Having returned to NYC from a week in Iowa, fresh on the heels of the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to write today about something for which I’m extremely grateful.

My high school piano and voice teacher, Jenn, introduced my family to the idea of hygge several years ago. To my understanding, hygge is a Danish noun reflecting the feeling you have when you’re wrapped in a blanket with a cup of coffee on a snowy day, or leaning in toward a campfire with your family on a chilly night. Sort of exactly like this:

actual moment captured from the Sullivan/Swift/Gritton 2018 Thanksgiving

actual moment captured from the Sullivan/Swift/Gritton 2018 Thanksgiving

Since learning the word, my mom has gone all out on the idea of hygge. She has designed every corner of her home to facilitate coziness, warmth, and community. Examples: there are no fewer than 30 candles placed in strategic locations around the common spaces of her house. She has a fireplace that is lit 90% of the day. There is always coffee brewing, always a bottle of wine open, and the proverbial door is always open.

My Thanksgiving holiday was a prime example of this Danish concept of coziness, and so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on this in gratitude. Having spent a year and a half living in NYC at this point, it’s often difficult to feel any sense of warmth, coziness, or community. The hustle, the noise, and the ambition are all diametrically opposed to the feeling of hygge.

So as I get back into the swing of work, practice, and city-living, I want to recommit to bringing a little hygge into my life each day. I want to light candles, go to a dark pub with friends, and drink my coffee in solitude on a rainy day (much like today). I believe that making this deeply restorative time a regular practice for myself will only help me grow as an artist, by encouraging me to be quiet for a bit and listen to the still small voices.

What are your favorite ways to practice hygge?