Monday, December 7, 2009

Gingerbread Moms

When my kids were young, I wanted to come up with my own family Christmas traditions.  I am only kinda' crafty, kinda' a good cook, had a lot of kids and not always a lot of money.  When I saw pictures of gingerbread houses made out of graham crackers,  I knew I had found a family tradition that fit all my criteria.  When Kelly-Across-the-Street moved in, it became a neighborhood tradition, although we now usually purchase the gingerbread kits.  

Today, we joyously celebrated three years of creating, three years of friendship and three years of maturity.This year Norah had two years of experience over Keith, who is attempting his first graham cracker culinary creation.  He caught on very quickly to Avery's technique  of eating one candy, putting one on the house.

Our tradition also includes the policy that you have to display your house until Christmas, then you can gradually eat the candy off it.  Jon has mastered the technique of using the most amount of candy in anticipation of the after-Christmas sugar fix, so wins the Most Candy Used award. He also wins the award for Most Glue Sticks Used.  When we are in a hurry, we glue and cover the seams up with icing.  We don't eat the crackers, in case you're worried.

Avery created well and sat still well, even after eating a lot of sugar.  His house is going to look cheerful and bright, until all the candy is nibbled off.  Avery wins the Best Display Face Award.

Norah definately won the award for the Most Improved Gingerbread House Decorator.  She had definate ideas about where she wanted things and which candy to use.  I thought it was sweet that she was feeding me candy, until I realized they were the ones rejected out of her mouth.  She is smiling funny because I told her to open her eyes wide for the pictures.   I confused her, but the picture is adorably Norah.

Beka wins the award for Best Encourager. Through the years, she has loved to give the neighbor kids help and advice whether playing or creating, a role she doesn't often practice at home as the Baby of the Family.

Keith definately wins the Rookie of the Year Award.  He mastered the art of using as much candy as possible, using an icing bag and tip, and eating as much candy as possible while decorating.

While we were eating and decorating with enough candy to keep all the area dentists in business for the next year, my Amazing Grace was making a Pumpkin Spice Cake for desert after the candy feast.

My husband arrived in home just at the time the house was at full roar of laughing, hooting, howling, chasing and all those other things kids of ALL ages do when they have eaten TOO much sugar.  He jokingly threatened to call off the annual event if things didn't calm down.

Now that we've completed our lovely creations, I can begin the next yearly tradition of threatening the kids to stop eating the candy off their houses until after Christmas.  Yes, these are memories that we will cherish forever.

If you are living away from family and feeling those Holiday Blues that can somehow affect all of us, I encourage you to  find a friend and begin a tradition. Don't wait until you are not so busy, and please don't wait until your house is clean enough for company. I said to find a friend, not invite company. You don't have to clean for friends.  Because, seriously, it's not just about the kids and memories.  It's about spending time together and having those snippets of staccato-type conversations between dealings with children,  that encourage you, convict you, help you and give you the courage to keep on mothering with endurance, love and patience.

Kelly blogged from her side of the street, sharing three years of Gingerbread House Building.  But, read between the dabs of icing and mountains of candy - it's really about the sustaining friendship.


  1. I have so many great family memories from gingerbread house creating. I agree..a tradition is a must. I can't wait for Wed to come and us "girls" from church to get together and bake cookies. Some wonder why we don't bake ahead of time and just go to exchange. To me the answer is obvious...the fellowship with other moms...and of course having
    3x's as much cookie dough to sample

  2. Sounds so much fun, Micah. Wish I could be there. You also have generations of wisdom to glean from at your fellowship. What a blessing. Enjoy!

  3. I'm with you on the hot glue gun. :) For years we used to have moms and girls over to make our gingerbread creations together. We haven't done it in a while. Thanks for shring! What a fun idea to use graham crackers!


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