Gingerbread House Day is December 12!
Whether you’re a cookie-building expert or your baked house falls apart as soon as you glue the third wall with frosting, we all agree that the best part about building a gingerbread house is eating the candy when finished.
GINGERBREAD HOUSE DAY HISTORY
“Run, run, run as fast as you can,
You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man! ”
Nothing brings the holidays like the smell of freshly baked gingerbread. But before the decorative cookie topped the popularity contest at the Christmas dessert table, baking gingerbread was recognized as a specific profession. In the 17th century, only professional gingerbread bakers were allowed to make gingerbread, except at Christmas and Easter, when anyone was allowed to bake it.
In Europe, gingerbread was sold in specialty shops and seasonal markets that sold sweets and gingerbread shaped like hearts, stars, soldiers, babies, trumpets, swords, guns, and animals. Gingerbread was especially sold outside of churches on Sundays. Religious gingerbread reliefs were purchased for particular religious events such as Christmas and Lent. Decorated gingerbread was given as a gift to adults and children or as a token of love purchased specifically for weddings.
Gingerbread was also considered a popular art form in Europe. The casts often showed actual events by portraying new rulers, their children, spouses, and parties. Important collections of molds are kept in the Ethnographic Museum in Toruń, Poland and the Bread Museum in Ulm, Germany. According to some food historians, the tradition of making gingerbread houses began in Germany in the early 1800s. The first gingerbread houses were the result of Grimm’s well-known fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel”. After this story was published, German bakers began baking ornate fairy tale houses made from gingerbread. They were brought to the United States by German immigrants and became popular during the Christmas season.
Gingerbread house day schedule
1875 – You can’t catch me
“The Gingerbread Man”, an American fairy tale, first appeared in the May issue of St. Nicholas Magazine.
2001 – Shrek presents Gingy
“Do you know the man with the muffins?” The gingerbread man character, Gingy, becomes a fan favorite of Shrek from 2001.
2009 – The World’s Largest Gingerbread Man
The largest gingerbread man weighed 1,435 pounds and was manufactured by IKEA Furuset in Oslo, Norway.
2013 – The World’s Largest Gingerbread House
At 35.8 million calories and covering an area of 2,520 square feet (almost the size of a tennis court), a 21-foot-tall gingerbread house in Bryan, Texas, was declared the largest in history by Guinness. World Records.
Gingerbread house day faqs
How long does a gingerbread house last?
Depending on maintenance, storage, and how it is displayed, a gingerbread house can last a few days or a whole year.
What do you need for the gingerbread houses?
To make a gingerbread house, you will at least need:
A pastry bag
Assorted sweets, nuts, or pretzels for garnish
Can you eat a gingerbread house?
A gingerbread house is completely edible. However, depending on storage, maintenance, and how long it has been exposed, it can lose its freshness after a long period of time.
GINGERBREAD HOUSE DAY ACTIVITIES
Bake a gingerbread house from scratch
Gingerbread dough is surprisingly easy to make. You may need to rush to the store for the spices (ground ginger, cinnamon, and cloves) and molasses (another key ingredient), but we’re willing to bet just about everything else is already in your pantry. The hardest part is properly measuring the walls and ceiling of your gingerbread house before you bake them. If you have extra batter, why not make some gingerbread men and women to go with it?
Host a gingerbread house competition
Bake or buy lots of gingerbread pieces, white frosting, and tons of colorful treats. Invite your friends, listen to some Christmas tunes, and see who can make the most beautifully decorated gingerbread house!
Bring it down with a ginger latte
In December, these drinks seem to appear on the menus of coffee shops across the country. But if you can’t seem to find one near you, it’s easy to replicate. Buy gingerbread syrup or make your own by simmering water, sugar, ground ginger, cinnamon, and allspice on the stovetop until reduced and thickened. Mix the syrup with a shot of espresso and complete with warm milk. And so you have holiday cheer in a cup, no barista required.
WHY WE LOVE GINGERBREAD HOUSE DAY
It has fairy tale origins
People in Europe have been eating gingerbread for centuries, but we can thank the Brothers Grimm for the popularity of gingerbread houses. They published Hansel and Gretel in the 19th century, remember that one? It’s the fairy tale where a witch lures brother and sister into captivity in her house made of gingerbread and candy, and then tries to fatten them up to eat them (spoiler alert: they escape!) The story became immensely popular in Germany, and people started baking gingerbread houses over the holidays as a result.
Bring out your inner child
There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned craft project to make you feel like a kid again. And that is even more true when the materials for its preparation are a) edible and b) full of sugar. Add in the childish excitement that people of all ages feel on vacation? That’s the trifecta right there.
Plus: ginger is good for you, right?
The main flavor of gingerbread is, of course, ginger. It’s what gives gingerbread that warm Christmas flavor and a subtly spicy touch. Ginger also has a host of health benefits: It can help with indigestion or nausea, it’s anti-inflammatory, and it might even lower cholesterol levels, lower risk factors for heart disease, and have some cancer-fighting properties. Sure, it’s probably best eaten alone, but it’s the holidays! We will not say.