Hygge and Cozy Media: Getting Happier Through Intentional Connection


Cozy Candles and Book (Courtesy Taryn Elliott via Pexels)

By Whit Fuller, Arts Writer


Whether your winter months are spent huddled around the fire watching holiday movies or skiing with friends, both activities incorporate the Danish concept of Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga), roughly translated as a sense of comfort, warmth and happiness.

Hygge Like the Danes

In “The Little Book of Hygge” by Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, Wiking describes the concept as an experience universal to all countries and peoples in their own way. However you choose to Hygge, there are staples to the concept that each culture can put a spin on. These include using dim ambient lighting such as candles or special lamps, wearing wool socks or using comforting blankets to achieve a perfect level of coziness while a home-cooked meal that you put hours of intentional preparation into fills the air with its aroma.

But where does media come into the quest for Hygge? The answer lies in embodying the closeness, comfort and togetherness that makes the concept so admirable in the first place.

Watch a holiday film with friends that you enjoyed as a child. Write in a journal with the warm glow of a candle for light. Settle around a fire and share favorite stories or traditions with loved ones. The best part about Hygge and its practices is that they can be modified to suit the individual needs of each person. There is no wrong way to experience comfort, happiness and safety after all.

Westernized concepts of media consumption don’t always allow for the connection and comfort that are essential to Hygge.  That might mean unplugging from computers and phones in favor of getting out that cookbook your parents might have gifted you or used while you were growing up and making a favorite recipe. It could involve gifting books to friends and spending an evening reading them together over mugs of warm coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

How does one fit Hygge into the typical day-to-day while keeping up with their other responsibilities like school and work? By making time for connections and experiences that are truly meaningful and engaging with media and creativity that is truly exciting — not just “the next big thing.”

A Happy Life

According to Wiking, the Danes are some of the happiest and most content people in the world. They have shorter work hours and form close relationships with one another. Hygge is just one of the things that have earned them that title. They dress for comfort, eat good food and make their relationships with others a priority. It seems that trying to live a more Hygge-like lifestyle comes with plenty of benefits at the cost of productivity and the technology that we’ve increasingly relied on for connection to one another. But is that such a bad thing?

Spending time with loved ones by the fire and revisiting childhood memories and family traditions sounds like something we could use a lot more of. Whether that means working fewer hours or creating a weekly dinner ritual with close friends, we could all stand to have a little more Hygge in life.


[email protected]