Let’s Hygge Together!

David is enjoying some down-home hygge wearing his favorite t-shirt while snuggled on the couch with a stuffed animal.


Such a marvelously serpentine-looking word, isn’t it? Interestingly, it doesn’t sound at all like it looks. It’s pronounced hoo-guh, but I always see “higgy.”  Then I think “jiggy.” Then I think, well, all sorts of athletic bed gymnastics–so let’s not go down that rabbit hole together, shall we? Especially as I’m at my mom’s home helping her get set up, stocked up, and stay safe.

Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word that means “a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.” It’s about self-care, connecting with loved ones, and dis-connecting from some of those odious, angst-producing elements in our lives. Like the news, for example. Or people who go on Sunday drives during Thursday rush hour, or shockingly long eyebrow hairs, or the color puce.


When I browsed the Internet for examples of hygge, I came across the most gorgeous Nordic people doing gorgeously Nordic things, while lounging on gorgeous Nordic throws, pillow, and blankets. I also noticed that you can’t hygge (can that word be a verb?) without a cup of coffee nearby and a string of lights haphazardly hung behind you.

A model practicing hygge with a dog asleep on a pillow beside her, a book open on her lap, and a cup of coffee and plate of cookies beside her.

But it doesn’t take a booker at the Wilhelmina Agency to know they’re models! All those chiseled jaws, broad shoulders, and pantingly good looks. And that’s just the women. Don’t get me started on the men. They’re all 10s!

A model with a cup of coffee demonstrating hygge.

And that’s why I made this video: I wanted to give you a glimpse of what real-life hygge looks like down here among us 4s to 6s.

That’s me at the top in my favorite T-shirt made by our very talented niece, Megan, who creates all kinds of cool items. If you’re wondering where my triple chin and chipmunk cheeks went, so does The One. Ah, the wonders of Photoshop! If I can’t be a model, at least I can try to look like one. And while there was no white furry four-legger around–and my mom’s cat Charlie would never stand to be held–I grabbed one of the stuffed animals from the menagerie on the living room couch. And to give a truly Scandinavian ambiance to the photo, that’s a 100-percent authentic mid-century Danish modern table behind my head.

Mama Leite, dressed in an ancient workshirt of my late dad’s, has been spending these days as she has for the past several decades–at her computer in the breezeway clacking away at the Prayer Net, which she and my dad created for their church.

Me? Since Sunday, I’ve been living in my very hygge-like shearling slippers, sweats, and “Enjoy Chouriço” shirt. I’m spending my time in the dining room working away on the new computer I bought Mama, which she’s too scared to use right now.

Precisely at 7:00 PM, the computers are put to sleep, and we sit and watch “Wheel of Fortune” then “Jeopardy,” shouting out answers and dissing the contestants who mess up. (Yes, we’re evil and we love it.)

Since Mama Leite has hung up her spatula for good, all she eats is prepared and frozen foods, so there’s no cooking while I’m visiting her. I’ve been happily living on–que surpresa–chouriço sandwiches from Cinderella Bakery in Fall River.


Tomorrow, I return to The One and to another kind of hygge. This one is all about cooking, binge-watching “Hillary,” “Upstairs Downstairs” (the 2010 version), and, Lord help me, reruns of “Antiques Road Show.” The One will continue reading Death in Strange Country while I’ll finally finish Ethan Frome and The Song of Achilles. Devil Cat will burrow into our chests as he’s wont to do.

Tell me: How do you hygge?

In the comments below, tell me what are you making, baking, cooking, doing, playing, enjoying, fighting about? Share ideas, share pictures, share the love!

Let’s see if we can take care of each other, make each other laugh, and enjoy ourselves during this tough time. Remember, hygge!




  1. So, I didn’t know there was a name for how my wife and I live.

    This morning we had coffee by the woodstove with our four dogs snoozing out, cats in the other room, least they get chased. Breakfast was my wife’s first attempt at puff pastry, pinwheels with spiced apple and cream cheese centers. Excellent.

    We are retired and are lucky enough to have dismissed the annoyances of a career and hang around in whatever suits us.

    Six months out of the year we live in a small town (outside of Fall River), the other six months we live on and island in North Atlantic Canada. That’s where we really hygge and didn’t know it.

    The island takes several ferries to get to, has about 116 people and 4 miles of road. Life is lived by the 20 foot tides and the local ferry (where strangers become friends in the 28 minute crossing). We have no store or restaurants, so life takes planning. We live there with our 3 labs and a miniature schnauzer. (We have to leave our 3 cats home, taken care of by a close friend.)

    My wife does a lot of baking, I do the cooking. She weaves, knits and teaches basket making, I make doormats out of used fishing rope, whimsical fish and beach glass jewelry

    Pretty much everyone on the island cooks and bakes; everything. Lots of seafood, bread, and pies which vary by the season. Lobsters get dropped off, deep sea scallops hours out of the ocean, my neighbor and I smoke fish, steamers for the digging and the big feature for this Portuguese boy is periwinkles, nice large ones!

    We frequently have friends over for dinner anywhere from 2 to 10. last year we introduced them to clam boils. Huge hit! Love to hear them try to pronounce linguica and chourico. We also cooked Asian, Italian and Portuguese dinners with food transported from home.

    Neighbors stop in, everyone knows each other and when the ferry finishes its final run of the day a kind of coziness sets in.

    We are alone until tomorrow.

    PS. Very cool shirt.

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