Monday, December 22, 2008

The House That Gingerbread Built

Have you ever made a Gingerbread House? If you have, you know all of the work that goes into it.

My journey with gingerbread houses began when, as a young mother, I took a gingerbread class with my sister. We spent a wonderful day at a local cake shop and came home with an amazing holiday centerpiece.

In the years that have followed, I have made many gingerbread houses. Each year my houses are a little different than the year before. Some are grand and fancy, complete with interior lighting, fireplaces and holiday decor (mantles, stockings and trees) on the inside. Some are intricate with multi-paned windows, shingles and Christmas lighting on the outside. And still, some are simple and traditional, with basic construction and the requisite "Peeps" snowman in the yard.

No matter what the houses have looked like, they all started from the same foundational principles - a good gingerbread recipe that could hold up to the cutting, heat of the oven, and construction of the house; a set of culinary blue-prints to design the house by; the right combination of basic ingredients that would act as mortar to hold the walls together; the patience, improvisation, and understanding to keep the construction moving ahead if any one of the prior three foundational principles didn't work out as planned; the willingness to "deconstruct", step back, reassess, and start over if it means the house will stand.

I have learned a lot about my real home and family life through working with gingerbread. With the help of my husband, I have worked to lay a foundation that will hold firm through the trials and tribulations of life, striven to follow the Master's plan for our home, mixed a mortar of love and understanding to keep our walls glued together, tried to be flexible yet determined to build up and strengthen our family, and have at times, taken a second look and reconstructed, reorganized and added to the foundation of our home.

When all is said and done, I can't say if my home will be grand and fancy or simple and traditional. But what I can say, is that I will have the satisfaction of knowing that I put my hard work, heart and creativity into making it the centerpiece that it is.

*Picture courtesy of

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