You may have heard us use dutch term gezellig before, or talk about the act of gezelligheid. Gezellig is one of our favorite phrases–a main principle and inspiration for us here at Bloomscape. Gezellig loosely translates to a warm, cozy feeling. Who wouldn’t want a more gezellig holiday? Here’s how we foster gezelligheid not only during the holiday season but all year long.
Gezellig differs from it’s famous cousin hygge in that hygge refers to a more physical feeling of coziness (think warm blankets, wool socks, and steaming mugs of your favorite warm beverage sipped slowly in front of a crackling fire), while gezellig captures the emotional essence of cozy–that warm emotional feeling you get when you’re surrounded by your favorite people, engaging in great conversation over a shared meal, simply enjoying each other’s company.
Another difference between gezellig and hygge: togetherness. Hygge nods to solitude and quiet moments, while gezellig implies some sort of social aspect. Board or card games after an incredible meal with friends and family = very gezellig.
Think of gezellig and gezelligheid as the holiday gathering itself, and hygge as the time following the gathering when you return home to relax.
A big part of the spirit of gezelligheid is gift-giving! When invited to a meal or gathering, the Dutch never show up empty-handed. A gift is always given to the host or hostess. Whether a bottle of wine to enjoy together or a houseplant the host will enjoy for years to come, gestures of generosity are key to gezelligheid.
Sure, physical warmth and coziness are nice, but the warmth you feel from spirited conversation, belly-laughs, and general fun-having with your favorite people? That’s the stuff. Kids running around, festive music playing, and guests chatting in the kitchen as the meal is prepared are elements of peak gezellig coziness. The Dutch like to sit around and chat. Did you know they actually have a word for hanging around after the meal when everyone is stuffed and happy, just enjoying each other’s company and conversation? It’s “natafelen,” which quite literally translates to “after table-ing.”
If a single phrase could sum-up the essence of gezelligheid, it just might be natafelen. Tell us how you’ll cultivate gezelligheid this holiday season. Will you be practicing natafelen?