This time of year, you may have noticed that it is much harder to resist the temptation of sweets. It seems like everywhere you go, you’ll find candy canes, sugar cookies, peppermint bark and, of course, gingerbread houses.
But, as we continue to make our way through the season, we are left wondering where these types of desserts came from, but we’re determined to find out. Today, December 12, is National Gingerbread House Day, and we’re putting on our detective hats to determine the origin behind this magical craft.
If you think back, can you remember the first time you heard about a gingerbread house? If you’re like many of us, it was when you were listening to the fairytales of Brothers Grimm. Perhaps you remember the one. The story of Hansel and Gretel, two young children got lost in the woods before stumbling across a gingerbread house, which is home to an old witch who tries to eat them? That one couldn’t possibly be the story associated with a Christmas tradition.
Although the story may not sound especially Christmas-like, it is the story that inspired a culture of people to start building these houses. German bakers took the description from the story and began crafting their own versions. Since gingersnap cookies were already commonplace during Christmas, the activity became part of families’ annual traditions.
As German families immigrated to the United States, their gingerbread house baking traditions followed closely behind. Nowadays, building gingerbread houses is not only a fun way to pass an afternoon but can also act as a powerful creative outlet.
Are gingerbread houses a part of your families’ holiday traditions? If so, do you build them from scratch or start with a kit? Let us know in the comments below.
If this activity has not been part of your usual preparations, remember that it’s never too late to start a new tradition. Celebrate this unofficial holiday and release your inner architect. Happy Gingerbread House Day from Lions Pride!