Còsagach Is the New Hygge
Here’s how to implement the hottest lifestyle trend of 2018.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 7:52 AM
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Move over, Hygge: There’s a new foreign—and ’gram-friendly—lifestyle trend in town. Introducing Còsagach, a term hailing from Scotland that loosely translates to feeling sheltered and content. According to VisitScotland, it’s the next big thing.
But how is Còsagach different from its Danish counterpart? Well, it’s not really: Both espouse similar principles of warmth and coziness. The main difference is that it’s of Scottish extraction, meaning that the recommended activities for achieving peak Còsagach are tailored to the country’s traditions; for example, VisitScotland suggests you “bag a Munro” (AKA climb one of Scotland’s many mountains) before retreating indoors to sit in front of a fire.
That said, if you live somewhere with a distinct lack of Munros ready to be bagged, there are still many ways you can replicate this trend. Like Hygge, Còsagach is more of a feeling and can be achieved in various ways. Whether you fortuitously live in a wooden cabin full of rustic touches and a working fireplace or call a 500-square-foot city apartment home, here are some small ways to incorporate this new trend to your life. Bundle up.
Find a fireplace
The cardinal rule of Còsagach is keeping warm, and the easiest way to do so is undeniably by a fire. Dress up your own fireplace with some decorative touches and curl up in front of one with a good book and a hot drink. Don’t have a built-in fireplace at home? Head to a local bar or restaurant that does have one, or go the extra mile and book a weekend getaway at a small inn or bed and breakfast. Upstate New York’s Inns of Aurora is a favorite.
And worst comes to worse, you can always fake a fireplace.
Indulge in some comfort food
Frigid temperatures call for indulgent eats—save the smoothie bowls for June. Luckily for carb aficionados everywhere, comfort food is part of the Còsagach philosophy, as eating and drinking play an important role in Scottish hospitality. Think: hearty pub foods and decadent crock pot dishes. Half Baked Harvest’s crockpot cider braised short ribs with sage butter mashed potatoes recipe is a good place to start.
Combine outdoor and indoor activity
Given the natural beauty of Scotland and the emphasis on outdoorsiness, it’s no surprise that Còsagach includes the great outdoors. The key is blending outdoor-indoor activities, which both ensures you make the most of all the colder season has to offer and guards against potential frostbite. End a day of skiing with a dip in the hot tub or bath, and take a brisk morning walk followed by a lunch of hot soup by the fire.
Surround yourself with rustic elements
This may be the biggest point of variance with Danish Hygge: bare Scandi minimalism has no place here. Tartan throws, wood burning stoves, stone floors covered in fluffy sheepskin rugs, and plenty of natural elements are important. VisitScotland’s examples of the ideal Còsagach retreat include log cabins and treehouses, so try to mimic the feel of those spaces… with a few modern touches here and there. There’s no harm in relaxation via binge-watching your favorite Netflix show.
Take a getaway
Speaking of log cabins and treehouses, why not book a quick retreat? There are plenty of gorgeous cabins at all pricepoints available to rent for an off-the-grid escape. VisitScotland also suggests camping under the stars, but for those of us whose idea of getting in touch with nature includes visiting the organic section at Whole Foods, try glamping. You’ll still get to enjoy the outdoors—from the safety (and warmth) of an Airbnb. Plane ticket to Scotland encouraged, but not required.
Alcohol is supported
Or at least, not frowned upon. From catching up with friends in a cozy pub over drinks to going the slightly more luxe route of wine and a cheese board (comprised, naturally, of Scottish cheese), Còsagach encourages a bit of indulgence. Test out one of these inventive crockpot cocktail recipes, perfect for entertaining a crowd. We particularly love blogger Garnish With Lemon’s hot ginger cider.
Read a good book
Always preferable to reading a bad book. Whether curled up in a book nook at home or at a café booth accompanied by your favorite hot beverage, take some ‘me’ time and start a new read. For the design lovers, try any of these art and decor books we’re currently obsessed with.
Bundle up with some cozy textiles
Layer, layer, layer! Scotland is famous for its textiles and knitwear, from tweed to wool to cashmere. While piling on the sweaters is always a great starting point, give your home a Còsagach-approved refresh too. Invest in some good-quality throw blankets and toss in some affordable decorative pillows (or DIY your own) to make your couch the coziest it can be. Don’t forget to warm up your floors with layered rugs, too.
The last recommendation is also the most incontrovertibly Scottish one: VisitScotland’s guide to Còsagach literally ends with the suggestion to eat more porridge. Spice up your standard bowl of porridge with decadent add-ons, and start your day off with a hearty meal.
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