Every year since my niece Ninja was 5, we have attempted to make a gingerbread house. Some years were more successful than others. The year we used Royal Icing, we actually got the fucking thing to stand up, but the Rev wouldn’t let anyone eat it because the frosting contained raw eggs. Last year, we got a kit, complete with a form that had channels which would supposedly lock the pre-made gingerbread slabs in place. Yeah, my ass! We experienced total collapse. Here’s a pic of it that we snapped prior to the great cave in. I think Yoda makes it.
THIS year, I had many lofty goals. Two days before the big event, I made a scale drawing and plans for the house. The pasteboard cut-outs stood up on their own, and the fake roof stayed on. I foolishly thought this was a good sign. We started baking the gingerbread. First we made cookies in the shapes of trees and Pac-Man, and chickens (because this is what you get when the only visual artist in your family hates Christmas). The boys helped us decorate. J. painstakingly crafted each piece and then promptly ate it. A. helped by licking all the icing and sprinkles off of the cookies. A. is such a generous baby. He’d take a big lick, and then sneak his cookie under the table to give Stadler (our massive Lab puppy) a taste. The dog got so many gingerbread “accidents” and leavings that she collapsed into a sugar coma, and actually slept through the entire night. By the time we were done with the cookies, everybody was pretty much gingerbreaded out, but I insisted that we at least BUILD the stupid house. The slabs of gingerbread were baked and had been sitting in the freezer for about four hours. I pulled them out and started building. It went okay for a minute, until the roof collapsed, and the whole shebang fell into a derelict pile. Patiently, I rebuilt and threw the house in the fridge. At this point the Rev, who you will remember had previously declared a gingerbread house inedible when all the ingredients were legitimately FOOD, told me to hot glue the thing. We waited about 20 minutes, and then pulled the fucker out. It seemed pretty stuck, so we proceeded to decorate it. I had jelly beans for the roof, and I let the kids put them on like tiles. They looked beautiful, until combined weight of the jellies and the moisture of the frosting caused the cookie slabs to crack and fall into the middle of the house. Then the front, back, and sides caved in. At this point, my brother (wanting to get his sugar amped children home) came into the kitchen and told me that I needed man help. He proceeded to critique my frosting, saying that it wasn’t sticky enough and that it had the consistency of “delicious, delicious whipped cream.” He then grabbed a finger-fulls of it and proceeded to glop the inside seams of the house, pointing out that if I ever got the thing to stand up, he was going to take architectural credit due to his invention of interior seam frosting. The real problem, however, was the roof. I had a leftover gingerbread kit that my brother had found underneath his counter, and I took the two year old slabs of cookie, and used them to make a new roof. I do not feel guilty about this (well, not MUCH) because I’m pretty sure McDonald’s level industrial preservatives are involved in the manufacture of boxed gingerbread. Unfortunately, it the new roof didn’t fit exactly right, and I had to use three slabs to kind of make it work. I also attempted to use load bearing candy canes. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. It doesn’t work. The whole thing went back into the fridge again, and I sent the children home with a massive plate of cookies that included the whole roof. At that point, I was oozing frosting through every pore, so I took an exhaustion-laced shower, and posted something on Facebook about gingerbread house construction being a cure for both anorexia and insomnia. I seriously think I consumed enough frosting and sundries in one sitting (purely accidentally) to fuck up a herd of Weight Watchers for an entire year.
Cut to two days later:
So, I let the whole thing turn into frosted concrete, popped it out of the fridge and proceeded to decorate it. I redid the jelly bean roof theme, and started on the front of the house. I was well into fixing the front when the roof collapsed again. I rebuilt, but the top slab fell through the hole and I couldn’t fish it out without demolishing the whole thing. I gave up and put it back in the fridge. This morning, I pulled it out performed reconstructive surgery on the top of the roof with graham crackers coated in about an inch of frosting. I then finished decorating the damned thing and put it in the fridge. It has snowmen, and Santas, and it lights up on top. I hate it. I want to hit it with a claw hammer, and I probably will. Here (like a phoenix rising from the ashes) it is in all its vague and adulterated glory:
Christmas is officially my bitch. I’m getting a divorce. Have a merry one, effers. Don’t forget your rubbers and bail money.