Spend a Little, Gain a Lot: Discovering Hygge and Hyggelig
Updated: May 12
Hygge and hyggelig are two words that have gained worldwide popularity a few years ago and, instead of going out of style, seem to resurface every fall as soon as the weather gets colder and the evenings turn darker. While both of them are Danish, there’s no accurate translation in any other language – and yet, millions of people around the world find the hygge lifestyle very appealing. In 2016, both Collins and Oxford dictionaries even listed hygge among their words of the year!
Businesses are quick to monetize every new trend – and the hygge style of living was no exception. In the last few years, you might have seen a thousand lists of things you should apparently buy to make your home more hyggelig, each of them with a more impressive price tag than the last. But did you know you can add more hygge into your life without spending a lot of money? In this article, the Honeygain team will explain what being hyggelig actually means, and how you can explore it without unnecessary splurging.
What does hygge and hyggelig mean?
First of all, let’s clarify the difference between these two words. It lies in the grammatical form: while hygge can be used as both a noun and a verb, hyggelig is an adjective. Now, if you’re interested in how exactly you should be pronouncing them and you have no experience with Danish, this might be a little trickier. Some say it sounds like hoo-gah, others swear on hue-guh or even heurgh. Add a short ‘lee’ at the end, and you’ve got hyggelig!
While it’s hard to distill the meaning of the hygge lifestyle into one clear definition, it’s got everything to do with cosiness and simplicity and warmth. It’s comforting, and it leaves you feeling calm and content. And it’s barely a surprise it found popularity among millions of people around the world that asked for constant running, striving, struggling, and never being happy with what you already have. With Denmark constantly finding itself at the top positions of the world’s happiest countries list, it’s hard not to wonder what’s their key to happiness… and whether we could borrow it, too.
Why shouldn’t you waste money on getting hyggelig?
We tried googling the supposedly hygge items at online shops – and boy, did we find an avalanche. Hygge coffee pots, hygge scented candles, hygge sweaters, hygge rugs, hygge this and that! While all of these items are great for those who are only interested in the hygge esthetic, it has nothing to do with the actual hygge style of living.
The idea of hygge and hyggelig is not about the looks and the styling of your home. It is about the atmosphere: feeling cosy, feeling warm, feeling content, and feeling good surrounded by the people close to you. Therefore, most of the things that will help you feel more hyggelig are the stuff you already have at home or can purchase rather cheaply at any local store.
What can help you add some hygge to your home?
If your house has a fireplace, fall and winter is the perfect way to light and enjoy the cosy crackling of the burning wood as the warm light fills the room. If it doesn’t, candles are a great substitute – did you know an average Dane burns 13 pounds of candle wax every year? It doesn’t have to be any fancy scented candles you sometimes see selling for dozens of dollars a jar, either: simple natural beeswax candles or those teeny-tiny tea lights will do just as well. The important thing is to replace at least a part of the harsh electric lighting you’d regularly use with the warm (and hyggelig) candlelight.
If you’re currently a student and dorm rules do not allow any fire hazards in your dorm room, electric candles or tea lights might be a good solution. While they won’t offer you that tiny flickering fire, they do have a much softer and warmer glow than most bigger lamps – and they’re also a safer choice if you’ve got animals and/or small children around.
Forget the fizzy drink section at the shops for a while and check your cupboards for some tea or cocoa. Not only does the warmth feel incredibly good and hyggelig, but it also stops you from hurrying: you can’t really just swallow the burning liquid and run back to your business, now can you? Something as simple and cheap as a homemade cup of tea is a perfect opportunity to stop, take in the moment, and recharge.
It’s interesting to see how even the people who have travelled the world, dined at the fanciest restaurants and tried the most amazing dishes created by famous chefs still find the most comfort in simple, homey, and not at all expensive dishes they have eaten since childhood. Apple pie, potato mash, chicken noodle soup, meatballs in gravy – it can be anything, as long as it’s nostalgic and just as satisfying to your mind as it is to your belly.
Cooking and baking is also a great way to recharge your batteries – and the great-smelling house is always a plus! Pick a recipe that just cannot be rushed: as the flavours develop, you get a chance to relax and enjoy the warm smell of spices – what’s more hyggelig than that?
There’s just something about the texture of the wool: it’s not just warm, but it’s also incredibly soft and cosy to touch. You don’t need fancy cashmere or merino wool, either: think of the throw you have in the back of your closet or the socks your grandmother has knitted for you. If you’re also looking for some cosy activities to take up on those long calm evenings, you could also take up knitting yourself – you’d be surprised just how relaxing it is!
While loud beats just scream party, relaxing music can do wonders when you’re creating a hyggelig atmosphere in your home. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to look for acoustic versions or (if you use music streaming platforms like Spotify) browse for specific hygge-themed playlists: thanks to the concept's popularity, they’re pretty easy to find. Some also sweat by listening to recordings of nature sounds like fire crackling, rain, or even thunderstorms – you could try that, too!
Adding hygge to your life doesn’t cost much – however, empty pockets do not feel particularly cosy, either. Did you know that while you’re curling up with a blanket to watch a movie or cutting the apples for the most delicious pie, your devices could be making you money by sharing your Internet connection? Earning effortlessly is also a great way to have a little extra cash for a streaming platform subscription, a new book, or even a jar of honey for your tea.
Joining Honeygain is simple – just download the app for your Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, or iOS device and create an account (one account can have up to 10 active devices). Psst: if you do it by clicking the button below, you’ll also receive a $5 starting gift – don’t miss out on free money!