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Traditions of the season

December 6, 2010
By Deb Gau

TYLER - Some things seem destined to get passed down through the generations, whether it's holiday decorating traditions or a taste for favorite goodies. The families gathered in the Danebod gym hall on Saturday afternoon were there for both.

"Almond is our favorite," said Rylie and Jackie Hess, as they looked through shelves of Danish coffee cake for just the right flavor to take home. Meanwhile, Tatum Hess had darted down to the other side of the display to pick out a cake with almond filling for her big sister and mom.

The Danebod folk school campus hosted its annual old-fashioned Danish Christmas this weekend. Both Tyler residents and visitors gathered to share a traditional Danish meal, browse through stalls of folk crafts and dance around the Christmas tree to the tune of "Nu har vi Jul igen," a holiday song that translates to "now it's Christmas again."

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The tree, 15 feet tall and covered in red and white Danish-style ornaments, was a focal point for many people Saturday. Some visitors stopped to take snapshots of themselves standing in front of it. Karla Anundson of Minneota was there with her mother Rose Kollan, who was visiting from Denison, Iowa. Kollan said she grew up in Kimballton, Iowa, another town with a strong Danish heritage, and Saturday's event brought back a lot of memories.

"All except one of my grandparents came from Denmark," she said. "They would dance around the Christmas tree. It's a memory thing for me."

Kollan said she was having a good time, and even did a little shopping. "I had to get a sign that said 'Velkommen,' because that was how my grandmother always used to pronounce it."

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Photo by Deb Gau

Visitors of all generations joined hands to dance around the Christmas tree in Tyler this weekend. The dance is one part of traditional Danish holiday celebrations.

Most people leaving the Danebod gym hall seemed to take an armload of fresh coffee cake with them, but there was always plenty more where that came from.

"They had everyone make about four pans," Jackie Hess said. Even without the sale to work toward, Hess said baking coffee cake was a holiday tradition for the women in her family.

"I make it together with my mom and grandmother," she said.

And everyone, young and old, came together to dance around the tree. Two or three parents like Scott Durand danced while holding the smallest toddlers and babies in their arms. Little Thea Durand was already dressed in a Danish traditional skirt.

"It's nice to do something that feels traditional," Scott Durand said of the holiday celebrations.



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