all things christmas #1 – gingerbread

I am a true Christmas lover once again. I have never wavered in my love of the reason for the season, but the season itself took a fair beating during my uni days when I worked at Target.

But let’s not take a trip down that particular red and white memory lane in which poor Christmas music is played on a one hour loop from 1 November…

In my next few blog posts I’m planning to share some of the things I love about Christmas!

Gingerbread houses

This year I made two gingerbread houses in the space of one weekend. I helped organise a gingerbread making night for the women from church and friends. I picked up the kits from Jordans Cakes at Riverstone, which is pretty devoted to gingerbread houses (to the extent that there were only 4 loaves of bread on the shelf). Roofs and walls lay cooling on tray after tray and in the short time I was there two others popped in to pick up their orders!  Well priced kits…will have to find out about the taste from my boss since I gave that first house to her!

On the night I enjoyed hearing my friend Fiona speak. She shared a little history of gingerbread, and also gave a challenge to consider those without ‘homes’ at Christmas – like refugees, and homeless people.  It was also refreshing to be reminded of God’s promise to us through Jesus that He is preparing a place – a home – for those who call Him Lord, for all eternity.

I made my second house at GBHMD (Ginger Bread House Making Day) – a tradition organised by two of my friends who are sisters – and both passionate Christmas lovers. I have been making houses (and one gingerbread train in 2008) with them for a few years now. GBHMD has always been a fun tradition of Mariah Carey carols, catching up with friends, lolly sharing and eating, decorating, and potluck lunch.

my gingerbread house...to be eaten on Christmas Day!

House #2 is currently atop the bookshelf waiting for Christmas Day to ‘smash’ it open – that’s Adam’s job.

Gingerbread biscuits

A couple of years ago, I realised that just decorating the gingerbread wasn’t enough… I wanted to bake it too! My Christmas loving friend (same one as above) emailed me her recipe – complete with an instruction to buy a rolling pin!

In my first batch this year I made some stars, trees, bells and some mini gingerbread men. I then found a bigger gingerbread man cutter and (to my delight) a gingerbread woman! Apart from looking cool, I was hoping that the bigger cutters might speed up the baking process so I could get on with icing and lollies. But the little arms, legs and heads tended to break off easily and therefore required delicate transportation from pastry sheet to baking tray. I learned that the more I kneaded the dough, the more likely the biscuit would stay together after being cut out.

Decorating…is…fun. Piping bag essential!

ginger stars!
gingerbread girl!

Well as much as Adam and I love gingerbread, we couldn’t eat all two batches of bikkies. I bundled some up (as per photo) as gifts for my colleagues at International Teams and sent Adam off to work with a container as well.

gingerbread biscuits gift wrapped for my colleagues

Aside from being tasty, looking fun and being good gifts at Christmas, I really love making and decorating gingerbread for the same reason I like gardening. Whether covered in dirt or dough, my own hands are working to create something new. Something real and tangible. And that’s satisfying! I wonder if that’s my farming heritage on my Dad’s side coming out?!

Next post: the tree!

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