29 November 2010

a piece of our Christmas story

gingerbread house 1

Each year we decorate a gingerbread house.  I say "decorate" because, I have to tell you, I just buy a kit, whatever one is available in the local store.  This year it was a particularly small one that came already assembled.  Bonus.  I rue the day that one is not available and I have to make the whole thing from scratch. You see, it's not my gingerbread house, one that I could meticulously coordinate and decorate, placing each sweet treat exactly as I wish. No, not exactly. My role is simply to keep the sticky white icing available and replace any candies that may fall.

gingerbread house 2

And I'm okay with that. No, really, I am.  It's absolutely no problem if one side of the rooftop is wonderfully symmetrical while the other features a chocolate pretzel that was destined for the door.  I am okay.  I'm especially okay because it's something Young One has learned to look forward to -- decorating her house.  It's something she remembers doing with my mom when she was here visiting one Christmas season.  It's become part of my family Christmas story. I like that.

gingerbread house 3

One thing I've learned about the kits is that the candy is generally not varied.  I've taken to stashing Halloween candy to spice up the house.  Luckily for me, Young One is not interested in eating much of that sugar-filled junk, so her house includes Sweet Tarts, varied gummies, Starbursts, Nerds, and the otherwise colorful offerings of Halloween. When she was done with the decorating, I had her dust it with a coat of powdered sugar for that snowy look. My creative craftiness is killing you, I know.

gingerbread house 5

I think she did a mighty fine job this year.  It was certainly a bright spot in a long weekend plagued with illness. Never underestimate the power of a bacterial infection in a child.


What's important to your Christmas story?  So far, ours includes gumbo, annual ornaments, favorite books, ricotta cookies, and Advent mittens, and, of course, the gingerbread house, or hut in this case.  I'm always looking for pieces to add to our annual story.


  1. Never thought of putting powder sugar on top. What a great idea! We still have to do ours.

  2. i also think the powdered sugar is brilliant!!! :D we never once did a gingerbread house when i was a kid, and this was something i always wanted to do. so have done it with our kiddos the past 2-3 years, but i am not sold on the tradition yet. because, unlike your daughter, my children love the candy (i think they have my sweet tooth). does your daughter just leave it alone the whole season or does she pick candy off it through the month??? anyway, i do need to go get our kit. i just threw away a bunch of candy we could have used for decorating, darn it. clearly not thinking.

    anyway, our christmas story? well, so far the advent calendar and our nativity scene are very important. the nativity scene is one the kids can play with. each year on st. nicholas day, st. nicholas leaves another piece for the scene in their boots. our collection of christmas books is very important too. we have quite a lot, and st. nicholas leaves each of them a new one every year!

    p.s. i am hating our christmas card photos more and more! i don't think i can bear to post them, so perhaps i'll just send them to you via flickr or something. :)

  3. Ours includes a large basket of Christmas stories that I add to every year...

  4. The candy remains untouched until we have visitors!

    I love your tradition of St. Nicholas and the new piece for the nativity scene each year AND that the kids can play with it.

    Ohh. . .the books! I love the books, too.