At Home in Berks December 2017 - 20

FEATURES

Hygge

The Practice of

By Christine Elliott
Co-owner, Whitegate Contracting Co., Douglassville, PA

G

athering around the crisp crackle of a
wood fire in the fireplace. Sitting at a
candle-lit table, listening to a few good
friends share stories over a simple stew. Sharing
a warm, ritual cup of coffee or tea with a loved
one at the kitchen counter on a lamp-lit morning. Relishing the view of the snowy yard from
a bright, clear window. This is the practice of
hygge.
Pronounced something like "hue-guh," hygge (British
spelling) is described by the Collins English Dictionary by
Harper-Collins Publishers as "The practice of creating cosy
and congenial environments that promote emotional well-being." The practice is familiar in the Danish and Norwegian cultures. I don't think we have a comparable word in our English
language. So, I embrace this Danish word, which is rooted in
these northern cultures. The broader interpretation suggests
the concepts of slowing down to safely celebrate day-to-day life
amid long winter days; interrupting the monotony of darkness
with spontaneity, light, warmth and friendship; and consciously enjoying home, loved ones, equality and the art of living.
I was first introduced to the word hygge when I visited my
daughter while she was studying in Denmark almost 15 years
ago. I was immediately taken by the power of the word and its
concept. The elegant simplicity of the Danish culture is palpable in this word. To me it says, "hug life," which is - really - it's
essence! In the American northeast, with our fast pace, it is
20

AT HOME IN BERKs december 2017

Hygge
Pronounced something like "hue-guh,"
hygge (British spelling) is described by the
Collins English Dictionary by Harper-Collins
Publishers as "The practice of creating cosy
and congenial environments that promote
emotional well-being."
easy to allow one's daily priorities to become skewed; pushed
here and there by the urgencies of busy-work. It is important to remind ourselves regularly to embrace our family and
friends and the artful parts of life we hold dear.
I have been fortunate to be able to explore and employ the
concept of hygge and share it with others in our community
through my work. As a business co-owner of a remodeling
company, I enjoy working almost daily with my spouse and
directly with our clients who are amazing, friendly, good
people. It has been particularly joyful to meet kind people and,
in meaningful one-on-one meetings, help them plan budgets
and designs for safe, congenial home environments. Working
through the physical process and costs involved with home repairs or improvement can overwhelm even the most grounded
homeowner, not to mention the distractions added by HGTV,
Pinterest and other social influences.



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