Is this possibly the most ‘Instagramable’ book of all time? Probably. They say never judge a book by the cover, but let’s face it, a great many of us do. There’s no denying the cover of Meik Wiking’s bestselling guide to happiness is a thing of immense beauty. The calming pale blue and gold foil swirls and detailing makes the very sight of it comforting, and that’s what Hygge is really all about; surrounding yourself with items, moments, food and people which help create an atmosphere that, in the words of the Grinch, make you feel “all toasty inside”.
Now that Christmas is over, the fairy lights have been taken down and everyone has returned back to work, my home just feels sad. Denmark consistently ranks among the happiest nations in the world and Hygge (which originates from the Norwegian word for well-being) is their recipe for happiness, and I want to embrace everything it encompasses.
Hygge is about being present in the moment and actively taking pleasure from small details; cosy woollen socks, flickering candlelight, comfort food, a mug of warm lovely mulled goodness or a good book. The Little Book of Hygge is about how to achieve a sense of contentedness through the art of lighting, intimacy, home design and cooking. Wiking (who is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen) recommends building an emergency hygge kit for nights that you’re lacking energy and need to indulge in a little self-care. He suggests that the kit includes the following; candles, good-quality chocolate, your favourite tea, your favourite book, your favourite film, box set or series, jam, woollen socks, a selection of your favourite letters, a notebook, a blanket, paper & pen, music and a photo album.
My Emergency Hygge kit contains:
Lots and lots of chocolate truffles
Tealights & wax tarts from Flamingo Candles
A pair of fluffy socks
A notebook & pen
Bubble bath & a face mask
Black & white family photos
A slightly weathered but much-loved copy of The Time Traveller’s Wife
A copy of Beauty & the Beast on DVD
Crackers and red onion chutney in the hope a wedge of cheese will be in close proximity
A letter from my husband that he gave to me the night before Penny was born
The Little Book of Hygge is full of beautiful photos that really capture the essence of hygge. It gives practical advice on how to make adjustments to your home, it contains wholesome Danish recipes to warm your cockles and discusses the history, influences and traditions behind the movement. It’s an incredibly interesting book that really helps you to appreciate the little things in life and to turn off from the constant intrusions of technology, deadlines and city life. It would also make a lovely gift, not just for Christmas and birthdays but for, just because. Do we have to wait until Christmas to remind others that we care, that we see them struggle, that we appreciate them? How lovely would it be to receive this along with a tin of hot chocolate or their own personalised emergency kit? January can be a dismal time of year, so why not embrace the magical world of hygge?
What would you include in your emergency hygge kit?