The tradition holds that if anyone visits your home during the Christmas season, they get a bag of pfefferneusse. If you go to visit someone else, they get a bag of pfeffernusse. Every teacher, the mailman, the milkman, they all get a bag of pfefferneusse.
The farmers in the area I grew up had to plow their cotton fields under by January 1st so many a cold winter day was spent driving tractor out in the fields. The farmers would drive into our yard with their tractors and my mother would take a scoop of pfefferneusse and pour it into their coat pockets. The rest of the day they would occasionally throw one in their mouth. The next day they would stop by for more.
One farmer in particular was John Jelmini, who happened to live across the street from my folks. At my mother’s funeral in 1996, he broke into tears because my mom gave him pfefferneusse and he was going to miss that terribly. After the service, I approached John and said that every Christmas, he would receive a box of pfefferneusse because he was so nice to my folks. And, from 1996 to 2013, John received a box of pfefferneusse every Christmas. His daughter often remarked in emails how much he looked forward to the arrival of that box. John died in early 2014 at the age of 92.
So, enjoy. Know that with each cookie, some extra special love is being transferred from me to you.