How to Bring New Life to Classic Holiday Traditions

(StatePoint) Bringing new life to classic holiday traditions starts with understanding the origins of how these traditions came to be.

The Olesen family of O&H Danish Bakery knows how important it is to share such stories. The family-owned and operated bakery is offering fun facts and inspiration for celebrating classic Christmas traditions. And because some of these particular traditions are Danish, you’ll also be embracing “hygge.” Pronounced “hoo-ga,” this Nordic concept is all about creating a cozy atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life.

Something Sweet

Forty-four percent of people in a survey commissioned by O&H Danish Bakery and conducted by SWNS Media Group and OnePoll say the holiday spirit wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t have their traditional holiday dessert. For many families, that dessert is Kringle. Approximately 43% of respondents in the same survey enjoy this treat – which is made of 36 layers of butter and pastry -- on Christmas Day. While Kringle is a traditional Danish delicacy, it’s actually savored worldwide. O&H Kringle has been shipped to more than 100 countries and has made landfall in all seven continents -- including Antarctica!

“The holiday season is the most magical time of year for our family. It’s such a privilege to spread cheer and be a part of family traditions across the country. As a family-owned business started by my great-grandfather, an immigrant from Denmark, traditions rooted in our heritage mean so much to us, and we pass down their origin stories to each generation,” says Eric Olesen, the third-generation co-owner of the Racine, Wisconsin-based bakery.

When it comes to traditions, the bakery remains steadfast in unveiling a new holiday flavor every December, its busiest season, making more than 7,000 Kringle every day. This year’s “Christmas Fudge Kringle” is a riff on the traditional pastry. Featuring scratch-made premium dark chocolate filling, frosted in chocolate icing and garnished with Christmas nonpareils, it was inspired by O&H customers’ favorite holiday cake, “Ohhhh Fudge! Layer Cake,” the name of which comes from the movie, “A Christmas Story.” To place your Kringle order for the holidays, visit ohdanishbakery.com.

Decorating the Tree

As you select your tree and decorate it with treasured ornaments, consider this tradition’s long and storied history. Did you know that bringing trees into one’s home during winter is a centuries-old tradition? The custom’s exact origins are debatable -- with some historians believing the ancient Egyptians first adopted the practice and others attributing its invention to pagan Europeans. However, the modern Christmas tree, much like we know it today, became a widespread practice throughout Europe beginning in the 16th century.

Fun Food Traditions

As a family-owned food business, it’s no surprise that the Olesen family has a few of their own delicious holiday traditions. After dinner on Christmas Eve, they serve Risalamande, a Danish rice pudding dessert typically containing a whole almond. Serving as a fun Christmas-lottery, the one who finds the almond wins a small present. The bakers at O&H even created a Kringle, called A Very Danish Christmas Kringle, in honor of this dessert! Christmas morning, the family prepares Aebleskiver, which are Danish pancake balls commonly served with such toppings as lingenberries, powdered sugar and fruit preserves. O&H offers the pre-made mix and even the specialty pans for this purpose to those who want to try this at home. Visit their site for more information.

This holiday season, embrace holiday traditions. At the same time, don’t be afraid to put new twists on these classics -- whether it’s livening up family recipes or buying new ornaments for your tree.

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