Unless you’ve been living peacefully in the folds of a heavily patterned cable knit sweater for the past few months, you may have heard of a thing called hygge.
It’s Danish, and it’s about being cosy, warm, and appreciating the little things in life. It’s apparently what makes the Danes so happy.
But I’m not convinced.
No offence to the Danes – and, just for the record, I’ve never been to Denmark, and don’t know any Danes, so I’m unable to rigorously check my theories on this – but here in the UK we’d been blissfully unaware of hygge for many hundreds of years.
And then along comes 2016, also known as ‘the year the world started to end’, and suddenly hygge is what our lives have been missing.
From nothing, to everywhere. Presumably starting in one of the Sunday supplements, and spreading.
And we’re told that it’s a Danish thing, right? And it’s been there all along? In this country that’s only a few hundred miles from the UK? And we’ve got the internet, and aeroplanes, and Scandi thrillers, and yet this behaviour hasn’t managed to pop up on our collective radar?
That doesn’t sound plausible.
I have two theories.
1. It was invented by western politicians, to stimulate the economy
For a concept loosely based on the rejection of materialism and the embrace of the simple things in life, here in the UK it seems to involve spending surprising amount of cash.
On books, chunky knit jumpers, candles, craft beer, wood burning stoves, nice curtains, and then more books to tell you want to do with all that stuff.
Shops have entire hygge sections, where items you hadn’t previously considered buying are gathered under the hygge umbrella, replete with warming displays and promises of simple pleasure.
As with any new fad here in the UK, hygge boils down to rampant consumerism. It’s a hygge tax, or a happy tax, and it sounds like one of former Chancellor George Osborne’s scams.
And let’s be honest, he always looks pretty happy with life.
Or, and perhaps more likely…
2. It was invented by WordPress
Equally plausibly, could hygge be the creation of WordPress – the platform of choice for many of the world’s bloggers – to address a crisis in the blogosphere?
As has become apparent over the past few months, all the blogging niches have now been used.
Successful blogs are usually dependent on a niche of some sort – the more zeitgeist-y, the better – and WordPress are dependent on blogs as the very life-blood of all that they do.
I have my suspicions that once this shortage reared its head, WordPress set their finest minds to work on a solution. Rumour has it they’ve created a sophisticated niche generator to solve the problem, capable of creating lifestyle choices of staggering specificity.
A fully formed niche comes out the other end. Like a sausage. None of us can truly know the ingredients but we devour it nonetheless.
If someone tells us it’s Danish, and revolves around mood lighting and wood-smoke, then hey – as long as we can wring a few blog posts out of it, we WordPress users are all ears.
I see only one solution – I’ll have to selflessly set sail for Copenhagen, pen and pad in hand, and carry out my own research for: “In search of hygge: one blogger’s journey into the heart of happiness.”
In the meantime, I’ll be watching WordPress like a hawk to see what hot topics roll off the press next.
I’ve never knowingly missed a bandwagon yet.