Gingerbread House Traditions
For nearly ten years now, Janice’s daughters have joined a few special neighborhood friends the week before Christmas for a fun-filled morning decorating gingerbread houses. Whoever hosts this annual event gets to mix up gobs of frosting, assemble the houses and prepare the work surface. The girls then spend a couple of hours sipping hot cocoa and attaching a rainbow of colorful candies to their houses as well as the “grounds.” After all, without walkways, snowmen and trees the houses wouldn’t be complete! Must-have confections for the rowdy candy crew: gum drops, nonpareils, Necco wafers, licorice, and candy canes of various sizes.
Since there are always three sets of sisters working on three sets of houses, each girl gets two sides to decorate. After a decade of practice, the houses can get pretty elaborate, and there’s always a bit of competition to see who can create the most unique and whimsical look which may explain why Leah’s godmother Merri, added cool palm trees! This year’s gathering also included three wonderfully rambunctious boys from the neighborhood who added a whole new level of fun and frenzy to the event.
And speaking of boys, though decorating gingerbread houses was never a tradition for Liz or her two sons, she recently decided to keep up with the Joneses — or shall we say, the Bissexes — and bought each of her boys a gingerbread house as a Hanukkah gift! Simon and Josh ate more candy than they stuck to their houses, and the mess was so bad it took Liz an hour to clean it up (notice how the oh-so-experienced Janice placed a tablecloth below her girls’ houses), but it was well worth the effort. Decorating gingerbread houses turned out to be a lot of laughs and a great hands-on activity for the boys — and wow, aren’t those houses beautiful? Next year, Liz will be ready with a plastic tablecloth … and the vacuum.