Tour the World at Christmas – No Magic Sleigh Needed

The holiday season is in full swing and, this year, celebrations look a little different.  According to data intelligence and custom market research firm, Morning Consult, 74% of Americans say that their holiday get togethers will be downsized this year.  A smaller gathering doesn’t necessarily mean less fun. Help your customers create the holiday excitement they are pining for by suggesting holiday candy traditions from around the world. It’s a great way to sweeten this year’s celebrations, and maybe create some new traditions.

Candy is an affordable way to make a big bang. Since 60% of Americans say they will not be traveling this holiday season, according to Travelocity, adding some international flare can help satisfy customers’ jet-setting spirit. Sit back, relax, and get ready for virtual take off as we travel around the world to experience some of the sweetest holiday traditions.

Sweden – It’s a Marshmallow World in the Winter

Or, more accurately, a Marshmallow Santa – Jultomten in Swedish. One part marshmallow, one part gummy, Swedes are softies for their gummy marshmallow Santas in a variety of fruity flavors.  In fact, according to food culture website, Aterit, more than 200 million marshmallow Santas are consumed in Sweden every holiday season. While there’s no traditional way to eat them, we can assume gummy Santas are a favorite purchase on the country’s Candy Days. According to “guide to Sweden website,” Hej Sweden, Candy Day is a weekly national holiday. On Saturdays, children and adults enjoy a weekly ritual of buying candy – they then decide to eat it all at once, or portion it out for the rest of the week. A national pass to have all the sweets we want? Sign us up!

While it might be a little challenging to get Swedish marshmallow Santas stateside, we think gummy Santas from Vidal are a great festive alternative. Chewy, fruity and full of detail and color, they take away the ho humbug and bring the holly jolly to stocking stuffers, and dessert tables. We also love Clever Candy 3D Holiday Gummy Pals or Jelly Belly Sour Santas.

Germany – Sensational Santas Crafted in Chocolate

Germany is known for chocolate, so it’s not surprising that they’re the ones who perfected the process for creating molded chocolate in 1847. The craft became so popular that different chocolate shops in each village would compete, creating very ornate items or figures of the time according to Vaillancourt Folk Art Company – including Santa. Fast forward to today and Germans are still melting over chocolate Santas. In fact, they’re one of the highlights of German Christmas Markets. Whimsical holiday chocolates wrapped in elegant foil are a highlight of the seasonal splendor.

Each Santa is a delicious work of art and should be treated like one, so suggest incorporating premium chocolate Santas like Madelaine milk chocolate Santa or Nassau Candy’s Nancy Adams Belgian milk chocolate Santas as part of a tablescape to create a major statement. Not only are chocolate Santas an affordable way to add elegance to a downsized celebration, they offer a sweet ending to any holiday meal.

Denmark – Marvelous Marzipan

With more people opting to stay home this holiday season, a little added mystery will be a welcome new tradition. That’s why we recommend taking a play out of the Danish Christmas playbook with the tradition of Marzipan pigs.

On Christmas Eve, guests eat risalamande, a version of rice pudding with almonds for dessert. One of the bowls has an extra surprise — a whole almond hidden in it.  Whoever finds the whole almond in their pudding, wins a Marzipan pig, according to Scandinavian Christmas Tradition site Jolablot.  Can you say double desserts?! The idea of a marzipan pig as a prize actually originates in Germany where the phrase “Schwein gehabt” or “having a pig,” means to be lucky.

Make it easy for customers to get in on this tradition by offering a recipe for risalamande, or suggest that customers adapt this tradition to their family’s favorite holiday dessert recipe, adding an ingredient that can be safely hidden for guests to find. Don’t forget the prize!  A candy pig. Pig shaped candies like Gummy Piglets or if they’re nuts for marzipan, Nassau Candy Manufactured Marzipan Fruit (more readily available here in the states than marzipan pigs).

Iceland – Sweet Steps to Celebrate the Season

Customers looking for an alternative to an Advent Calendar and Elf on the Shelf will love this tradition from Iceland.  For the 13 nights leading up to Christmas, children put their shoes by the window and are visited by one of the “Yule Lads” who leave candy in their shoes if they’re good, and rotten potatoes if they’re bad. Each  Yule Lad has its own distinct  and quirky personality (think Snow White Meets Santa), according to Smithsonian Magazine, adding to the uniqueness of the tradition.

There’s no specific candy related to this tradition, so it’s a great opportunity to highlight your holiday bulk selection.  Since the candy is going into a shoe, you may want to showcase some of your wrapped classics like Nancy Adams Milk Chocolate Christmas trees, or bulk favorites like Madelaine Foiled Chocolate Christmas balls and we recommend re-packaging them in bags.

Great Britain – Orange you Glad there’s Chocolate in Your stocking?

Chocolate oranges are a British holiday staple.  In fact, according to one of the leading chocolate orange brands, Terry’s, 9 million UK households purchase a Terry’s chocolate orange each year.  Why a chocolate orange you might ask?  We can’t 100% confirm but believe that the tradition stems from the times when citrus fruits were a scarce, rare treat, OR it’s a nod to the story of the real St. Nicolas and the three bags of gold he gave to three poor maidens as doweries, according to Smithsonian Magazine. No matter the reason, every year people love smashing these chocolate globes open to reveal “orange slices” full of rich chocolate and bright citrus flavor.

Bring some British a-peel across the pond.  Add Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange to your stocking stuffer section. The gold foil wrapper glitters and attracts the eye, letting customers know they’re getting something special.

Mexico – Pinata – A Holiday Hit

The holidays can be a time of stress, so anything to get out a little holiday aggression will be a welcome addition to customers’ holiday celebrations.  Take the lead from Mexico’s holiday traditions. Children and adults break into a pinata shaped like a 7 pointed star, representing the 7 mortal sins to get at the candy inside, according to Llama Tours. This is another great avenue for you to market your bulk wrapped candies like Madelaine gold foil stars.   Make it easy for customers to get in on the tradition by adding a stuffable pinata to your selection.

The holidays are definitely going to be different this year, so inspire customers to start new traditions and make their celebrations extra special.  Create a dedicated international area in your holiday section, outlining some of the different holiday traditions and candy.  Customers will be surprised and delighted to learn something new.

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