I only heard about Hygge for the first time less than a month ago. It was mentioned on Twitter, I didn't know what it was, so I did a quick google and learnt that's it's basically the Danish word for cosy. I moved on, or started to move on but very quickly I noticed more and more references to it, from books promising to teach the 'art' of Hygge, retailers trying to flog blankets and candles promising they would make your home more 'hygge', to Danes proclaiming that it definitely DOES NOT just mean cosy (whoops).
So I googled again and read further this time and learnt that no it doesn't just mean cosy but also it has nothing to with buying a certain candle or a blanket and even less to do with buying a book which tells you which kind of candle or blanket to buy. Hygge doesn't have a direct translation but it's said to be a feeling of well-being and contentment created by creating intimacy. It comes into its own when the nights draw in and it's something the Danish have nailed and according to everyone with something to sell these days, it's something you can only get from trying to be more like them.
Well here's the thing, while living in Australia for the last four years there was something I missed about Winter in England. Not the grey skies or the frosty mornings but the quintessential way we deal with it and the warm fuzzy glow of contentment it creates. We go back to our parents for Christmas where the temperature is continuously set to Barbados in high summer levels, we start nights out with X Factor/Strictly pre-drinks and Sunday hangovers with the results, we knock back mulled wine like the ingredients aren't available all year round and as soon as someone mentions snow, we all get very concerned about our commute home and leave work early 'just in case' we get snowed in which is just code for going to the pub. And when we get to the pub the tables are sticky, the windows are steamed up, it's boiling, you can't sit down for piles of coats but despite never being able to organise all of your mates into one place EVER, somehow everyone is there. It's not pretty, it's not pinterestable and you certainly wouldn't write a book about it, but it's distinctly British and that'll do for me.