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Ginger Funny Faces and Memories

I love traditions and the way they ground us. The Advent traditions from our childhood have been added to, tweaked and tucked to make them a perfect fit for our own family. Baking is a big one.  Any time we visited Oma during Advent and Christmas, she had a plate of baking on the ready. They were always special treats, not the ones she would serve any other time of year. The plate would be deftly arranged with a variety of made-from-scratch sweet things, from candied nuts to pressed cookies, thumbprints and shortbread, decorated Christmas trees with lots of icing and sprinkles, and ginger funny-faces.  We would sit down with milk while she had her coffee, and listen to stories or tell her our own. These are precious memories. The gift of hospitality and conversation is so often anchored in food.   We made a huge variety of Christmas cookies at home, too. With a family of 8 who was always hosting people, we made sure to bake in bulk. There were ice cream pails of each kind, and we prou

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