Every magazine's December issue has a gingerbread house that looks beautiful and delicious. Little candies are transformed into roof shingles, trees, windows, doors, and sidewalks on snow of frosting. My heart always thrills at the sight of these photographs.
"How hard can it be?" I used to wonder.
After years of gingerbread housing with very young children who have no idea how inept I am at this, I can safely answer my own question: "Very hard!"
It all started back in the early 2000s when my friend Laura would go Christmas shopping at the last possible minute. It totally stressed me out to think about it, especially since I had all my shopping done by Thanksgiving. Laura loved it, stuffing cash into her pockets and socks. Her kiddos stayed with me and I decided to do something fun that my children and her children would love.
A gingerbread house!
So, I bought a simple kit from the nearest department store and we made our first gingerbread house.
That first year I learned the following:
The following gingerbread houses were not made by me. I'm too embarrassed to show you mine.
The next year I bought a house all put together. It just had to be frosted. That was definitely more up my alley. I also went out and bought better candy including M&Ms, gum drops, and Twizzlers. The house didn't look great, but the candy was delicious.
You would think I would give up, but NO! I have to do a gingerbread house each year.
Why? I have no idea.
I think somehow in my mind and heart, I have decided that the "perfect Christmas" includes decorating a gingerbread house.
Of course, that's not true!
But, I have also realized that I can have fun making a gingerbread house that is nothing to write home about or take a picture of, but just fun to make. I enjoyed decorating gingerbread houses with my children and now I love carrying on the tradition with my grandchildren. We laugh and joke around.
And so the tradition continues.
Proceed with caution if you want to add decorating a gingerbread house to your list of traditions. If you're like me and you don't have the gingerbread decorating gene, just relax and enjoy the process, and the candy.
Like other Christmas traditions, it's an opportunity to be together and make memories. And to laugh together....a lot!
Love to everyone and Merry Christmas!