When December arrives, I begin to think of Christmases past and all the traditions my family has observed throughout my lifetime. In last year’s December blog, I told you about decorating and baking cookies. The decorations still include the many Santas I’ve collected over the years. I gave you a recipe for Chocolate mint squares – a favorite here at the B&B. Two years ago I told of our Italian family’s tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve.
This year we have started what I think may be a new tradition – building a gingerbread house with my 3-year-old granddaughter! Making Gingerbread Houses began in Germany in the 16th century and became very popular after the publication of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Their story of Hansel & Gretel, who found the house made of treats when they were lost in the woods, increased the popularity of the sweet construction project.
The construction of gingerbread houses has taken on new dimensions as records of the largest houses are broken. In 2013, a new record was set for the largest house according to the Guinness World Records. That gingerbread house, built as a benefit for a hospital trauma center in Bryan, TX, was a 2,520-square-foot structure and made with 7,200 eggs and 7,200 pounds of flour! Since 1969, even the US First Family has a tradition of having the White House replicated in gingerbread! Our gingerbread house here at Steeles Tavern Manor was built on a much smaller scale – but with lots of fun and love included in the ingredients!
I worked on the “mortar” of the structure – using icing to hold it all together. Then my granddaughter chose all the decorations and details of the house. She placed gum drops, peppermints, and other candies to decorate our little gingerbread house. Ours may is certainly not as BIG as some gingerbread houses. Nor is it made to perfection like the White House replica. But we had so much fun together and in the process made great memories and perhaps a new holiday tradition!
May your traditions bring you joy and provide warm memories as you celebrate this special season!