I have always struggled to understand what the Danish word “Hugge”, pronounced “hoo-ga”, means.

According to the dictionary, Hugge is “a quality of cosiness (feeling warm, comfortable, and safe) that comes from doing simple things such as lighting candles, baking, or spending time at home with your family.” I also really like the following definition: “the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things”, according to the land of Nord.

But Hugge is more about a lifestyle, a state of mind.

Being married to a Dane and having spent a lot of time in Denmark, I am starting to understand and value it but most importantly, I have personalized it. I have created my own personal rituals that make me feel comfortable and happy. 

Of course, there has been a lot of press articles explaining what Hugge means. It has become a buzzword but other cultures are still struggling to understand what it really means. This time, I wanted to share my own interpretation of it.

I now practice Hugge at home very often to disconnect from the stressful and hectic New York reality, specially when it’s cold and grey outside. For me, it is all about enjoying a moment of intimate coziness in a home filled with natural materials, flowers, candles, with an organic hot chocolate or a glass of red wine, next to a beautiful open fire which crackles in the background. Candles are very important in Denmark and are also a very important aspect of Hugge. Candles are scientifically proven to soothe us. The gentle, quality of their light makes them a perfect aid for any relaxation routine. It’s personally my favorite part. Having grown up in Paris, France, Cire Trudon candles have always been very special to me. We always had a candle or two burning in the house. These candles are a trip back to history as it is the world’s oldest candlemaker still active today. 

Founded by the Trudon family, it has provided candles to France’s cathedrals and nobility since 1643. Most famously, the Trudons supplied all the candles of Versailles on a daily basis, serving the Sun King, Louis XIV, during his reign. My absolute favorite is the ‘Spiritus Sancti’ candle and room spray, inspired by the “heady and holy perfume” of cathedral altars. This truly reminds me of the smell of an old beautiful Parisian apartment. It’s the smell of my childhood. I also like to use Carriere Freres’ Jasminum Officinale candles during spring or summer, also made by Cire Trudon.

Hugge is about creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the little simple things in life. By making these small changes to your life, everyone can practice this art– wherever you are.

Perhaps Hugge is the reason why Denmark is regularly voted one of the happiest countries in the world.