Hygge, Lagom and why we love Scandinavia during wintertime
Each winter there is one thing for sure happening: we fall in love with Scandinavian countries. Why is that you may ask? Well, there can be tons of explanations to that. What I love are the following
- It is cold outside: therefore we do love to stay indoors
- Oh those Scandinavian winter pullover patterns which are now also happily features on: blankets, duvets, cups, pictures not to mention the Scandinavian butter cookies do make us feel all cosy and happy, especially when we arrive home from the cold.
- The sight of a fireplace with the snow outside is something we are all yearning for every single Christmas time. And yes, no doubt, in Scandinavia the existence of snow during wintertime is not a question.
- Santa comes from Finland. Isn’t that enough of a justification alone?
- The Swedish meatballs…yummy
- IKEA and their own way of representing the Swedish winter lifestyle
Scandinavians pop up every once in a while and most often than not this all can be somehow connected to wintertime and being relaxed. Scandinavian crime stories are a huge hit, after the much scary books of Jo Nesbo and others have started to appear. The natural wooden Scandinavian furniture has been a star from among furniture designers for an even longer time. But winter, I feel always has that little extra twist. It’s the time of the year we all want to become Scandinavians ourselves if only just for the Christmas season.
This past year there has been some huge trends among the lifestyle or concept fans: the Danish Hygge. Then came another Scandinavian lifestyle, as well as accomplished as its Danish counterpart and it’s called Lagom.
Much like Zen or Islam, these lifestyles are not merely represented in buying a specific sort of food or furnishing our rooms a specific way: they are rather a large collection of various life elements such as habits, hobbies, to-dos, how-tos and of course, some philosophy to pass with them.
I have seen several books being published about both Hygge and Lagom. Which is funny (but props to the writers who can definitely earn a lot of extra cash with something that can be pretty much described in about 5 pages). But also I must add, the books were edited very nicely and they make a pretty present to a friend or a family member. But now to save you some extra time, let me give you a brief introduction to both these lifestyles and tell you about its pros and cons as well.
The concept of Hygge: this is a Danish/Norwegian word which we surprisingly spell as Hooga ( for real) which literally means cosiness and anything that makes you feel warm and pleasant inside.
You may thing all lifestyle concepts should be rather hard and too deep for us simple humans to understand. But in real Hygge is all about cosiness and getting cosy. And that’s it. But the same way as book “writers” won’t be getting rich by writing just one key sentence, I am kind of forced to elaborate on something that’s really so simple. So let’s see how else I can describe Hygge
- It means you enjoy yourself while not particularly doing anything special
- Enjoying yourself relaxing in a couch ( by the fireplace wrapped in a fluffy blanket if you can afford that)
- Having some sweets, a sip of wine or just eat or drink whatever makes you feel happy
- Danish really love the Hygge feeling especially during the long Danish winters and particularly concentrating on Christmas time. There are hundreds of candles lighting the streets, tons of lightbulbs, pleasant little shops, old-time streets in the old districts of Copenhagen and other cities which look much like those lovely Cotswolds villages in England.
- And this is it! It’s all about feeling great when it’s cold outside, enjoying the company of ourselves and our beloved ones and being in good mood. I personally think this is not really a concept that should be connected to any sort of a nationality, but this way it’s much bigger of a business ( books coming with Danish recipes and words which are really hard for us to spell) so let’s accept it the way it is. Hygge is now represented in interior design, fashion design and it’s a huge trend ( I wonder how they can really make this out of something that general but they in fact do).
The most “Hygge” things to do during wintertime
- Large scarves: in fact so large they can be used as blankets or ponchos too
- Anything large-knitted- they are cosy, they look cool and they are dead expensive
- Warm wool socks – I love them
- The smell or apple pie ( or the apple pie itself)
- A good meal
- A cup of warm cocoa
- A book of Agatha Christie
- turning your bathroom into a day spa
If you want to be more Hygge check out all the world famous Danish sweets, get some Danish cocoa powder from your grocery shop and the cosmetics of Ole Henricksen which are said to be all natural and some of the best for your skin ( you can order them if you live in the US, UK and in the key countries of Europe).
And this is it Have a Hygge Christmas!
All about Lagom
And now after enjoying all the festivities, let’s talk about Lagom which is the concept of consciousness.
We are getting off the shores of dreamy Denmark and we are off to sail to the shores of the much more realistic Sweden the founder of another concept, that’s well known in Sweden and now it’s out like a hidden secret to conquer the world.
Lagom is not something that’s unfamiliar to us: we can clearly say we all go to IKEA. Some of us are avid fans of IKEA and IKEA is all about re-use, recycle, being more economical, spare and save up and do a good deal of charity. There is nothing Christmassy about Lagom, it’s realistic, raw and it’s the concept of those who think about the future.
LAGOM if we want to be simple and realistic is the lifestyle our grandparents used to live, during and after the great wars which really shook the whole world and left much of poverty and hopelessness behind. Imagine why is that, that your grandparents would not drop anything, would eat all their food and expect much of the same from you their grandchildren? Because they grew up learning that everything counts. You can reuse stuff, recycle stuff, give clothes to another relative and overall there is no way anything could be thrown away until it’s dead sure its empty and its box also cannot be used for anything of sense
LAGOM is about preparing for the future: going all bio, natural, using recycled wood for your furniture, avoid harmful chemicals, learn how to reuse all those home leftovers which noone wants to ever eat again. It teaches us to switch to A++ items because this way we can save tons of energy (too bad these cost roughly 3 times as much as a normal “A” product) also it teaches us to swap our normal lightbulbs and use LED as it’s way more economical.
Also the concept is about the following:
- Avoiding littering
- Avoiding the explicit or overuse of much of anything. Always keep in the middle
- Avoiding the use of harsh chemicals
- Always trying to find the ways to reuse things, food or anything else
- Never try to get more than what’s just enough. This means you would want to eat two pieces of cake but because everyone’s eating one piece you keep yourself to this, in order to be thoughtful and also in order to not unlike the others.
There are also some disadvantages of LAGOM
- Advertising being average as something which should be kept as a norm
- Taking just what’s enough leads to an empty life
- In younger groups in Sweden Lagom is also used as to describe something or someone who is endlessly average, boring, gray.
IKEA has a few pages solely dedicated to talking about Lagom lifestyle, so if you are interested pay them a visit.
Let me know what you think what’s good about these concepts, why we love Scandinavia during wintertime and if you are fan or any of the two concepts.
If you want to learn more about Scandinavian Christmas definitely check out Christie’s Christmas series which she shoot in Norway a few years back! And if you have been to one or more Scandinavian countries during Christmas time, please share how it was.
I hope you all like this post and now I’m off to cook some Swedish meatballs for the first time 🙂
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone in advance!
I will try to blog more but just in case I would not have the time 🙂