Monday, December 19, 2011

Gingerbread House Simplified

Throughout my childhood we had a fun tradition of making a gingerbread village - complete with church with stain glass windows, lights, skating pond, people and several houses.  It was all set up on a large board that covered the entire top of our piano. And, to my candy-loving young self it was Divine!  I loved it.

And so most years I have tried to make sure my boys have had the chance to have their own gingerbread houses.  We've never had a whole village but we have at least had one handmade house and sometimes a couple of them.  This year, while discussing ways to simplify the holidays (with the purpose of freeing up more time to spend doing the things we really value - time with friends, family and nature), we had talked about gingerbread houses and the boys had decided that they liked the plain old candy (a rare treat around here) as much as they did the gingerbread house making and so we had concluded that we wouldn't do gingerbread houses this year. 
Then one evening I was sharing this information with a friend as we talked about how different the holiday season felt compared to when our kids were younger.  After she left I went and talked to E a bit more about it and he decided that it was, after all, important to him to make a house.  So we decided we would simply buy an already cut and baked gingerbread house (instead of spending a few days making the dough, rolling it and cutting out house patterns and then baking)  thus meeting our want for this traditional treat as well as our need for simplifying. 
The next afternoon I quickly put the bought house together with melted sugar and then the boys spent an hour filled with laughter, royal icing, sticky fingers and taste-testing while they decorated their house.  Gingerbread Houses Simplified...leaving more time for a walk in the winter woods with friends - lovely.
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8 comments:

daisy said...

What a perfect compromise.

Sue at the Little Shack said...

The holidays become so busy. This is our way of also being able to have that gingerbread house each year. I've bought the ones at Costco for the last 2 years...9.99 and it's already all stuck together. The kids can gather round the table and just decorate without the frustration of having to wait for the icing holding the walls/roof together to dry. I can sit back with a cup of tea and simply enjoy watching them have fun!

The Finicky Farmer said...

I agree with Daisy; that sounds like an excellent compromise.

Plus a winter's walk through those woods -- how glorious! Still waiting for the snow here in New England...

Happy (almost) Solstice!

Shell said...

Wow, that last picture is amazing!

xx

donna!ee said...

simple really is the valuable choice isn't it! blest be ... :)

Anonymous said...

Good idea! We did the kits a couple of times, too. The girls seemed to have just as much fun and I didn't have to get frustrated trying to cut it out and put it together (precision is not one of my strengths!). The last couple of years we've done sugar cube castles, which are also easy and look so pretty with a candle inside.

Julie

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you went ahead with your gingerbread house, as children get older I feel it's up to parents to keep the childhood traditions going through teenage years, then as adults they embrace them themselves. xxBrenda

Katherine said...

A perfect solution and very wise to determine what is important. You do a wonderful job parenting, Heather. You have certainly given your sons good childhood memories and a mindfulness as well, while balancing tradition with simplicity. Well done!