I am behind this year on Christmas, and really noticing a difference. Normally I aim to meet Flylady's holiday deadlines to have my presents bought, menus planned, nonperishables stocked, cards mailed, and everything wrapped. This gives me the whole month to obsess over neighbor gifts (which I loathe).
This year I'm playing catch up on all of those things. The one thing I've done right is to wrap and label the presents but not stick bows on them. This way I can hide and stack them, I know who they're for, and I'll have the perfect job to do while I'm helping the kids wrap their gifts. OK, the other thing I've done right is use Amazon. Not only do I love their wish list and the universal wish list button so that I can add things to the kids' lists as I think of them whenever I'm "looking for the end of the internet" as Liesl's sister calls it. I also love their gift organizer which lets me create an idea list for family and friends and shows me what I bought for them in years past. Amazon has taken over large portions of my brain so that I can free up more time for the dread neighbor gifts.
So it was well into December before I started readying for the gingerbread house. I had planned to make a darling this old gingerbread saltbox house that they had on bobvila.com. I printed it out on the wrong paper, and then threw it away. When I returned to print it out on card stock, they had redone the website and broken the 4-year-old link. Color me crabby! So I used some other random pattern that looked cute. When we were assembling it, we found that it didn't fit together. At all. It was only Rob's quick use of scrap gingerbread and mom's piped rebar royal icing that enabled us to make a structure at all. (Use the One True Gingerbread Pattern. Why try anything else?)
Once that was up, though, it really was a joy for me to watch. I handed out ice cream cones for the kids to frost and decorate (and eat the candy off of and start over again. . . ). Maddie worked with Rob on the roof, Sebastian specialized in landscape. Curtis taught Rob how to make the icicles on the roof.
I do wonder about it as a family tradition, though. Lois was asking if the point is to eat it or to look at it and if it's for the kids to decorate or for the parents to show off with. We try to make it do everything, and that's a losing battle. The Isaaks bought kits for their kids to decorate so they only had half as many squabbles. Rob and I had two spats during gingerbread season and one child who was a conscientious objector. Probably some peeping and muttering too, but I've already blocked that.
Doesn't it look so Bavarian? I love the window boxes with Boston baked geraniums. I can just imagine caroling on Christmas Eve out in front of it. It was something of a Christmas miracle that Curtis and I, who had gone to three grocery stores and probably bought over 20 pounds of candy, we didn't overlap in anything except yogurt pretzels. Joss took care of the extras for us.
And here is ours. I asked for a wreath on the window, but other than that, I didn't care what it looked like and I didn't place a single piece of candy. I like the way it turned out despite the inadequate pattern. Now we look at it for a month just to torture the kids, and then let them smash it to smithereens on New Year's Day. I had leftover gingerbread and so much extra candy that I made one more house out of the One True Gingerbread House pattern and gave it to Ann to make with her girls. Because gingerbread houses are like family therapy on a cookie sheet and I had to share the love!