Editor’s Letter: December 2018
Getting hygge with it
December is an alternately difficult and joyous time for those who work during the holidays. It’s a source of income, but it’s also the time to spend with friends and family. Work-life balance becomes strained this time of year, when rush requests, last minute shopping and family obligations collide.
Emotional warmth is the feeling that everyone tries to generate this time of year, yet few manage more than coziness. For many of us, that’s more than enough to recharge our batteries.
The Danish have a great word that doesn’t quite translate to English: “Hygge.” Everyone has a different definition for what hygge means to them. It can describe the well-being that comes from being near loved ones, or or the gratification of savouring a nostalgic treat. It could apply to the feeling of luxuriating by a warm fire shared with a close friend on a cold night, or eating cookies with your family. As many ways as there are to experience hygge, it can be an elusive thing for bakers to experience personally this time of year. Find your work-life balance, and find your hygge.
It seems even Canada’s favourite television baker, Anna Olson is not impervious to the challenges bakeries meet during the holiday season. Should your bakery cater to the latest Pinterest-worthy trends to make your shop fashionable, or stick with the tried and true traditional favourites? It’s not an easy question to answer, and only bakers with a keen knowledge of their customers’ preferences can answer that. Rest easy knowing whichever decision you make, this time of year your specialities will sell themselves.
Olson recommends trusting your professional experience, and learning when to experiment with flavours. Generally, holidays are about reliving or creating memories, and taste plays a big part.
Whether you’re creating ornament-shaped cookies sassily iced with, “F*&#, it’s snowing again,” or baking family-friendly croissants, everyone likes baked goods. Cookies are a terrific holiday ice-breaker between new neighbours, eagerly accepted treats at awkward staff parties, and provide a thrill for a personal a trip down memory lane. Flavours like cloves, cinnamon and ginger are considered traditional because they trigger strong memories. Playing with flavours might risk the ire of those who want a treat that “takes them back.” If you’re dying to try something new, test the waters first. Offer a free sample of your new creation as your clients come to your bakery: Call it a holiday gift. People like freebies, and you get an instant gauge of how your new flavour palette will be received.
Diane Chiasson’s article suggests that holiday cheer can be a benefit to your bakery. Food industries boom between November and December, but how to generate long-term profits on that relatively short time frame? Sending heartfelt gestures like holiday cards or offering a small treat to your clients gives a much-needed personal touch this time of year. Chiasson’s article on how to give your business a boost in 2019 isn’t just about profiting from December’s uptick in sales: It’s about creating relationships that make regular customers.
May you all bask in the hygge glow of your homes, and enjoy your work this busy time of year. Bakers Journal wishes all our readers a happy and prosperous new year.
May you find time to rest, and enjoy a sweet new year!