I love the holiday season. There’s Christmas music, evergreen decorations, ugly sweaters and parties galore! Not to mention the smorgasbord of holiday treats like Stollen and spritz and, my personal favorite, a gift basket of savory cheese and sausage. YUM!

In my opinion, what really makes the holidays special are the traditions. They feel like a cozy blanket wrapped around your legs by the fire and they smell like my Mom’s freshly baked Christmas snack mix. The beauty of holiday traditions is how different they are for everyone. The holiday traditions of my best friend are wildly different than my holiday traditions which are wildly different than my colleague’s traditions. Last week, I talked a bit about one of my family’s favorite holiday traditions: my mom’s annual cookie exchange (complete with a cookie recipe).

Yet, one of the most common holiday traditions of Wisconsin is the presence of Kringle. Kringle is a Danish pastry made with puff pastry dough wrapped around a filling and shaped into an oval. The Hallmark movie Christmas in Love features a version of Kringle that looks nothing like Wisconsin Kringle, but I bet it tastes just as good.

I asked WisconsinMade’s Kringle artisans what traditions define their holiday season. Here are their responses.

The making of a pecan kringle topped with delicious icing. Photo via Racine Danish Kringle.

Christopher Heyer from Racine Danish Kringle

“My personal family, we always go out to Elkhart Lake. They have a Christmas market up there. We visit every year. We have a place up in Elkhart Lake area in the country. Kringle is part of that weekend. It’s a very busy time to get away for me but I try to get away on a Saturday night and visit the Christmas market on Sunday. It’s one of those Wisconsin traditions. One of those cool little town markets and celebrate the holiday with just my immediate family and maybe some friends that weekend. Its’ something that would feel weird if we didn’t have it.”

Matt Horton from O&H Danish Bakery

“I have extremely fond memories of going to Grandma’s house. It was a very small house here in Racine. We would always go to church and then my family on my side was really big. So everyone’s loaded in there.

“One of the traditions that we have amongst my family, my wife and in-laws, is making an ebeilskever breakfast on Christmas morning. That’s one of the things that, I mean it’s the right way to start things off. We have it with lingonberries or if you want syrup you can have that. It’s just kind of something that we always look forward to and it’s a great tradition to start the day before you then celebrate with even more family.”


Tell us your favorite holiday tradition in the comments!

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