The Holiday House

Gingerbreadhouse2013aSusanna here. The origins of gingerbread are difficult to trace, although it’s mentioned throughout history, including in the Fifth Act of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, when a character remarks, “An I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst have it to buy ginger-bread.”

He might have been talking to my husband’s friend who, for several years now, has been gifting our family with the most incredible gingerbread houses.



Gingerbreadhouse2014He makes these every December, entirely from scratch and to his own designs, and gives them away to his friends, and they’re just the most wonderful thing to receive. They light up. They make the house smell like I’ve been baking all day. And they’ve become a treasured highlight of our festive season.

Each year, we’re convinced he’s outdone himself.

House2016_1aThis year, I’m sure of it.

He didn’t make us a gingerbread house, this year. He made a gingerbread mill. With a mill pond. AND water wheel.

I took these pictures the day it arrived (all the candy decorations have mysteriously vanished, now…) so I could share it here, and let it brighten up your holidays a little, too.

House2016_4Next year, I’m told, he’s considering making a gingerbread train…

And I’m already clearing a place for it.

Have you ever tried making a gingerbread house? Is there any gift you receive each year that just makes the holiday that much more special? And are you, like me, hanging on a bit longer than everyone else to that holiday feeling?

House2016_3

90 thoughts on “The Holiday House”

  1. What an utterly brilliant and kind friend, and what fabulous gingerbread houses! I would be so torn with a gift like that — part of me would want to preserve it forever — but gingerbread is meant to be eaten. I’ve never made a gingerbread house, but something like this would inspire me. I’d probably make a gingerbread shack, though, and would be lucky if it stayed up. Then again, a tumbledown building would be much easier to eat. Problem solved. *G*

    Reply
  2. What an utterly brilliant and kind friend, and what fabulous gingerbread houses! I would be so torn with a gift like that — part of me would want to preserve it forever — but gingerbread is meant to be eaten. I’ve never made a gingerbread house, but something like this would inspire me. I’d probably make a gingerbread shack, though, and would be lucky if it stayed up. Then again, a tumbledown building would be much easier to eat. Problem solved. *G*

    Reply
  3. What an utterly brilliant and kind friend, and what fabulous gingerbread houses! I would be so torn with a gift like that — part of me would want to preserve it forever — but gingerbread is meant to be eaten. I’ve never made a gingerbread house, but something like this would inspire me. I’d probably make a gingerbread shack, though, and would be lucky if it stayed up. Then again, a tumbledown building would be much easier to eat. Problem solved. *G*

    Reply
  4. What an utterly brilliant and kind friend, and what fabulous gingerbread houses! I would be so torn with a gift like that — part of me would want to preserve it forever — but gingerbread is meant to be eaten. I’ve never made a gingerbread house, but something like this would inspire me. I’d probably make a gingerbread shack, though, and would be lucky if it stayed up. Then again, a tumbledown building would be much easier to eat. Problem solved. *G*

    Reply
  5. What an utterly brilliant and kind friend, and what fabulous gingerbread houses! I would be so torn with a gift like that — part of me would want to preserve it forever — but gingerbread is meant to be eaten. I’ve never made a gingerbread house, but something like this would inspire me. I’d probably make a gingerbread shack, though, and would be lucky if it stayed up. Then again, a tumbledown building would be much easier to eat. Problem solved. *G*

    Reply
  6. I think the extent of my gingerbread skills are the biscuits I made for Christmas!
    Seeing something as amazing as those, I would sort of like to try, but could never match it. I can only imagine how long it must take.

    Reply
  7. I think the extent of my gingerbread skills are the biscuits I made for Christmas!
    Seeing something as amazing as those, I would sort of like to try, but could never match it. I can only imagine how long it must take.

    Reply
  8. I think the extent of my gingerbread skills are the biscuits I made for Christmas!
    Seeing something as amazing as those, I would sort of like to try, but could never match it. I can only imagine how long it must take.

    Reply
  9. I think the extent of my gingerbread skills are the biscuits I made for Christmas!
    Seeing something as amazing as those, I would sort of like to try, but could never match it. I can only imagine how long it must take.

    Reply
  10. I think the extent of my gingerbread skills are the biscuits I made for Christmas!
    Seeing something as amazing as those, I would sort of like to try, but could never match it. I can only imagine how long it must take.

    Reply
  11. Susanna, I love ginger bread, and your lovely friend puts me to shame–for I’m a reluctant baker at best. I envy such skill, and patience in others who do enjoy baking.
    “I would be so torn with a gift like that — part of me would want to preserve it forever — but gingerbread is meant to be eaten.” lol, Anne, my Mum used to say “I’m not baking anymore; it only gets eaten.” We kids we be like HUH! Isn’t that the point? In hindsight, I think she meant the baking was to last more than a day or two.

    Reply
  12. Susanna, I love ginger bread, and your lovely friend puts me to shame–for I’m a reluctant baker at best. I envy such skill, and patience in others who do enjoy baking.
    “I would be so torn with a gift like that — part of me would want to preserve it forever — but gingerbread is meant to be eaten.” lol, Anne, my Mum used to say “I’m not baking anymore; it only gets eaten.” We kids we be like HUH! Isn’t that the point? In hindsight, I think she meant the baking was to last more than a day or two.

    Reply
  13. Susanna, I love ginger bread, and your lovely friend puts me to shame–for I’m a reluctant baker at best. I envy such skill, and patience in others who do enjoy baking.
    “I would be so torn with a gift like that — part of me would want to preserve it forever — but gingerbread is meant to be eaten.” lol, Anne, my Mum used to say “I’m not baking anymore; it only gets eaten.” We kids we be like HUH! Isn’t that the point? In hindsight, I think she meant the baking was to last more than a day or two.

    Reply
  14. Susanna, I love ginger bread, and your lovely friend puts me to shame–for I’m a reluctant baker at best. I envy such skill, and patience in others who do enjoy baking.
    “I would be so torn with a gift like that — part of me would want to preserve it forever — but gingerbread is meant to be eaten.” lol, Anne, my Mum used to say “I’m not baking anymore; it only gets eaten.” We kids we be like HUH! Isn’t that the point? In hindsight, I think she meant the baking was to last more than a day or two.

    Reply
  15. Susanna, I love ginger bread, and your lovely friend puts me to shame–for I’m a reluctant baker at best. I envy such skill, and patience in others who do enjoy baking.
    “I would be so torn with a gift like that — part of me would want to preserve it forever — but gingerbread is meant to be eaten.” lol, Anne, my Mum used to say “I’m not baking anymore; it only gets eaten.” We kids we be like HUH! Isn’t that the point? In hindsight, I think she meant the baking was to last more than a day or two.

    Reply
  16. When my kids were young, I used to make gingerbread houses from scratch, for them and for the neighbors’ kids. I’m afraid they didn’t look anything like your friend’s productions, but I had fun, and all the kids really looked forward to an edible decoration. I still have the paper patterns I used for cutting the shapes out of the sheets of gingerbread.
    Confession: I know you’re supposed to glue it all together with frosting, but I used toothpicks as well. I guess I’m the belt and suspenders type.

    Reply
  17. When my kids were young, I used to make gingerbread houses from scratch, for them and for the neighbors’ kids. I’m afraid they didn’t look anything like your friend’s productions, but I had fun, and all the kids really looked forward to an edible decoration. I still have the paper patterns I used for cutting the shapes out of the sheets of gingerbread.
    Confession: I know you’re supposed to glue it all together with frosting, but I used toothpicks as well. I guess I’m the belt and suspenders type.

    Reply
  18. When my kids were young, I used to make gingerbread houses from scratch, for them and for the neighbors’ kids. I’m afraid they didn’t look anything like your friend’s productions, but I had fun, and all the kids really looked forward to an edible decoration. I still have the paper patterns I used for cutting the shapes out of the sheets of gingerbread.
    Confession: I know you’re supposed to glue it all together with frosting, but I used toothpicks as well. I guess I’m the belt and suspenders type.

    Reply
  19. When my kids were young, I used to make gingerbread houses from scratch, for them and for the neighbors’ kids. I’m afraid they didn’t look anything like your friend’s productions, but I had fun, and all the kids really looked forward to an edible decoration. I still have the paper patterns I used for cutting the shapes out of the sheets of gingerbread.
    Confession: I know you’re supposed to glue it all together with frosting, but I used toothpicks as well. I guess I’m the belt and suspenders type.

    Reply
  20. When my kids were young, I used to make gingerbread houses from scratch, for them and for the neighbors’ kids. I’m afraid they didn’t look anything like your friend’s productions, but I had fun, and all the kids really looked forward to an edible decoration. I still have the paper patterns I used for cutting the shapes out of the sheets of gingerbread.
    Confession: I know you’re supposed to glue it all together with frosting, but I used toothpicks as well. I guess I’m the belt and suspenders type.

    Reply
  21. I remember us making a gingerbread house when I was a kid, but I think it came as a sort of kit. Anything my mom baked wouldn’t have lasted that long – we would have eaten it 🙂
    These houses are truly beautiful, so elaborate. They remind me of the “villages” in the department store windows downtown that my parents took me to when I was little. Amazing.
    I have some Christmas things out all year, so it’s not exactly a matter of putting everything away. I keep the lighted ones up until the batteries run down. I always have some bookshelf Santas out because they cheer me up.

    Reply
  22. I remember us making a gingerbread house when I was a kid, but I think it came as a sort of kit. Anything my mom baked wouldn’t have lasted that long – we would have eaten it 🙂
    These houses are truly beautiful, so elaborate. They remind me of the “villages” in the department store windows downtown that my parents took me to when I was little. Amazing.
    I have some Christmas things out all year, so it’s not exactly a matter of putting everything away. I keep the lighted ones up until the batteries run down. I always have some bookshelf Santas out because they cheer me up.

    Reply
  23. I remember us making a gingerbread house when I was a kid, but I think it came as a sort of kit. Anything my mom baked wouldn’t have lasted that long – we would have eaten it 🙂
    These houses are truly beautiful, so elaborate. They remind me of the “villages” in the department store windows downtown that my parents took me to when I was little. Amazing.
    I have some Christmas things out all year, so it’s not exactly a matter of putting everything away. I keep the lighted ones up until the batteries run down. I always have some bookshelf Santas out because they cheer me up.

    Reply
  24. I remember us making a gingerbread house when I was a kid, but I think it came as a sort of kit. Anything my mom baked wouldn’t have lasted that long – we would have eaten it 🙂
    These houses are truly beautiful, so elaborate. They remind me of the “villages” in the department store windows downtown that my parents took me to when I was little. Amazing.
    I have some Christmas things out all year, so it’s not exactly a matter of putting everything away. I keep the lighted ones up until the batteries run down. I always have some bookshelf Santas out because they cheer me up.

    Reply
  25. I remember us making a gingerbread house when I was a kid, but I think it came as a sort of kit. Anything my mom baked wouldn’t have lasted that long – we would have eaten it 🙂
    These houses are truly beautiful, so elaborate. They remind me of the “villages” in the department store windows downtown that my parents took me to when I was little. Amazing.
    I have some Christmas things out all year, so it’s not exactly a matter of putting everything away. I keep the lighted ones up until the batteries run down. I always have some bookshelf Santas out because they cheer me up.

    Reply
  26. Totally rad! But … do you eat them up every year? Or maybe have a big train table where they create a growing community? I’m guessing it’s the former, since you say the roof decorations are now (mysteriously?) missing.
    Something I noticed this year at Trader Joe’s and elsewhere: an ugly sweater cookie kit. Good party idea, I suppose. But not nearly as exciting as your g’bread houses. Congrats to you for having such a wonderful friend. Is he an engineer? Sounds like it!

    Reply
  27. Totally rad! But … do you eat them up every year? Or maybe have a big train table where they create a growing community? I’m guessing it’s the former, since you say the roof decorations are now (mysteriously?) missing.
    Something I noticed this year at Trader Joe’s and elsewhere: an ugly sweater cookie kit. Good party idea, I suppose. But not nearly as exciting as your g’bread houses. Congrats to you for having such a wonderful friend. Is he an engineer? Sounds like it!

    Reply
  28. Totally rad! But … do you eat them up every year? Or maybe have a big train table where they create a growing community? I’m guessing it’s the former, since you say the roof decorations are now (mysteriously?) missing.
    Something I noticed this year at Trader Joe’s and elsewhere: an ugly sweater cookie kit. Good party idea, I suppose. But not nearly as exciting as your g’bread houses. Congrats to you for having such a wonderful friend. Is he an engineer? Sounds like it!

    Reply
  29. Totally rad! But … do you eat them up every year? Or maybe have a big train table where they create a growing community? I’m guessing it’s the former, since you say the roof decorations are now (mysteriously?) missing.
    Something I noticed this year at Trader Joe’s and elsewhere: an ugly sweater cookie kit. Good party idea, I suppose. But not nearly as exciting as your g’bread houses. Congrats to you for having such a wonderful friend. Is he an engineer? Sounds like it!

    Reply
  30. Totally rad! But … do you eat them up every year? Or maybe have a big train table where they create a growing community? I’m guessing it’s the former, since you say the roof decorations are now (mysteriously?) missing.
    Something I noticed this year at Trader Joe’s and elsewhere: an ugly sweater cookie kit. Good party idea, I suppose. But not nearly as exciting as your g’bread houses. Congrats to you for having such a wonderful friend. Is he an engineer? Sounds like it!

    Reply
  31. I do adore those houses! And ENVY them. I often thought of trying one, but knew they were past my skills, both at baking and at construction.
    Like Janice said, above, I keep some Christmas decorations out all year long. And this year we didn’t do any decorating AT ALL! I didn’t like that, So, I have 11 months to decide how to decorate so the house feels like Christmas and old body isn’t worn out for the enjoyment of the holidays and the teardown at Ephinany.

    Reply
  32. I do adore those houses! And ENVY them. I often thought of trying one, but knew they were past my skills, both at baking and at construction.
    Like Janice said, above, I keep some Christmas decorations out all year long. And this year we didn’t do any decorating AT ALL! I didn’t like that, So, I have 11 months to decide how to decorate so the house feels like Christmas and old body isn’t worn out for the enjoyment of the holidays and the teardown at Ephinany.

    Reply
  33. I do adore those houses! And ENVY them. I often thought of trying one, but knew they were past my skills, both at baking and at construction.
    Like Janice said, above, I keep some Christmas decorations out all year long. And this year we didn’t do any decorating AT ALL! I didn’t like that, So, I have 11 months to decide how to decorate so the house feels like Christmas and old body isn’t worn out for the enjoyment of the holidays and the teardown at Ephinany.

    Reply
  34. I do adore those houses! And ENVY them. I often thought of trying one, but knew they were past my skills, both at baking and at construction.
    Like Janice said, above, I keep some Christmas decorations out all year long. And this year we didn’t do any decorating AT ALL! I didn’t like that, So, I have 11 months to decide how to decorate so the house feels like Christmas and old body isn’t worn out for the enjoyment of the holidays and the teardown at Ephinany.

    Reply
  35. I do adore those houses! And ENVY them. I often thought of trying one, but knew they were past my skills, both at baking and at construction.
    Like Janice said, above, I keep some Christmas decorations out all year long. And this year we didn’t do any decorating AT ALL! I didn’t like that, So, I have 11 months to decide how to decorate so the house feels like Christmas and old body isn’t worn out for the enjoyment of the holidays and the teardown at Ephinany.

    Reply
  36. Wow that is some design. The nearest I’ve gotten is making ginger bread people for my kids when they were young. I love the smell of it in the house when it’s baking!

    Reply
  37. Wow that is some design. The nearest I’ve gotten is making ginger bread people for my kids when they were young. I love the smell of it in the house when it’s baking!

    Reply
  38. Wow that is some design. The nearest I’ve gotten is making ginger bread people for my kids when they were young. I love the smell of it in the house when it’s baking!

    Reply
  39. Wow that is some design. The nearest I’ve gotten is making ginger bread people for my kids when they were young. I love the smell of it in the house when it’s baking!

    Reply
  40. Wow that is some design. The nearest I’ve gotten is making ginger bread people for my kids when they were young. I love the smell of it in the house when it’s baking!

    Reply
  41. My mum used to say the same about cleaning, Suzanne. I think that’s the tough thing about housework and cooking — it’s usually taken for granted — until you stop doing it. *g*

    Reply
  42. My mum used to say the same about cleaning, Suzanne. I think that’s the tough thing about housework and cooking — it’s usually taken for granted — until you stop doing it. *g*

    Reply
  43. My mum used to say the same about cleaning, Suzanne. I think that’s the tough thing about housework and cooking — it’s usually taken for granted — until you stop doing it. *g*

    Reply
  44. My mum used to say the same about cleaning, Suzanne. I think that’s the tough thing about housework and cooking — it’s usually taken for granted — until you stop doing it. *g*

    Reply
  45. My mum used to say the same about cleaning, Suzanne. I think that’s the tough thing about housework and cooking — it’s usually taken for granted — until you stop doing it. *g*

    Reply
  46. Sonya, he starts making them ages ahead of time, and it’s quite a production (according to my husband, who’s been permitted to see the work in progress).
    He gets some help from his wife and children, but it’s still a massive undertaking.
    And he gives miniature houses to all the kids in his children’s school classes, too 🙂

    Reply
  47. Sonya, he starts making them ages ahead of time, and it’s quite a production (according to my husband, who’s been permitted to see the work in progress).
    He gets some help from his wife and children, but it’s still a massive undertaking.
    And he gives miniature houses to all the kids in his children’s school classes, too 🙂

    Reply
  48. Sonya, he starts making them ages ahead of time, and it’s quite a production (according to my husband, who’s been permitted to see the work in progress).
    He gets some help from his wife and children, but it’s still a massive undertaking.
    And he gives miniature houses to all the kids in his children’s school classes, too 🙂

    Reply
  49. Sonya, he starts making them ages ahead of time, and it’s quite a production (according to my husband, who’s been permitted to see the work in progress).
    He gets some help from his wife and children, but it’s still a massive undertaking.
    And he gives miniature houses to all the kids in his children’s school classes, too 🙂

    Reply
  50. Sonya, he starts making them ages ahead of time, and it’s quite a production (according to my husband, who’s been permitted to see the work in progress).
    He gets some help from his wife and children, but it’s still a massive undertaking.
    And he gives miniature houses to all the kids in his children’s school classes, too 🙂

    Reply
  51. Janice, I have to confess I’m always slow to take my Christmas decorations down each year. I love the look of them.
    And the mistletoe ball never does come down. I find it’s Very Useful to have in the hall 🙂

    Reply
  52. Janice, I have to confess I’m always slow to take my Christmas decorations down each year. I love the look of them.
    And the mistletoe ball never does come down. I find it’s Very Useful to have in the hall 🙂

    Reply
  53. Janice, I have to confess I’m always slow to take my Christmas decorations down each year. I love the look of them.
    And the mistletoe ball never does come down. I find it’s Very Useful to have in the hall 🙂

    Reply
  54. Janice, I have to confess I’m always slow to take my Christmas decorations down each year. I love the look of them.
    And the mistletoe ball never does come down. I find it’s Very Useful to have in the hall 🙂

    Reply
  55. Janice, I have to confess I’m always slow to take my Christmas decorations down each year. I love the look of them.
    And the mistletoe ball never does come down. I find it’s Very Useful to have in the hall 🙂

    Reply
  56. Mary, he works in IT (my husband’s a computer programmer), so there’s a bit of the engineer’s mindset in that field, as well.
    And I wish we could save them. I’d love to have them all on display somewhere, but between my eating the jelly beans and the inevitable decay of the gingerbread, it sadly never works out that way…

    Reply
  57. Mary, he works in IT (my husband’s a computer programmer), so there’s a bit of the engineer’s mindset in that field, as well.
    And I wish we could save them. I’d love to have them all on display somewhere, but between my eating the jelly beans and the inevitable decay of the gingerbread, it sadly never works out that way…

    Reply
  58. Mary, he works in IT (my husband’s a computer programmer), so there’s a bit of the engineer’s mindset in that field, as well.
    And I wish we could save them. I’d love to have them all on display somewhere, but between my eating the jelly beans and the inevitable decay of the gingerbread, it sadly never works out that way…

    Reply
  59. Mary, he works in IT (my husband’s a computer programmer), so there’s a bit of the engineer’s mindset in that field, as well.
    And I wish we could save them. I’d love to have them all on display somewhere, but between my eating the jelly beans and the inevitable decay of the gingerbread, it sadly never works out that way…

    Reply
  60. Mary, he works in IT (my husband’s a computer programmer), so there’s a bit of the engineer’s mindset in that field, as well.
    And I wish we could save them. I’d love to have them all on display somewhere, but between my eating the jelly beans and the inevitable decay of the gingerbread, it sadly never works out that way…

    Reply
  61. I love gingerbread houses! The waterwheel is terrific. I have a friend who makes them and has won gingerbread house competitions several times. One year he did Rapunzel’s tower, with her long hair hanging out the window, and another time it was a depiction of the Lascaux cave paintings.

    Reply
  62. I love gingerbread houses! The waterwheel is terrific. I have a friend who makes them and has won gingerbread house competitions several times. One year he did Rapunzel’s tower, with her long hair hanging out the window, and another time it was a depiction of the Lascaux cave paintings.

    Reply
  63. I love gingerbread houses! The waterwheel is terrific. I have a friend who makes them and has won gingerbread house competitions several times. One year he did Rapunzel’s tower, with her long hair hanging out the window, and another time it was a depiction of the Lascaux cave paintings.

    Reply
  64. I love gingerbread houses! The waterwheel is terrific. I have a friend who makes them and has won gingerbread house competitions several times. One year he did Rapunzel’s tower, with her long hair hanging out the window, and another time it was a depiction of the Lascaux cave paintings.

    Reply
  65. I love gingerbread houses! The waterwheel is terrific. I have a friend who makes them and has won gingerbread house competitions several times. One year he did Rapunzel’s tower, with her long hair hanging out the window, and another time it was a depiction of the Lascaux cave paintings.

    Reply

Leave a Comment