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More Holiday Traditions: The Annual Gingerbread House Building

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Making gingerbread houses has been a long time tradition here in our house. No one is exactly sure just when it began. Neither Jason nor I grew up doing gingerbread houses. There is some speculation that the beginning of this tradition happened one year when my niece- then a teenager- was babysitting the kids- then about 9 and under.

Jason and I weren't home, so we can't verify what actually happened. But according to the older kids, they all started out constructing a house from a kit that my niece- ever the prepared babysitter- had brought. Apparently she was unprepared for four small children trying to stick together cookie pieces with icing, all the while sneaking the candy. So the story goes that she got a phone call and went in the other room to talk. As she left, she said in frustration, "I don't care. Just eat it all." Obviously she also was unaware how literal young children are. When she returned to the room, all that was left were some broken gingerbread pieces and the wrappers. We didn't have much of a house that year.

So I'm not sure if that was the actual beginning of the tradition or not. But I do know that we've been making these houses for quite a few years now. As with all traditions, this one grows and changes as our kids grow and change. There have been some years when I bought the kit with one house, and it was all we could do to construct one together. A few times I've purchased the little village that comes with five houses, and all four kids drew numbers with one house left over for Jason and I. And then recently, the older kids have wanted their own big house, so I would buy a "family house" that the little girls and I would end up doing, and the big kids would buy their own big houses.



Note that no part of that mentions baking the gingerbread or cutting it out. I have a brave friend who does this. For me, that would just be insanity. We are doing good to decorate the crazy things!


For the last couple of years, Jason has enjoyed getting in on the action. Year before last, he showed me up by mixing and using the decorator icing included in the kit. Before I had always bought some squeeze icing because I was unsure how thick or how runny to make the mix. He discovered that the decorator icing worked much better for the actual house construction. So I learned how to mix it. This year's kit was wonderful because it came with the decorator icing pre-mixed.



This year I bought a village. The kids drew numbers to see who got what house, and Jason and Rachel ended up putting their house pieces together to make a bigger house. There was some pretty creative decorating going on- trees, wreath, people, swimming pools, and fire pits.







Another year of gingerbread houses is through. (Although Charles claims he's buying one for himself later.) It's another holiday tradition we all enjoy.

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