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While every word may have a definition, there are some best understood by experiencing them. Hygge is one of those special words. Defined by Oxford Languages, hygge is “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).” That will tell you something: it’s a state of happiness, of feeling invited and warm. But as we so often face with these nebulous words, how do we get there?
If you’ve ever traveled to Scandinavia, chances are you’ve felt the draw of hygge at least once. As soon as the sun sets, take note of how overhead lighting takes a backseat to the flicker of candles. Chunky sweaters are layered in lieu of space heaters or stepping indoors. If there’s music playing, it’s soft—a soundtrack hugging the conversations happening around you. Rosy cheeks, warm drinks, throw blankets; it’s all part of the hygge equation.
The most important element of creating your own hygge space is comfort: in clothing, in surroundings, and in whatever you’re sipping or snacking on. And don’t forget to slip into a pair of hyggebukser, or cozy pants that are reserved for settling into the couch and grabbing a book.
There’s no getting around the fact that travel can be hard; near impossible in the middle of a pandemic and only slightly easier in a normal year, when taking a vacation requires planning around busy schedules. One thing you can do is practice parts of cultures far away whenever you’re feeling a bit disconnected. This in mind, I pulled together a shopping list of sorts—everything you’ll need to get you that much closer to hygge vibes wherever you find yourself.
- The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, $15
- Butterflies in November, $14
- The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country, $13
- Fika: The Art of The Swedish Coffee Break, with Recipes for Pastries, Breads, and Other Treats, $16
- The Museum of Whales You Will Never See: And Other Excursions to Iceland's Most Unusual Museums, $17
- Silence: In the Age of Noise, $17
- Stranger Things Happen, $13
- The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life, $15
- Jess Meany Pasadena Pick-Stitch Kalina Cropped Coat, $520
- Ilana Kohn Terry Abe Pant, $297
- Glerups Slippers, $95
- Offhours Home Coat, $295
- Smartwool Knee-High Socks, $26
- Hannah Emile Sherpa Pail Bag, $195
- Pendleton Fishermen’s Cardigan, $164
- Eileen Fisher Boiled Wool Sweater, $248
- Universal Standard Turtleneck Dress, $88
Bath + Self Care
- Spa of Iceland Body Souffle, $34
- Angan Arctic Thyme Bath Salt, $36
- Sóley Organics Mjúk Body Scrub, $70
- Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Face Gels, $36
- Kiehl’s Lavender Foaming-Relaxing Bath, $30
- Farmacy Honey Potion Warming Mask, $38
- Milk + Honey Bath Soak, $28
- Plant Apothecary Body Oil, $48
- Fischer Scented Candle Tin, $65
- Hygge Life Chunky Knit Blanket, $390
- Fredericks and Mae Brass Candle Holder, $60
- Hay Design Bottoms Up Vase, $85
- IKEA Sejling Sheepskin Rug, $50
- Urban Outfitters UMAGE Eos Pendant Light, $268
- MoMA Design Store Birds in Harmony Mobile, $30
- Fredericks and Made Candy Necklace Planter, $500
- MoMA Design Store Maharam Huddle Pillow, $200