The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking

Reviewed by Rita Belvill

“Hygge” (pronounced hoo-ga) is a word that has gained international attention these past several years. I have several books with titles that have the word “hygge” in them, and while working from home today I picked up one of the smallest ones I keep on my desk, The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. It is just the perfect size to keep handy for the occasional reminder of all that is “hyggelig,” and how to turn your ordinary moments and daily routines into experiences for you to enjoy. This book in particular is charming due to its diminutive size, beautiful cover, and lovely photos, and, of course, all the wonderfully-written articles and tidbits. Scandinavians are experts at enjoying all that is around them, such as nature, and not taking it for granted, but embracing it for the beauty and possibilities it offers.

I would recommend picking up this book for the holidays as a gift, or even to give to yourself. The pictures alone will give you joy. The first part of the book references light and how to bring more of it into your home via candles and special lamps. Nordic people are without much daylight during the winter, so they seek more light, and just by doing this their homes become cozy, and therein lies the secret of “hygge.” Or, for instance, if you are going to have a cup of coffee in the morning, why not have it in a special mug that means a lot to you, or add a special creamer before you sniff in the aroma of the brew that Scandinavians love? And when you take your Wellness Walk in the afternoon, turn that into a visual adventure; remember to really LOOK (at the trees, the sky, the buildings you walk by). Are there new birds this time of year, are there leaves on the trees? Why, no, most have fallen now, so there is a lot to observe and visualize with this change.

I hope you enjoy this book, and remember to have a little hygge in your day, and to have a hyggelig winter break.

Rita Belvill is a local Norwegian American transplant from Oslo, Norway whose family immigrated to Seattle, which has a huge Scandinavian influence, as did Everett many years ago. After pursuing a B.A. at the University of Washington in Scandinavian Studies, Rita taught Norwegian language classes, and continues to participate with many local community groups, such as the Nordic Book Club, Daughters and Sons of Norway, and the Swedish Club. She celebrates her Nordic heritage and culture, and enjoys sharing her experiences with others so they, too, can learn about Scandinavia, and enjoy all it has to offer.