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What is the Holiday Season without such enchanting timeless classics like Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol or J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan or E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Nut Cracker and the Mouse King?

Unthinkable! For these magical tales of love, hope, courage and personal conviction embody the Spirit of Christmas.

Read more and see my collection of Nutcrackers

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What does one do in East Friesland when it rains? Drink tea and wait for the rain to stop. So I dug out the Advent Wreath, dusted it off and readjusted the ornaments. Following the tradition closely, I stuck three white candles and a burgundy-coloured one in the holders. Each candle is lighted on each succeeding Advent Sunday. The coloured candle is lighted on the last, the 4th Advent.

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It was a bleak and rather foggy morning on a Saturday, a week before the 1. Advent, and way past 9:30, when I walked through the pedestrian zone, hardly encountering a soul.

This walking up and down the pedestrian zone made me feel peckish. Since I couldn’t hang around till Advent for the pizza or sausage, I hurried home to whip up another of my cranberry concoctions.

Click here for the ALMOND-CRANBERRY SWIRL CINNAMON-STAR CAKE recipe

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The First Advent this year falls on the 29th of November, a Sunday. I have to hurry and start baking some cookies. OK, so I have enough German cookies, but they are store-bought. And besides, those cranberries look so festive and delicious. Ever had any Cranberry Christmas Cookies before?

Click here to see the recipe

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WHAT has cold, grey, drizzly November to offer in the way of festivities for children?
Answer: MARTINMAS.

sanktmartin

The highlight of November in Germany is “Martini”. “Martini”, which has nothing to do with James Bond’s martini, shaken or stirred, falls on the 11th of November, and is also known as “Martinstag” or St. Martin’s Day. It is a feast day in the Catholic regions of Germany commemorating St. Martin, Bishop of Tours (316 – 397 AD) who was buried on the 11th of November. Legend has it that Martin, as a young Roman soldier, cut his cloak in two and gave one half to a beggar he saw freezing in the depth of Winter. This charitable act earned him his Sainthood. St. Martin’s Day is celebrated with a lantern procession and singing, followed by a feast of “Martinsgans” or Martin’s goose.

Click here to read more and see the recipe

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ANOTHER plant that makes its appearance together with the Poinsettia during the Holiday Season is the Amaryllis, also known as the Belladonna Lily. Flower shops carry them as a bulb with a stem just emerging, and by Christmas, the plant should be in full bloom, with a flower, or two, even three if you’re lucky. You can also get Amaryllis bouquets, bound with Christmas greens. Red is the most popular, as it is the colour of Christmas. I prefer the pink ones.

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FairyBirdI wrote DOROTHY’S SONG for a short fiction competition that was later cancelled, much to my disappointment. Instead of letting it gather electronic dust in the folder on my desktop, I’m posting it for all of you who might be interested.

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