygge ideas:

  • Microwave single-serving mac and cheese
  • Try a couple new podcasts: “Note to Self” and “Still Processing” to listen in on others’ worlds.
  • Work on skimming and discarding ever-growing piles of unread magazines before they take over the living room.
  • Make monthly visits to friends in nursing homes or assisted living facilities taking tea and talk. You bet I’m paying it forward!
  • Say a prayer of gratitude at the end of each day for the gifts of that day.

I wish for you a hygge 2017. And here’s my toast for you: May all your troubles during the coming year be as short as your New Year’s resolutions.