TUESDAY: The Gingerbread House

BY MICHELLE DINNICK

Copyright is held by the author.

EVERY YEAR, I have an-almost anxiety attack when my three little boys and I get ready to build the Christmas gingerbread house. The house itself is exciting enough; but one year, at a pre-Christmas party, when my twins were almost 2, and my oldest was 3 and a half, a well-intentioned good friend of mine gave us a gingerbread village! An ENTIRE GINGERBREAD VILLAGE!

“Thank you!” I said. “How nice!” I said, trying to disguise my dread.

I poured another glass of wine, and imagined the instructions my oldest would no doubt bestow on us: “I want that piece! He isn’t holding it right! This goes here, not there! He broke it! We need more glue!

And I can’t help but chime in . . . “It’s not glue its icing!”

And finally, “Stop eating all the candies or we won’t have enough to decorate the house!”

Phew! But I am getting ahead of myself.

Every year, the gingerbread house only ever gets half built. If it also comes with gingerbread people, these are promptly divided and eaten on the spot, lest we have to decorate them and try to make them stand next to the house.

If the house has a chimney that needs attaching, it usually falls on the floor and cracks, (because apparently, we don’t use enough glue) and becomes “bunny treats” as my boys call it, for our pet rabbit.

If the kit comes with a single candy wreath, my oldest declares that it was meant for him, because there is only one. His younger brothers naturally agree, because he tells them that they can each have a jelly bean. They are always excited by this.

I think he may have a career as a politician when he grows up.

Now, this %$#@&! gingerbread village, that my ever-so-thoughtful friend gave me . . . this %$#@&! Village! It had a house, a workshop, a chalet, and an entire %$#&@! Gingerbread FAMILY! Complete with pets!

This was the year I really felt that my education was lacking because I had not gone to elf architecture school, and because I knew I would not make it through this endeavor with my sanity.

This was the year that the gingerbread people did not get scarified at the start of our ritual. They were beautifully decorated and saved for the next day to eat.

This was the year that unfortunately, it seemed that an invisible demolition crew had somehow gotten to our gingerbread construction site while we worked; and repeatedly destroyed our attempts at Christmas Village assembly.

This was the year that the biggest broken pieces of gingerbread walls were decorated, and eaten. No bunny treats this time! Most of the “extra” candies were eaten that afternoon, even the small candy balls that had fallen onto the floor and had been chased by our cats.

This was the year that we, (OK, I) — decided that in the future, we would decorate lots and lots of gingerbread people. No more houses.

In the Christmases that have come and gone since; still, most of the candies get eaten before they make it onto the cookies. Yes, even the ones that fall on the floor. And as much fun as it is, for us all, I am extremely glad that gingerbread only invades our house but once a year.

Or, so I thought!

Recently, my boys have discovered the chocolate Haunted House kit for Halloween; and the Easter Bunny Cottage kit. I really need to get the phone number for the delightfully creative person or persons who invented these things. I’d really like to call them and say, “Thank you!”