Gold painted nuts are often to be see decorating German Christmas trees, because traditionally nuts are bound together with thoughts of nature and fertility, carrying 'the germ of life' and symbolic of the continuation of life, even though it is not possible to see beyond their hard shell. They were used for "die Wintersonnenwende", the winter solstice celebrations in pre-Christian Europe, and were carried over into Christmas traditions.

But nuts also make great cookies, and here are two authentic and traditional recipes:

German Nut Cookie Recipes

The photo is of a tree ornament styled after a traditional German "Erzgebrige Nutcracker". And yes they really can crack nuts.

Edited by Francine - German Culture (12/22/12 06:12 AM)
Francine McKenna-Klein - German Culture Editor

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Avatar: HOHENZOLLERNBRUECKE Cologne, the CATHEDRAL and LUDWIG MUSEUM. Photo "Der Wolf im Wald" with Plantu's "European Dove of Peace 2012". Western Europe has enjoyed the longest period of peace in its history, and in 2012 the EU won the Nobel Prize for Peace.