My sister-in-law and I inadvertently started a holiday tradition three Christmases ago when we made a gingerbread house together. We both enjoy baking, so we have the skills, but we also seem to work well together on this sort of thing.
We started simple that year: a basic house. It did have a pretzel-stick split-rail fence, mini marshmallow snowman and life-cereal thatch roof. It was an honest triumph. It went so well we spent a lot of 2007 thinking about what to do last Christmas and we made a gingerbread carousel.
This was MUCH more complicated. We could have taken the easy route and just made two large gingerbread circles and gone from there, but we wanted a slanted roof. So we made to equal hexagons, made triangles to go on top as a roof and supported the whole damn thing with candy canes. It was not easy. But we pulled it off.
This year, we did something technically easier, which gave us greater ability to experiment with some things. First off, Maggie read about how to build a more structurally sound house. Last year, we built the carousel too quickly. This year we let the walls "dry" before asking them to support a roof, etc. Also, we've talked about melting lifesavers to make "glass" but this was the first year we did it.
That is a gingerbread lighthouse! We didn't over-decorate this year for several reasons, but one being that we felt simple was better this go-round. The melted lifesavers make up the "lightbox" at the top of the tower. We also brought back one of my favorite parts from the first year: the Pez-candy chimney:
Anyhow, the ante may go up from here. We're getting good at this. We may try for some complex designs next year. Stay tuned...