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Hygge, happiness and the real wood fire experience

Posted by Stewart Mcilroy on 4 January 2017 at 12:05 pm

Hygge (pronounced hooga) as you may know is the Danish word for a certain sort of happiness. This is not the happiness from buying new stuff (if, in fact, that actually makes you happy) or the happiness from winning at sport, but a type of contentment happiness where one has a warm glow and is at ease. The Danes are quite a happy bunch and would seem to have it all, as opposed to other nations (no clues needed) who seem to have the wealth, but not the happiness.

What has happiness got to do with a real wood fire?

Well, Hygge comes easiest in a Hygge friendly environment. Examples of Hygge environments are drinking tea with your mum, sharing an impromptu beer with a good friend, watching a happy film in good company, a cold clear winter morning with fresh snow etc. Different things for different people, but you get the theme. But one thing that is definitely Hygge for most people, is a real wood fire – in my case, a wood burning stove.

To share one of my best and recent Hygge moments. It involved two of my loved ones (wife and daughter). The wood burner was glowing fuelled by logs I had foraged, cut, stacked and seasoned myself. Indeed some of the logs may have come from my own woodland (the subject of another blog). And we were sat together on a recycled sofa (found in the street with a “please give me a good home” sign) watching a good Danish box set entitled “Vikings” on my daughter’s laptop. The Vikings basically covers those Danes coming over here and pillaging but also shows their sensitive side. Which is nice.

So that is one of my ultimate Hygge experiences, drinking tea with my two Valkyries watching Danish TV with the glow of one’s own wood burner in the background. As they say in Vikings, “Shield wall” – well you need to watch it!

What delivers that real wood fire experience?

The most economical and efficient type of real wood fire experience is delivered by a wood burning stove, advises YouGen member installer Frank McElroy of Ecoliving (Central Southern England):

“Even in houses with the most modern heating systems, customers want a source of radiant warmth they can gather around and see the flames. A wood burning stove is the option I recommend as an open fire leads to heat loss from the whole house up the chimney. A wood burning stove gives the same warm flame effect without the draughts.”

Image credit: Stewart Mcilroy

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