We had this brilliant idea. After last year’s successful Gingerbread House Decorating Party, we thought, “Hey, we’ve got this down now! We can be smooth and streamlined now! We will make the houses smaller and more sturdy! We will be organized ahead of time! We will have it together!” But like most brilliant ideas, it turned out terribly.
Not the party. The party was awesome! Possibly the best party ever planned in the history of the universe, according to exit polling. But the lead-up to the party, well, now that had some problems. For instance, the pattern that we chose to use this year because it was much smaller than last year’s pattern, actually turned out to be significantly larger than last year’s pattern, causing us to need more dough, causing us to run out of ingredients, causing us to spend more money and run around town like crazy people. So there was that.
Also, our cats are jerks who think it is fun to destroy hours of hard work with their evil paws. So we technically made ten houses, yes, but really we made more because of all the replacement houses and pieces that had to be created. Oh, and did you catch that we made ten? Because last year we made six, but for some reason we thought that a 67% increase in house production was a reasonable proposal. What can I say? It’s a popular event and we are fools!
We also, in the spirit of ‘go big or go home’ that we apparently embraced this year, purchased a much larger variety of candy to decorate the houses with, most of which I am convinced ended up in my mouth. So, kind of a win-win. It’s a good thing my wife and I are a good team. I would make dough while she was at work, she would come home and bake and assemble while I was at rehearsals and concerts, and then late at night I would arrive home and shout at the cats and slump sadly on the couch eating candy. I think we’ve got the process honed pretty well now.
The day of the party came and only two of the houses had fallen completely apart. I did some major architectural reworking and my wife set up the community room for the event. It looked like this:
One by one the children started to arrive, and they made some masterful creations. Last year we bought ice cream cones to use for making Christmas trees, and we had them again this year, although people started using them as steeples so we ended up with a lot of gingerbread churches. Some people were very meticulous about candy placement and Necco wafer tiles, while others just threw candy on haphazardly and made abstract works of art. I think they all turned out pretty well.
Highlights of the party included Edward and his little friend from school locking themselves in the bathroom and then coming out to announce that they were having a baby, and my child-friendly iPod Christmas mix accidentally switching to The Pogues in the middle of the decorating. Two of the houses did fall apart during decorating (the ones I had just fixed and were not dry yet). One was able to be saved using extra ice cream cones as support braces, but the other was a complete loss unfortunately. So we know for next year that starting a week ahead of time is too late. In case of major damage or loss we need more recovery time. I’m thinking we should probably start now…