Yes, yes, you are at the right blog. Although I’ve never given you dear reader, nor my real life friends, any reason to believe I would be “craftsy” or “homemaker-y,” I nonetheless hosted my first annual Gingerbread House Competition this last Sunday. After all, if you run races, you’re probably competitive, even if it does involve an activity one never does. Bring it!
After dropping all pretense that this event was a festive holiday party, I invited some likely participants and gave them the rules: Everyone starts with the same store bought kit. Using multiple kits is allowed, but apart from the cardboard base, EVERYTHING MUST BE EDIBLE and for the most part created on-site during the competition (e.g., you can bring candy canes but if you’re transforming them, it must be done on-site). The competition – I mean, “party” – would last a total of six hours, after which we would choose a winner.
Four warriors showed up for battle at 10:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning, each ready to be crowned champion. Three of us had done internet research and were sure we had the winning design. Further, in the spirit of competition, one friend showed up with a decorating kit containing 40 or so frosting tips, while another had ordered special candy canes from England. Shit was about to get real.
The housing structures were assembled the night before since they took three hours to set, so we set out right away to decorate. One friend was so focused that she hardly spoke, ate nothing, and did not even take a smoke break. We finally tapped out at 2:30 p.m. Seriously, this was physically and mentally draining. We had originally thought we’d pitch in $10-20, have a blind vote (you couldn’t vote for yourself), and the winner would take the pot. But truthfully, three of us had already spent a small fortune decorating these $15 gingerbread houses.
Below are the four contestants with descriptions. I love how different each of them were. The winner is revealed at the end.
- Gingerbread House. This house stayed with tradition and shines in execution, color, and technique. Subtle additions like the outlines elevate the structure and the colors give it a real 60s-70s hippy vibe. This is a happy house.
- White Christmas. Since this house was sans color, it focuses on textures and detailed additions, such as the chimney, firewood, tree, fence, and stone path. A most elegant house…made of really disgusting sugar items.
- Peppermint Palace. Painstaking sugar cube brick placement. The candy cane path is comprised of special candy canes flown in from the UK. My husband said that men would like this the most – I did have one guy friend confirm, but otherwise, no further data.
- Cabin in the Woods. I mean, come on. Look at the frosting detail on this house! From the scalloped roof to the log cabin effect, all the result of careful and tedious wrist work. My friend even dyed the frosting at my house. Her mastery of sugar and liquid is well-represented.
Well, among the four of us, it was a tie: White Christmas and Cabin in the Woods. I later posted it on Facebook and let others chime in. In that poll, what I like to call the People’s Choice Awards, White Christmas ran away with the race. We have already started planning and plotting for next year. It was intense and a blast — my favorite kind of social activity.
What about you? Let me know your favorite!