December 27


What Hygge, Gezellig & Christmas Spirit Have in Common

By Cassie

December 27, 2019

what is gezellig, what is hygge

I’ve seen a lot of posts and books about hygge lately.  There are lists of hygge activities and in-depth descriptions of it!  It’s the new happiness!  Everyone is looking to achieve or create or feel the illusive hygge.  And why do I say it that way?  Well, because very few people know what it is aside from that it’s good and something to strive for.  I think it’s time to resolve all the confusion about what hygge is and how to achieve it!

Where Did Hygge Come From?

Well, if it seems like a foreign concept it’s because it is!  Hygge is a Danish term.  And, yes, everyone wants it!  Why?  Well, because the Danes are known to be the happiest people on earth and they largely attribute this happiness to hygge!  This isn’t a concept that’s isolated to Denmark though, many Scandinavian and northern European countries have their own version of hygge.  And when you find out what it is it will make perfect sense why!

What is a Hygge to-do List?

You may have noticed that the internet is abuzz with hygge to do lists.  They often look a lot like self-care lists.  You know, take a bath, enjoy a cup of tea by a warm fire, etc.  So, frequently people think that hygge is a list of tasks.  It is not!  That said there are some activities that can lead to or stimulate hygge.

What is Hygge

Hygge is more like a feeling.  So, you can create a hygge to do list in the same way you can create a happiness to do list.  For example, sitting by a warm fire with a cup of tea might make you feel hygge or happy, but it is not happiness.  It might also make you feel anxious if you have a lot of stuff on your mind.  It could even make you frustrated if the fire keeps going out.  And all may be perfect, but you just can’t get yourself in the mood you’re hoping for.

In addition, hygge isn’t happiness.  It’s more a sense contented coziness.  I often think of it as the feeling you have when you’re home.  When you can exhale and know you are loved and accepted where you are.  It’s the moment when a small smile passes your lips.  It’s watching your child sleep peacefully.  And yes, it could be reading poetry with a cup of tea by the fire or even snuggling with your significant other. 

Hygge & Christmas Spirit

The easiest time to grasp the concept of hygge is during the holidays.  You often hear people wishing that they could experience the Christmas spirit all year round.  That’s basically hygge.  There are few times of year that we experience more joy and peace than at Christmas time.  We feel the warm embrace of friends and family and the comfort of tradition.  It might be difficult to imagine experiencing hygge all year long, but it can be done. 

This Christmas season I encourage you to be attentive to yourself.  When you’re experiencing that incredible holiday spirit make a note of what you’re doing.  What caused you to experience that?  See, your thoughts create your feelings and your feelings create your experiences.  If you can observe the thoughts and surroundings that contributed to that contented coziness you can recreate them throughout the year! 

Hygge & Others

And not only this but in some cultures, like the Netherlands it’s not only important to seek hygge in one’s own life but to also create an atmosphere for others (including strangers) where they will experience hygge.  The Dutch refer to this a gezellig.  It is a cultural priority that other’s experience coziness and connectedness.  Which sounds very difficult but somehow, they pull it off and it doesn’t even feel forced! 

I think we’ve all had the experience of going to someone’s home or a small café or business and feeling completely secure and at home.  You may even have noticed that some people inspire those feelings in you. 

This year I hope that along with creating hygge for yourself you also strive to create gezellig.  Welcome others warmly, accept them (regardless of whether you understand them) and give others a place in your heart and home!  Feeling like you belong can make all the difference in the world!

Hygge Tips

To get the hygge flowing here are a few tips to get you started.  Some may work for you and some might not.  Just keep trying until you find something that gives you that warm cozy feeling. 

  • Watch a Hallmark Christmas movie.
  • Write a letter to someone who has positively impacted your life.
  • Snuggle with a loved one.
  • Watch the sun set or rise. 
  • Practice belly breathing.
  • Give yourself a facial.
  • Do some body brushing.
  • Work in your garden.
  • Go for a hike or spend time outdoors.
  • Visualize something that brings you comfort or happiness.
  • Start a gratitude journal.
  • Spend some time reading a devotional, praying or engaged in praise and worship.

Gezellig Tips

To help create an environment where others will feel comfortable, cozy and at home (and to be a person who inspires this feeling in others).

  • Smile at others.  A warm smile goes a long way!
  • Offer genuine compliments.
  • Show interest in others.
  • Be open and accepting.
  • Relax and eliminate or minimize expectations.
  • Listen when others talk to you.
  • Leave space for others to be themselves and express their ideas and preferences.
  • Try to avoid over scheduling and pressure.
  • BE KIND!

Following these simple tips will not only help you enjoy the holidays to the fullest, but they will also help you carry that feeling with you throughout the year.  And learning to create space for others to experience hygge is one of the greatest gifts you can offer to anyone.  We are all searching for a place we belong!  For peace, contentment and joy!  Now you can have it and you can help share it with others!

Share this post and help spread the joy & hygge!

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