A Dunkard Christmas
The German people loved to celebrate Christmas and had many special traditions which were passed on from generation to generation. When the first Dunkards came to America they brought these customs along and over the years adapted others as they met other people from around the world. Many of the Christmas traditions were based on the nativity story in the Bible. The Moravians settled near the first Dunkards and shared their traditions with the early brethren. The Moravians loved Christmas, too, and celebrated with beautiful music sung by its choirs and played by the instrumental groups. Both the Moravians and Dunkards used the candle to celebrate the birth of Christ who we call the Prince of Peace. In Europe the custom was to put candles in the windows to show that a prince had been born. The Dunkards used a five pointed star and the Moravians a beautiful 26 pointed star which today we know as the Moravian star. The Germans brought the tradition of decorating an evergreen tree with them to the new world. The evergreens represented everlasting life. They made candles from beeswax to put on the tree plus German stars, angels, toys, gilded nuts, and candies wrapped in bright papers. In Ger-many they had Christmas craft markets in their villages to sell toys and items used to decorate their trees. Another tradition that was borrowed from the Moravians was the setting up of a Christmas village or putz that was used to tell the Christmas story. Often this was set up under the Christmas tree and had many different scenes using wooden, clay, or tin figures arranged to tell the different parts of the Christmas story from the shepherds to the birth of Jesus in the stable and the visit of the wise men. These would become rather elaborate and could use natural materials as well as handmade items.
The women would spend many days baking wonderful cookies, pies, and special breads to share with visitors and give as gifts.

Mrs. Mac's Christmas Cookies
2 eggs 2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 c. sugar 1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla 1 c. butter
3 c. of sifted flour
Beat eggs thoroughly. Add sugar and vanilla; beat well. Sift together flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add egg mixture, stir-ring until dough is moist enough to hold together. Chill in refrigerator 20 minutes. Roll dough ¼" thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut with 2" cookie cutter and decorate with colored sug-ars. Place about 2" apart on greased baking sheets. Bake in a 400˚ oven 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheets; cool on racks. Makes about 5 ½ dozen cookies.