The Great Gingerbread House Competition

I think my mom wants grandchildren.  Either that or our family just likes to get together and play with icing and candy.

We were visiting my parents today and my mom had bought not one, not two, not three….. but FOUR gingerbread houses to decorate!

What started as a fun family activity turned into a friendly competition.  Although there was no final winner, or “best gingerbread house” we were making up a bunch of pretend awards as we were working away. Like “first to be done”, “messiest”, or “which house has the most candy on it”

There was also a lot of peaking over at the competition to see if you could “borrow” some of their ideas or candies.  Or better yet, one-up them by building a bigger chimney or piping the icing much neater.

There was also a lot of whispering between team members to come up with strategies and themes.

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And a lot of icing accidents (and finger licking??).  You know when you use a piping bag and squeeze the bottom and forget about the open top end until a goop of icing falls on your hand. Yeah, I hate when that happens

There was of course a steady stream of refreshments, which is always good for keeping up your ‘gingerbread housing’ energy and stamina.  Today was coincidentally also St. Nicholas’ Day (Sinterklaas) which is celebrated in the Netherlands.  Sinterklaas is a dude with a beard and long red cape who comes to towns on a white horse and gives candy to children.  Santa Clause (or Saint. Nick) is supposedly based on St. Nicholas.  In the Netherlands, December 5th is the main day for gift giving during the holiday season. Oh, and the night before Sinterklaas you leave your slipper out for presents and leave a carrot for the horse!  Funny how the traditions of different countries are variations of each other!

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{Oh yeah, and if you are a newer reader or if I am totally confusing you:  My mom is Dutch, but I grew up in South Africa and have been living in Canada for 11 years.  That should clear up some confusion with all of my cultural references!}

Anyways, mom got some Dutch bitterballen (a deep fried ball with beef, herbs and flour inside) for the occasion. Delish!

And of course a HUGE jar of pepernoten.

And a whole variety of candies for our houses.

With so many people doing 4 different houses the end result is 4 very different looking houses!

Is that a chimney or a super antenna??

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There was a house with a green front lawn and a doorbell:

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And a mountain house with tonnes of icicles and snow:

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I think this little wreath is so stinkin’ cute!

And then there was the ultra modern, monochromatic gingerbread house:

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And a whole village of gingerbread houses!

Thanks mom for putting this together – it was fun to feel like a kid again!

Do you decorate gingerbread houses?  Do you bake the houses yourself or do you opt for the store bough (easier) option?

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