What is Hygge, and What does it Have to Do with Kelleys Island?

Posted by RJB on Oct 25th 2018

It’s sweater-and-boots chilly. There’s a bunch of us at the cottage for the weekend. We are playing board games. The fireplace is crackling. The needle on the old vinyl record has reached the end of side A, and one of us has to get up and out of the chair to flip it to Side B. We are taste-testing Scotches and Bourbons, and there a pot of chili on the stove. The only thing that would make the night better would be a nor’easter with high enough winds to shut down the ferry.

This is not a dream; it was last weekend.

Why does this scenario make us happy, safe, loved? It may be the Danish concept of Hygge, and we think it is alive and well on Kelleys Island. Hygge (pronounced Hoo-ga) is a Danish word with no English equivalent that describes an atmosphere or experience marked by a feeling of well-being, comfort, togetherness, and love. It is the homey feeling of a casual candle-lit pot luck dinner with friends. It is reading a book snuggled up on the couch on a rainy day. It reminds us of the feeling we try to capture in our soap and bath bomb recipes.

For your Fall/Winter reading list, may we recommend “TheLittle Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living” by Meik Wiking? It is an easy, charming read with great ideas for Hygge-fying your life, even on the mainland. You may even consider listening to it on audible read by the author. We love Wiking’s description of a homey night with friends, where one comments that the only thing that would make it more Hyggely would be a good thunderstorm. There’s something about a feeling of safety from the outside elements that adds to Hygge.

Our next seasonal soap has just launched. We’re calling into Warm Woolen Mittens, and it’s everything Hygge. We stirred up hot apple cider, cinnamon, and cloves and whipped them up into a soft, velvety soap.  This is one of my personal favorite soaps.  It makes a wonderful Thanksgiving hostess gift. Maybe pair a bar with some hand-knitted mittens and a candle? 

Warm Woolen Mittens is available on the Island at Chicklet’s Closet, and of course on-line at kelleysislandsoap.com.  In the meantime, find someone to snuggle up with in front of a fire.  Make Stew.  Light the candles.