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By Jamye W.

A few years ago the word hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) was heard almost everywhere. This word comes from Denmark and although it doesn’t have a direct English translation, it evokes feelings of coziness, contentment, and wellbeing. In researching this, I found that many Scandinavian countries have their own equivalent.  

The Swedish have mysa, which is often enjoyed on Friday evening at the end of the workweek. Norway has koselig.

Although each country has its own version of this, there is a good deal of overlap in these concepts. Some do it at home, some gather with friends in a hyggelig, cafe or coffee shop.  

It’s about the pause, this moment. 

One of my favorite versions of the concept is the Icelandic Christmas Eve tradition of jolabokaflod which literally means “Christmas book flood.” In Iceland, it is a common practice to give and receive books for Christmas. As a result, many people in Iceland settle in on Christmas Eve with a hot drink, some chocolate, and a book for the evening. As a book-lover, that is MY kind of holiday.  

One thing that all of these cultures have in common is that they are in parts of the world that experience long, dark, cold winters. It seems that they have each found their own ways to embrace and enjoy this part of the year rather than simply waiting for it to come to an end. 

To pause, to search for hygge, helps us slow down if only for a few hours, instead of mentally or physically rushing to the next task or project.

If you want to find ways to explore these practices here are some resources you might enjoy: 

Searching the word Hygge on the EVPL website will help you find several titles in books, eBooks, and eAudiobooks.

If, like me, your idea of hygge is being curled up with a good book here are some titles you might enjoy on a cold winter evening:

There are endless other titles of every genre available through our curbside pickup service or as digital downloads via EVPL Libby, Overdrive, and Hoopla apps. And check out this blog post full of Cozy Mysteries for a book to enjoy.

Whether outside in nature or inside in a favorite spot, alone or with friends, may you find the version of hygge that you most enjoy.

Jamye W.

Jamye W.


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