Today, Twitter started tweeting tweets at me saying stuff like, ‘The hygge backlash has begun’ and ‘Smug Danes’. Twitter does this sometimes, and I cannot help but look because, well, curiosity. And so I discovered that someone from Time Out has written an article called Hygge is a waste of London.
There is a love of the media darling, the ‘It thing’, the next big deal. So something gets built up, then expands out of proportion, then elevated further until it’s a shadow of its former self. A bit like an X Factor winner propelled into a media meat chopper. And then, with great aplomb, this big deal is dropped from such a great height that the size of the resulting splatter completely obscures the original sentiment or ambition. And this is what is happening to poor hygge.
Well, I’ve had enough.
It shouldn’t be me writing this post. I currently have a book to sell, called ScandiKitchen Fika & Hygge. And look, there’s the offensive little word right in the title. I know a lot about it because I come from the land of hygge. On the day I pitched my book, I was told to think about using a different word to hygge, because nobody in the UK would understand what it means. Little did we know that a year and a bit later, there would be 20-odd books on the shelves directing people in how to tidy their house and how to light their bedsits in the most efficient hygge fashion.
The problem is, hygge really isn’t about being smug under loads of blankets. It was never about death by a thousand candles or cosiness. Hygge also isn’t mindfulness. It won’t make you happy if you chase it, it won’t make you into a blond Scandinavian, and it certainly won’t make you suddenly rich or stylish. Hygge is nothing like it is being portrayed right now. This hygge train is charging ahead in the wrong direction – can we please stop?
Here are my thoughts about hygge (as detailed in my book. Did I mention I have a book out? Buy it. It’s about hygge. And bloody brilliant cakes.):
So, for the love of Thor and Freya, calm down and stop abusing our nice word. Stop attempting to create a new level of nonsense using a Danish concept that you can just throw away afterwards. Hygge is right here, inside you, where it has always been. You’ve been too London busy to feel it.
Do you know who is really good at hygge? Like, really good at it? The British. Down a nice pub, sitting down, talking around the table and taking time out. You’ve been doing hygge all along. And when you think about it like that, hygge suddenly makes sense. That is where it is and that is what it means, inside the space where you feel happy. If it isn’t the pub, it might be a café, your kitchen, a bedsit, a mansion or a tent in a field: hygge is always inside you. It’s holding hands, it’s walking along the South Bank with someone you’re falling in love with. It’s that last drink at Gordon’s Wine Bar on Villiers Street with your best mate. And yes, it can even be Netflix and chill. So stop chasing hygge through stress and unattainable ideals. Stop branding hygge.
Just feel hygge – it’s been there all along, and it’s definitely part of London, and part of you.
Photo by Roberto Trombetta via Flickr