Hygge is gathering friends around the fire for conversation and warm drinks.

© Melynda Harrison/Polar Bears International

1/29/2016 10:00:45 PM

Hygge for Polar Bears

By Melynda Harrison, PBI Social Media Manager  

My family looks forward to winter every year. Sitting around a bonfire in the snow, sipping hot cocoa in the woods, cross-country skiing with friends, and soaking in hot springs are all elements of our winter fun.

A few years ago, I discovered the concept of hygge (pronounced "hYOOgah"), which perfectly sums of the feeling we try to foster during the dark part of year - at least here in the northern hemisphere.

What is hygge? It's a Norwegian word that the Danes co-opted and expanded. It means coziness, but more than that.

VisitDenmark.com says, "In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family - that's hygge too. There's nothing more hygge than sitting round a table, discussing the big and small things in life. Perhaps hygge explains why the Danes are the happiest people in the world?"

Doesn't that sound lovely?

We want you to be as happy as the Danes, and we want polar bears to be happy, too. On International Polar Bear Day (February 27) we are asking you to take the Thermostat Challenge. When you turn the thermostat down (in cold areas) a degree or two, or up (in warm areas) you will use less energy produced by carbon-based fuels, reducing carbon emissions. This can slow and even stop global warming, in turn saving the polar bear's sea ice habitat. 

When you embrace hygge, you'll warm up without raising the thermostat, so polar bears can cool down. Gather your friends and family for hyggelit (hygge-like) time. We think you'll appreciate the sense of comradeship, conviviality, and contentment while minimizing your carbon emissions for polar bears.

Once you've generated your own hygge, show us how you did it. Share photos of winter coziness on social media with #PolarBearDay, #ThermostatChallenge, #WinterCoziness

As for my family, we'll be turning down the thermostat, donning sweaters and hats, and gathering with friends to celebrate winter, hygge, and polar bears. 

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