What comes to mind when you hear the word “cozy”? Is it a cup of tea? A rainy day? A roaring fire? A favorite sweater? Jury duty?
(Bear with me here . . . )
For the past few years, cozy has been trending everywhere you look. It started with the Danes and their hygge and has taken the internet by storm. And it’s no wonder. In a world that feels increasingly unsettled, we are all looking for the comfort that cozy things have to offer. But Cozy: The Art of Arranging Yourself in the World takes the concept a bit further. Author Isabel Gillies delves deep into what cozy really means, and some of her answers might surprise you.
co•zy /‘kо̄zē/ (Brit. cosy) > adj. giving a feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation • intimate and relaxed • avoiding or not offering challenge or difficulty • working to the mutual advantage of those involved > n. a cover to keep a teapot hot > v. give a feeling of comfort or complacency • snuggle up to someone or something • ingratiate oneself with
origin: early 18th cent. (Originally Scots): of unknown origin
In sections titled You, Home, Neck of the Woods, Journey, When It Feels Hard, & Recipes, Gillies considers various aspects of cozy. And while she does include things you might expect, like rainy days, candles, and warm soup, she also suggests that there is coziness to be found in jury duty and hospital rooms.
While I’m not so sure she’s convinced me about jury duty, she did get me thinking about coziness in hospitals. The hacker was born with a cleft palate and had his first surgery at 11 months. Cozy is not the word I would have chosen to describe that hospital stay at the time. But looking back, some of the things I remember most are the three of us together in one dimly lit room, the sound of hushed voices and footsteps of nurses going by at night, the little room down the hall that was stocked with all kinds of soft foods and little rubber spoons to feed him with, and curling up with him in the giant hospital crib because he wouldn’t sleep in it alone. So, there was coziness of a sort.
Gillies goes on to say that while cozy means something different to each of us, all human beings instinctively desire it, and while coziness can come from physical comfort and warmth, it also stems from feelings of belonging and security. The things that make us feel cozy help us to cope in times of uncertainty and difficulty. She makes a very effective example of refugees in camps who add personal touches to their spaces. No matter where we are or what circumstances we find ourselves in, we are innately wired to make the place we call home, however temporarily, a little more cozy.
Looking for some cozy inspiration? Check out my Cozy board on Pinterest!
Reading this book got me thinking about what I think of as cozy. While I agreed with several of Gillies’ suggestions, there were others that didn’t seem cozy to me at all. It’s fascinating how different our ideas of cozy can be. I started my own cozy list, and so far it has 80 entries. Eighty!
At just 12 years old, the ballerina is a master of cozy. She loves Christmas lights, warm drinks, and fuzzy blankets. When it starts to cloud up and thunder in the afternoon, and we’ve finished school and have nowhere else to go for the day, she immediately starts lighting candles, hoping for a power outage, begging for a pot of tea, and insisting we all sit around the coffee table and play Clue. It doesn’t get much cozier than that.
If you’re a lover of all things cozy, check out Cozy: The Art of Arranging Yourself in the World. Because it’s divided into short chapters, it’s easy to pick up whenever you have a few minutes. I read it at bedtime each night and found it a perfect way to wind down and relax at the end of the day.
Need to add a little cozy to your life?
Check out one of these cozy reads:
The New York Times bestselling author of Happens Every Day, Isabel Gillies, presents a fresh and inspiring look at the subtle art of cozy—part manifesto, part lifestyle guide, part memoir—that shows fans of The Little Book of Hygge that true comfort comes from within.
The Little Book of Hygge
Why are Danes the happiest people in the world? The answer, says Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, is Hygge. Loosely translated, Hygge—pronounced Hoo-ga—is a sense of comfort, togetherness, and well-being.
With their overscheduled lifestyles, Americans can’t always find time for the people and things they love. Enter American Cozy, which uses the Danish phenomenon of hygge—comfort, togetherness, and well-being—to bring coziness and ease to readers’ homes, work, and lives.
What are some things that make you feel cozy?
Comment & let me know. Does jury duty make your list?