How to do Scandinavian Hygge at Christmas

The Nativ Scandinavia team has just returned from London’s 2016 Christmas edition of Scandimarket, where for three days we could be found indulging in hot cinnamon buns, salmon and egg on dark rye smorrebrod, washed down with strong black coffee, while we manned our stand of Organic Eco kids clothing.

Along with all our market stall neighbours, we had our stands lit up by candlelights, while we cosied up in camping chairs covered by sheepskin and woollen blankets. This may sound like a cosy idyllic way of life, but for native Scandinavians, this is simply a way to kick off the Christmas season and to bring some light and cosiness into the darkest months of the year. And yes, it does get dark in London, too, albeit a few hours later than back home closer to the Arctic Circle.

A buzzword here in UK to best describe these scenarios, is the word originating from Norwegian and Danish - ‘Hygge’, but what exactly does that mean?

Meik Wiking, the Danish founder of The Happiness Research Institute of Copenhagen and the author of "The Little Book of Hygge", writes in his 2016 bestseller, that “Hygge has been called everything from 'the art of creating intimacy', 'cosiness of the soul,' and 'the absence of annoyance' to 'taking pleasure in the presence of soothing things”.

Candlelight is of course a crucial component of hygge, 24/7. Scandinavians are just as likely to light a candle at breakfast in the summer, as they are at night. One area where my British-born partner and I have always disagreed, is my use of candles in the summer, as they make him ‘feel too hot’. It is an essential part of Scandinavian living; we light them at breakfast, at noon and evening, 365 days a year! According to the European Candle Association, Scandinavians burn more candles per head than anywhere in Europe.

Our Eco clothes for children are all about Hygge. After all, they are designed to bring joy and comfort, by taking away any elements of annoyance, and featuring soothing colours and hand-drawn and uplifting Scandi patterns.