Five years ago I bought my first gingerbread house kit, an impulse purchase for the kids and I to do in celebration of our first Christmas in our new house. I was strangely excited about it — until I couldn’t get the icing to thicken well enough, or the walls to stand straight, and saw the horribly decorated, lopsided and OSHA-challenged monster we ended up creating. Where was the cute house shown on the box?!
I hated it and tossed it as soon as Christmas was over. I don’t even think I could bring myself to take a photo of it or I’d show you.
The kids, on the other hand, loved making that stupid thing. Loved it so much they asked to make another one the next year. The next December I lowered my expectations (to nil) and used a few tricks I had learned since the condemned housing project of ’03. The house came out better and I recall I got it to stand straight(er). The next few years brought more experience and more experimentation, yielding better results like the one in the photo above from ’06.
We’ve been making imperfect, crazy-looking gingerbread houses each December and I guess it’s become something of a tradition for the 3 of us…exactly the kind of thing I suggest for single parents in this month’s Imperfect Parent column. Reminisce with me about my early holiday expectations and let me know what’s worked — and hasn’t worked — for your family.
(Did you see my gingerbread house this year? ;) )