In southern Germany, it's traditional to bake Christmas Springerle. The ingredients include flour, sugar, anise - and plenty of patience, because it takes several days until the tiny delicacies are ready.
In many cities in Europe the holiday season starts in late November. Christmas markets open, shopping streets are lit with thousands of lights and store windows are festively decorated.
It seems Germany practically invented Christmas - or at least many of the symbols associated with it. While we don't like to start thinking about it in the summer, the cookie bakers and tree growers have to.
"Aachener Printen" cookies are flavored with aniseed, cloves and cinnamon - for many the quintessential taste of Christmas. The cookies are the hottest selling item at the Christmas market in Aachen.
Baking cookies, drinking mulled wine, or listening to Christmas music - all these things enhance our anticipation of Christmas. But why does Christmas keep bringing a smile to most of our faces?
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