I don’t entirely love making gingerbread houses with the kids at Christmastime, but I do like it. Even if I didn’t, I’d do it anyway because in the Book of Mom it says I’m supposed to. This year we had bonus gingerbread fun by not only making our own at home (and by “making” I don’t mean “baking”—thank you, Trader Joe’s!) and going to a super cool gingerbread house birthday party.
Despite how much fun this was, it also meant we had double the sugary construction taking up space in the kitchen. Of course, that also means double the sneaking of candy pieces, double the arguments over whether or not Aaron stole Rachel’s gingerbread girl, and double the “what the heck do I do with these houses now,” come January.
Thinking others may face this same dilemma, I thought I’d share what I do to solve the problem of gingerbread overabundance.
Step one: Make the houses, cursing the mess and arguing with Rachel about whether she can use the stand mixer to make the icing because I’m distracted by something else. Chastise Aaron for continuing to eat the icing/candy/cookies without permission and then lying about it despite a face covered in royal icing. Notice that the kids forgot to put something under their houses and examine the sprinkles that have found their way into the cracks and crevices of our reclaimed wood table. Know that my mother will notice the sprinkles and tell me once again she hates my (super cool) tabletop and wants to make me a new one. Pretend she isn’t correct when she claims bacteria might grow in its artistic and funky blemishes.
Step two: put the finished houses on top of the dog crate in the kitchen because there’s no other convenient place for them. Leave them exposed to the elements for one+ month because what the heck else am I supposed to do?
Step three: alternate between chastising the kids (okay, just Aaron) for sneaking pieces off and pretending I didn’t notice them (him) sneaking pieces off.
Step four: mediate fights over Rachel’s (usually well-founded) suspicion that Aaron stole her candy figures.
Step five: forget they exist (the houses, not the kids)
Step six: during the January 2nd (or post-Epiphany) take-down-the-decorations storm—because by now I am SO TIRED of the Christmas clutter—debate what to do what the houses. Warn the kids that I will soon need to get rid of them (again, houses, not kids). Respond to their protests by giving them an arbitrary deadline by which they need to have said their goodbyes.
Step seven: Notice the deadline has come and gone yet the houses remain and no child has said goodbye. Add on a couple more days because I struggle with consistency.
Step eight: after a few more days pass and my frustration with remaining Christmas decorations has reached a new high, break the houses into pieces so they’ll fit into Ziplocs bags. Put them on the top shelf of the pantry just in case someone breaks down in tears once they notice the neighborhood of gingerbread people has been razed for new development.
Step ten: develop idiopathic amnesia (or perhaps it was brought on by overindulgence in pumpkin-flavored items?) in November and buy more gingerbread kits from Trader Joe’s before they sell out, eagerly anticipating the family fun that will come from decorating them with the kids while sipping cocoa and listening to Christmas carols.
And that’s all! By following these ten easy steps, you too can rid yourself of leftover gingerbread houses, guaranteed!