Hygge, Gezellig & ‘Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin’

I.AM.Sooooo behind the eight-ball on this one! Have you heard of the word “HYGGE” (pronounced Hoo-gah)? It was THE word of 2016…and I’m just getting around to it now..ugh! Similar to the post I did on coincidences the word “hygge” has entered my life frequently and randomly for the past seven months.

It all started last July when I did a non-simultaneous home exchange with a lovely family from Copenhagen. When I returned home my guests had left a lovely note and a candlestick, telling me that my home was so hygge. I looked up the word and found out that it means “cozy, contentment and well-being” and was so flattered that my home conveyed this feeling to their family. Of course when I went to Copenhagen for the World Rowing Masters Regatta in September the word hygge kept popping up here and there, but I wasn’t paying much attention….much to my dismay now.

It is not only a Danish word, but it’s practically a national ethos that the Danish have embedded in their culture.  Think fireplaces, big woolly sweaters, blankets, candles and an overall feeling of a big hug. Knowing my guests felt that warmth just by inhabiting my home for a week got me verklempt! It’s totally how I feel about my home…as I assume you do yours…but to have someone else tell me that just warmed my heart.

I need to back track now. I have a thing for phrases and have had many Wall-Words up in my home over the years…you know those little phrases that you order online, they come in a roll and you just stick them to the wall. Well the previous ones I’d had in my home had all been painted over with my detour move to the beach. Now that I was back home, I was itching to put up some wall words…so, after my exchange and trip to Copenhagen, “hygge” seemed perfect. I didn’t want to put up just one word randomly, when I had an epiphany! In thinking back I realized that my friend & neighbor, Bernie, had come into my house years ago and said, ” your home is so gezellig!” (pronounced heh-SELL-ick) …..and my friend, Gina, from Ireland with whom I did my first home exchange, said to me “You need to put up ‘Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin'” (I’m not going to even mess with that pronunciaton…click here)  Gezellig is Dutch (Bernie is from Amsterdam) and loosely translated as “cozy” or “heartwarming.” ‘Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin’ is Irish and translates to “there’s no hearth like your own hearth” or “there’s no place like home.”

wall words in my kitchen

So, those were my words. I ordered them, put them up on my wall leading to the kitchen right before Thanksgiving and that was that….FABULOUS!

….and then I read an article in the NY Times this past Sunday and thought, “Wow, I am so on trend!” and asked Taylor and Kate if they had heard of this word. Not only had they heard it, they both knew all about it, Kate sent me another earlier article in the NY Times …and my ensuing research showed that, yes, I was on trend, but way behind in the trending!

the Paris bistro corner of my kitchen

Here’s what I found out….

a cozy little NYC corner of my bedroom

So why not take a lesson from the Danish and add a little hygge to your life this weekend. Throw a log on the fire, light some candles, invite some friends over (or not) and enjoy the beauty and warmth that emanates from your home and life!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!


  1. LOVE it! Such a warm, positive message. Yes, your home is a warm hug…and inspires others to do the same. Thanks for introducing us all to Wall Words…sharing the message.

  2. Absolutely, I will always remember your home as a warm hug. It exudes warmth & welcome. I’m so glad you posted the photo of the Danish words over your kitchen. I forgot to take a photo of it!

  3. Love this – the words, the idea, the photos, your house that is a home. I’m inspired, and in awe of your travels. One of these days maybe we can catch up and I can really hear about them. (Yeah, that probably won’t happen.)

    Great job Jeanine.

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