Some time ago, a year? two years? my wife discovered a blog wherein an annual tradition was described. This family held a gingerbread house making party every year, and we have been talking about doing one ever since. This year we finally got our act together and put one on. Six houses, six families, two hours, and one goal. Stick as much candy as possible onto a gingerbread house, while making sure the rest of the treats go into your mouth.
Of course the first thing we had to do was to make the gingerbread. This was obviously a disaster, and I spent an entire day burning, maiming, mutilating, and otherwise ruining countless batches of gingerbread. Luckily my wife came home from work and rescued me and we were able to get just exactly barely enough gingerbread made to construct the houses we needed, plus a few cookies on the side for the two-year-old set to decorate.
Step two was to assemble the actual houses, since there was no way a bunch of five year olds were going to be able to construct these things, plus it was going to take hours to dry, and we didn’t have that kind of time. If there’s anything I can say about the construction of the houses, it’s that this process was, if possible, even more of a disaster than then baking had been. Those dang things just would not stay together! I propped up the walls with cans and jars, and I tried to thicken the frosting cement, but they just would not stay together. Every time I thought they were finally okay, I would walk back into the kitchen to see them completely apart and lying flat on the counter. And then my wife came home and everything magically worked out again.
Now that the houses were made, we needed to get candy. As much candy as possible. We got a lot of candy, but my wife still felt that it was not enough, so we kept running out to the store on the day of the party to get more and more of it. I am not lying or exaggerating when I say that, between the two of us, my wife and I made five last minute trips to the store in the two hours before the party.
With the supplies finally in hand, it was time to set up and decorate. Thank goodness we live in a co-op that has a community room, because no way were we letting a bunch of candy filled children into our house with large bowls of frosting. We set out the six houses in the center table with the bowls of candy and cereal for decorating, and we had separate tables for cookie decorating and grown-up cracker and cheese eating.
By the time the people arrived we had everything set up perfectly. Christmas music played from the iPod in the corner, the kids dove right into the decorating, and the adults were very happy to have the non-candy snack option. It was a huge success. Everybody came that was supposed to come, all of the houses were decorated, and we hardly had any leftovers to bring home. Because Edward ate most of the candy. I think that he is eating candy in every picture we took.
So it was awesome. We’re definitely going to do it again next year, and by then maybe Edward can decorate his own house. Ruby and her friends loved it this year, and I think we have seen the beginning of a new family holiday tradition.