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You Had Me At Hello Hygge

It is at this time of year that I reflect on the year previous. Why? Because, tomorrow is my birthday. As this year progressed, I was drawn to this popular and incredibly trendy “du jour” concept called “Hygge” (noun: “hue-gah”). This Danish word translates into the English equivalent of “coziness.” Specifically, a noun, which implies it is a concept, a state of being, a way of life, of doing things. “Precisely”, the Danes would say. I did notice that the material side of Hygge has oozed its way into websites, stores and commercialism: images of everything Scandinavian, fuzzy blankets, sheep-skin rugs, knitted sweaters, ginormous mugs steeping with hot cocoa, adorned Ugg slippers, fireside, candles, après-ski, etc…

The commercial side of American Hygge will now be swept away, and the true meaning made evident- at least to me.

Hygge is a relaxed, intimate time with family and close friends enjoying gatherings that focus on quality, great food and refreshments and, of course, some sort of heated element whether it be candles, fire, hot beverages or even hot tubs. Additionally, when that defining layer is peeled away, Hygge connotes being kind to yourself, nurturing yourself through these gatherings and allowing yourself a healthy dose of indulgence (whether it be that angora sweater, hot toddy or bowl of mushroom ravioli).

In Denmark, the grueling nine plus months of winter gave birth to the origin of Hygge as a necessity and endorphin stimulating activity. Given the political climate, Hygge living could not come into my world at a more apropos time. It is season-less to me, and something I will regularly practice as a heart-warming lesson.

In the spirit of Hygge, I gave myself the best birthday gift by having my oldest friends over for a warm, casual and elegant but simple dinner. Comfort foods, pinot noir, a roaring fire and tons of candlelight created just an amazing feeling. Sharing old jokes, stories, inspiring each other and talking about the complexities of today created warmth that was truly heartfelt.

Inspiration: The trendy Hygge look and feel

Shop Local: Daisy Dig’ins, Barrington

Table Scape: Scandinavian-esque with raw/beach wood, white and silver palette, simple greens with white flowers, lots of mercury glass candleholders. Daisy Dig’ins became my go-to for quick local, beautiful and Hygge-inspired décor. I found beautiful urns, candleholders, a lovely cotton table runner with touches of silver. The centerpiece foundation was a rustic wooden tray that highlighted all the glistening silver.

Finishing Touches: Write fun facts of your guests in lieu of place cards with their names. Diana Krall on Pandora, lots of comfort food with some frothy cappuccino!

All this, coupled with Ginger nestled under the dining table hoping for a dropped morsel of herbed short ribs with polenta while the children are sleeping upstairs. Life is good with a little Hygge on a fire lit and frigid February evening. Priceless.

Elizabeth Cashman Greenberg

Elizabeth Cashman Greenberg has resided in Barrington for over 14 years and delights in entertaining, designing social gatherings and marketing East Bay finds.

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