What is hygge? How the Danish lifestyle concept became a trend

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Dreading the cold, dark months? The Danish tradition of hygge just might change how you feel about winter.

Have you ever had a wonderful night sitting by the fire with a glass of cocoa, enjoying the company of your loved ones, and just thought, "This is the life"? Well, that, is hygge.

The Danish word Hygge (pronounced Hoo-ga) represents a culture of cosiness, joy and wellbeing. With up to 17 hours of darkness per day in the depths of winter, and average temperatures hovering around zero degrees, Danes spend more time indoors. Despite the dark, cold winters, Scandinavian countries manage to be the happiest nations in the world and some of that can be attributed to hygge.

"In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people," according to the Visit Denmark website. "The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family-that's hygge too."

Some of the ways to bring hygge into your home are:

1. Light candles

As soon as the sun goes down, a simple flickering candle is considered one of the most fundamental hygge moments from dark winter evenings.

2. Prioritize family meals

Spending time with family and friends - especially around mealtimes - is a key way to step back and enjoy each others' company.

3. Enjoy nature

Embracing hygge doesn't require you to spend all day indoors. Bundle up in warm winter gear and go for a walk while taking time to observe the landscape.

4.Unplug from technology.

Give yourself permission to tune out and unplug from the stresses of a constantly connected lifestyle by creating at least one screen-free room in your home.

5. Share the spirit

Hygge is about continually gathering with loved ones to bond over a familiar and recurring ritual. This could mean savoring a morning cup of coffee together, reading a new book, or indulging in a thoughtful conversation with a loved one.