Think about some of your warmest memories—drinking wine and reminiscing with girlfriends, chatting with your mom while she whips up a batch of your favourite muffins, having a dinner date that leads to cocktails that leads to stargazing by the water because neither of you want the night to end—that’s hygge. It’s finding happiness in the every day, and all you need to be able to attain it is to know about it.
Some say the Danish word is pronounced “hooga” but according to Marie Tourell Søderberg, author of Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness, it’s like this: The “y” is similar to the French “y” sound—think “huge,” and the “gge” sounds like the first syllable in “girl.” But, it doesn’t really matter how you say "hygge"—you just need to get it. And to get it, you need to know where it comes from.
Hygge originates from a Norwegian word that means “well-being,” and in English, it means “coziness,” but it’s much more than that. Hygge is appreciating the little things in life. It’s “all the small things that make us feel safe, loved and satisfied,” says Søderberg. Hygge is doing things with warmth and joy, being present in the moment, and having a feeling of home—in other words, the Danish way of life.
Denmark is ranked as one of the happiest nations in the world, and hygge is likely an “ingredient in the Danish recipe for happiness,” says author Meik Wiking in his book, The Little Book of Hygge. Compared to other Europeans, Danes “meet most often with their friends and family and feel the calmest and most peaceful.” And that’s why there’s a growing interest in hygge.
Books on the subject are quickly filling up store shelves—a simple Indigo search will pull up more than five books on hygge, all of which have come out in the later half of 2016 (including Søderberg’s and Wiking’s) or will be coming out in the early months of 2017—just in time for winter, which is pretty much the reason why hygge exists.
In her book, Søderberg says, “It originated due to the need to create joy, warmth and togetherness in a country that boasts long, cold winters”—something Canadians can relate to. Hygge encourages you to embrace the cold months instead of waiting for the sun to shine again. But, anyone, anywhere, can enjoy the benefits of hygge any time of year, as it’s all about sharing moments with those you love, indulging in comfort foods, and taking in the sights and sounds around you.
Understanding hygge and having a name for it helps you recognize it and look for it in your day-to-day life. “Including it in our daily narratives and language makes us aware of the qualities of the word. Saying, ‘let’s hygge tonight,’ states a clear intention of what qualities we want our evening to have—presence, lovingness, relaxed, informal—all these qualities in one word,” says Søderberg.
Intimate candlelit dinner parties, mulled wine by a fire and ice skating under twinkling lights are classic hygge moments, but it can also be found when you're not expecting it. Hygge can happen in the least hyggelig (the adjective form of “hygge”) locations or in those in-between moments throughout your day—like when you're hiding from the rain under an awning with a friend, listening to a sax player as you wait for the next subway to arrive, or laughing with your sister over the phone.
Although hygge can happen anywhere, the most common place for it is at home, so it helps to make your living quarters feel warm, safe and welcoming—think candles, warm textiles and plenty of personal touches. In Søderberg’s book, she shares decorating advice from Nordic interior design expert Christina B. Kjeldsen: “The hygge comes when you feel that the person behind the surroundings is completely comfortable with his or her choices, but at the same time isn’t afraid of decorating intuitively and trying out new things and ideas…When you put thoughtfulness into how and why you have chosen to surround yourself with particular furniture, objects, art, flowers, knick-knacks, curtains—whatever—then you relax and your guests will see and know you for who you are.”
But, it’s important not to feel pressure to create a perfect space or occasion and force hygge. Decorate your space for you and not how you think it should be, and let moments unfold naturally—something that can be all too rare in this social media age. Søderberg warns, “The most hyggelig evening can look like a disaster in a picture, and opposite—the least hyggelig can look like a perfect evening.” But, if you have a true hyggling moment, it’ll be a “piece of art to capture the exact sense of an atmosphere in a photo.”
So, keep hygge on your mind. Make plans to hygge, be present in every moment, and soak up life's glories. And if you do, you’ll be gifted with the ability to, as Søderberg says, “[find] the magic in the ordinary.”
Photography by Mat Dunlap<br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> Po
Measha Brueggergosman's voice is otherworldly, but her roots are firmly planted in the Maritimes. Born and raised in Fredericton, she still thinks of the city as home—and that's where you'll find her when she's not performing.
On a Wednesday night In Fredericton, you can likely find Measha Brueggergosman with her braids up and hat on, drink in hand, catching a reggae set at The Capital Complex, a live music venue. Saturday mornings are reserved for the Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market, where there's a buffet of delicacies that mirrors Canada's multicultural flavour: Dutch sausages, Indian samosas, Greek souvlaki, German pastries and, let's not forget, the cheese counter. The next day, she'll be front row of her brother Neville's parish in nearby Maugerville to attend his 5:17 p.m. service (the start time is a nod to 2 Corinthians 5:17, a Bible verse about recreating yourself).
It was between the pews of her church and her grade school's music room that Measha, now widely considered one of the foremost sopranos of her generation, found her voice. By her teenage years, she had blossomed into the city performer, singing at every function, from bar mitzvahs to funerals. "Fredericton is a very musical community. I enjoyed a lot of early music education, and it's what set me on the path that I'd eventually take. I had access to many performance opportunities in the way only a small town could afford, which nurtured my desire to entertain," she says.
Measha has always felt a deep connection to her hometown, but she discovered more about her East Coast roots during the filming of Who Do You Think You Are?, the hit genealogy docuseries. She traced her family's history from slavery in Revolution-era America to their eventual freedom in Eastern Canada. She also learned that her ancestors hailed from Cameroon; they descend from the Bassa, a Bantu-speaking tribe known for its musical prowess. This revelation, and her family's past, is a recurring theme in Measha's new and most personal Christmas album, Songs of Freedom, a collection of traditional and spiritual songs that have been given modern arrangements.
Now, staring out her window, she spies the lobster pound bustling with activity before it closes for the year. She, too, is hard at work—writing her memoir, which she wants to finish before blowing out the candles on her 40th birthday cake this June. There's a lot to cover: her ancestral ties to the East Coast; her childhood in Fredericton; her journey to operatic stardom; her stories of pain and loss (she underwent emergency open-heart surgery at 32 and, only a few years later, suffered more heartache with the loss of her unborn twins). She knows she still has years of life to experience, but she wants to share what she's learned—up to this point, at least.
For now, though, Measha is relishing the East Coast scene. She'll soon be embarking on another international tour, but until then, she'll be in a tiny fishing village outside of Fredericton, where her dad has owned land for years, writing, eating lobster every day until season's end and soaking in the sights, sounds and views of home. "I like that my home base is here," she says.
Three insider tips from star soprano and Fredericton native Measha Brueggergosman.
1. Check out the music scene
"Lamèque is an island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, just off the Acadian Peninsula. They have a music festival, the Lamèque International Baroque Music Festival, that's a destination for the world's music experts. People go because it's this utopia. It's hard to get to, but it's so worth it."
2. Eat at The Dip
"I would argue that the best 24-hour restaurant in the Maritimes is The Diplomat—which everyone calls The Dip—in Fredericton. It looks like a cross between the set of 9 1/2 Weeks and your stylish grandmother's living room. I get the special fried rice and bring it home to my parents."
3. Grab a coffee at Jonnie Java Roasters
"You have to go downtown to Jonnie's for the coffee. They were the first to roast their own beans, like 10 years ago. I would say they're the best at it."
Anti aging cream Image by: Getty Images
Navigating the world of anti-aging products can be daunting. Find out which skin superstars our experts deem worthy of adding to your beauty arsenal.
What: The number one dermatologist-approved must-do: sunscreen! A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects skin from UVA (the aging rays) and UVB (the burning rays), sun rays that can lead to skin cancer and skin damage.
Why: “Ninety percent of aging comes from photo damage (a result of sun-exposed skin), therefore sunscreen is the best way to prevent aging and sun damage. Don’t even look outside at the weather. Just put it on,” insists dermatologist Dr. Julia Carroll. Dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett agrees, and emphasizes the importance of using sunscreen every single day, no matter the season. Just hopping into the car or working in an office? “The sun can penetrate through windows, too,” she advises.
How: Look for sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply it in the morning before your moisturizer or choose a moisturizer with built-in sunscreen. Don’t forget to apply it to the neck, chest and back of hands. For a fuss-free option, look for a clear sunblock spray that’s alcohol-based and dry to the touch.
What: Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and its biggest job is to promote collagen production, helping to increase skin turnover while removing dead cells.
Why: It acts as a light peel. In the short term, dull-looking skin will be replaced with a healthy glow.
How: Choose a 1% retinol–based serum, which your skin will absorb better than a cream, suggests Dr. Kellett. It will tingle and can be a little irritating, so use it at night and when you’re out of the sun. Apply it after you’ve washed your face and before you apply moisturizer, or add a drop or two (depending on the season and your skin’s sensitivity) to your favourite moisturizer. This step will help more sensitive skin tolerate the retinol.
3. Vitamin C
What: It is a powerful topical antioxidant, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and prevent photo aging and photo damage. Specifically, look for L-ascorbic acid, one form of vitamin C.
Why: It helps fight sun damage. Vitamin C mops up the free radicals (molecules in the skin that cause damage) that can lead to photo aging (aging from the sun).
How: Depending on your skin type, look for products that contain up to 20% Vitamin C, suggests Dr. Kellett. Incorporate it into your morning routine and follow with sunscreen. “Sunscreen and vitamins C and E are great partners, working well together to create a super combo,” says Dr. Carroll.
What: “Found in red wine, specifically in the skin of its grapes, resveratrol is an antioxidant with a bit of a sexy history,” says Dr. Carroll. Plants produce resveratrol as a response to injury.
Why: It works to repair skin damage caused by the sun. It also helps increase skin firmness, elasticity and radiance.
How: Use it at night. It will work to repair the skin while you sleep. Apply it to a cleansed face. It can be used in combination with retinol.
Over 50 and fabulous? Our guide to aging gracefully helps you choose the skincare, hair and makeup products that are right for you.
Cherry Icebox Cookies
Any of these traditional cookies are sure to be a hit at your cookie exchange.
These red and green-speckled cookies are the perfect way to spread the festive spirit.
Get the recipe: Cherry Icebox Cookies
Everyone loves chewy toffee and melted chocolate. Mixing the two into a net little shortbread cup is a brilliant way to unite these two decadent treats.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Cups
Canada, meet your new favourite cookie.
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Eggnog is a rich indulgence, and these cookies live up to the name.
Get the recipe: Iced Eggnog Cookies
The holidays wouldn't be complete without sweet, buttery shortbread, so we've perfected a classic.
Get the recipe: The Ultimate Shortbread Cookies
Buttery shortbread gets a warm hug from spiced gingerbread dough in this mash-up of two favourite holiday cookies.
Get the recipe: Two-Tone gingerbread and shortbread cookies
Tested Till Perfect.
Get the recipe: Gingerbread Cookies
Rich dark chocolate and fragrant orange zest make these cookies ultra-sophisticated.
Get the recipe: Dark Chocolate, Orange and Cardamon Icebox cookies
Sweet chocolate chips and crunchy toffee bits give these buttery cookies a festive touch.
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Easy to make and undeniably popular, thumbprint cookies are the perfect no-fuss holiday sweet.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
These cookies may look intricate, but they couldn't be simpler to make.
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Cinnamon and sugar make these cookies smell like everyone's favourite holiday breakfast.
Get the recipe: Cinnamon Roll Cookies
Use this classic ginger cookie dough to create four deliciously different ginger cookies.
Get the recipe: Basic Ginger Cookie Dough
Coarse sugar coats these delightful cookies, giving them an icy glow.
Get the recipe: Chewy Ginger Sparkles
Similar to French shortbread cookies called sables, these treats have a slightly sandy texture and rich flavour.
Get the recipe: Double Chocolate Icebox Cookies