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Getting Hygge With It

Hygge (pronounced hyoo-guh), according to Wikipedia, is “a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” There has been an emphasis on hygge as a living concept or culture as of late, despite it being in the lexicon of Danish writing and speaking since the 19th century. If you are on any form of social media, particularly Instagram, you may have noticed posts in the last few years referring to hygge. The best way to describe it in short, is that it is a Scandinavian way of living that focuses on relaxation, indulgence, and gratitude. This concept has gained an international audience as studies continue to find Danish people the most content in the world, despite long harsh winters devoid of much sunlight. Maybe the best translation or English equivalent is ‘hominess’ which summons a feeling of cozy, familiar, comfort, emotional well-being.

Many books have been published in the last few years to try to capture what Hygge means, how you yourself can “Hygge” (allegedly the word can be used as a noun, adjective, verb, or compound noun). One we recently passed around here is called “The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living,” by Meik Wiking (the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute [a real organization…]). “The Little Book…” describes the wellness concepts behind Hygge, compares it to the way other cultures and countries practice similar concepts of emotional and mental wellness, and discusses monthly ways you can incorporate practices into your life. For example, there’s a ‘Hygge wishlist” which gives ten suggestions to make your home more ‘hyggelig’ (literal translation=nice). These include simple pleasures like a nook, candles, things made out of wood, blankets and cushions, nature, and our favorite, books.

The suggestion in the book for the month of January is the “movie night.” We have created a display made up of the movies we suggest need to be watched again. The type of films that make you feel warm and fuzzy, evoke feelings of wistful nostalgia. We’ve also added an activity suggested by the book: come up with the shortest way of explaining the plot of a movie. You can participate by submitting your entry at the library, or on the Facebook page we created showcasing the activity.

Examples of shortened movie plots:

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: “Group spends nine hours returning jewelry.”

Thor: “Adopted kid’s older brother won’t let him hold the hammer.”

Additionally, you can come join us for our January Movie night, held Tuesday January 21stat 6 p.m. We’ll be showing the film, “Judy,” the biographical drama film about American singer and actress Judy Garland. Popcorn and hot cocoa will be served, and we’ll light a few candles just to get Hygge with it.

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