Danish author and Hygge expert Meik Wiking has shared his top 10 tips for achieving LEGO Bygge Hygge.
The LEGO Group launched its ‘cosy building’ campaign earlier this month, aiming to encourage fans to break out their bricks in the cold winter period. If you’re unfamiliar with the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-guh), it essentially means the feeling of cosiness (while ‘bygge’ is the Danish word for building – see what they did there?).
To celebrate the launch of the new campaign, author Meik Wiking has now shared his top tips for achieving a state of hygge. “As we’re all currently spending more time indoors, I wanted to provide families with inspiration and tips on how they can enjoy some Bygge Hygge this winter,” Meik tells Brick Fanatics.
In a tale that will be familiar to most of us, Meik’s LEGO love has its roots in childhood. “One of my favourite sayings is: ‘We don’t stop playing because we grow old – we grow old because we stop playing,’ and I think LEGO is something that allows you to keep on being creative, no matter what age you are,” he says.
If you’re still feeling perplexed by this very Scandinavian concept, Meik has given us his top tips for getting into the hygge spirit this winter.
10 – Slow down and enjoy
“Hygge is about relaxing and taking things slow,” he explains. “For instance, søndagshygge – Sunday hygge – is about having a slow Sunday with tea, books, music, blankets and perhaps the occasional walk if things go crazy. Embrace the slowness of these times. Happiness is easier found at home than on distant shores.”
9 – Make time to play, whatever your age
“91% of children say that play makes their parents very happy,” Meik says, quoting the LEGO Play Well Report. Yeah, this one is probably pretty obvious for the majority of us. We’re adults who collect and build with LEGO bricks, after all.
8 – Face-to-face time is key
In the current climate of Zoom get-togethers and remote working, make time for physical connections where you can. “Sitting side by side facing the television has its limits – we need actual face time to connect,” Meik says. “Make sure you have family activities where you face each other. If living alone or if you are socially isolating, digital tools like FaceTime or Skype are a good substitute.”
7 – Cook up a slow roast storm
“When it comes to cooking, the rule of thumb is: the longer a dish takes to cook, the more hyggelig it is,” Meik explains. “Think slow roasts or stews and sourdoughs. Hygge is about enjoying the journey. Start cooking mid-afternoon, and allow your dinner to roast or simmer for a couple of hours, while you have some downtime to relax before dinner is ready.”
6 – Be present
If you want to truly achieve a state of hygge, you’ll need to fully commit yourself. “Hygge is about being present – and not making other people feel that you are really somewhere else,” Meik elaborates. “Try to put your digital devices to one side so you can immerse yourself fully into Hygge!”
5 – Build shelter this winter
“For Danes, hygge happens throughout the year – but is perhaps more needed during winter,” says Meik. “It is about finding shelter and comfort inside when the winter darkness descends. When it is cold, stormy and dark outside, it is high time for hygge.”
4 – Create the perfect night in
“Hygge is often seen as the perfect night in,” Meik says. And under the current circumstances, that sounds like exactly what we all need, to be fair. “Let the stew simmer for hours and bring out the books, some LEGO bricks and enjoy some family building time.”
3 – Work together as a family
“Hygge means putting cooperation over competition,” Meik says, clearly having never seen us play Monopoly or Catan. “We are all on the same side – and when we work together – we will all be better off. Trust and cooperation are the cornerstones of happy societies – big and small.”
2 – Plan quality time with loved ones
If the concept of hygge still feels intangible, it’s because it’s meant to. “First and foremost, hygge is about an atmosphere – about creating a shared moment of connection and togetherness,” Meik explains. “Hygge is about spending quality time with friends and families; about letting our guard down and connecting with our loved ones.”
1 – Take turns sharing things you are grateful for
“Hygge is about making the most of what we have in abundance: the everyday,” Meik says. “Whether you’re appreciating the bright sky outside, your morning coffee, or simply being cosy on the sofa – take time to enjoy these moments.” Basically: remember to stop and smell the roses.