Monday, December 21, 2015

New Holiday Traditions

I love traditions. I've said it before. For me, traditions are what make holidays special. I am a creature of routine, so performing special activities once a year is really important to me. And I am always happy to start new traditions.

Gingerbread House


This year we finally made a gingerbread house. It something I've been wanting to do for a long time, and since Christopher finally seemed old enough, we gave it a try. 

The mess of making a gingerbread house

I went the easy route and bought a kit from Michael's. Last Friday night Christopher wanted to skip a birthday party to stay home and make the gingerbread house. That's how excited he was about it. He wanted to do it every year going forward even before we had done it this year.

We promised we could do it right away Saturday morning, so at 7:00 AM Christopher and I were pulling out all of the pieces and reading the instructions. Unfortunately, I didn't read the directions completely the night before, so we discovered that we would have to wait an hour in between building the walls of the house and applying the roof. Oops. We watched two Christmas specials, so it was all good.

I had already discovered the day before that we'd need to wait 3 hours before decorating, so we were prepared for that. The timing worked out pretty well because I was able to squeeze in a visit to the gym before the decorating was scheduled to begin. Christopher was incredibly impatient though.

I love his tongue sticking out when opening the candy bags.

Promptly at 11:30 AM, we began the decorating. Christopher wanted to match the design on our house with the design on the box. Of course! So he and I got to work. He was so cute cheering me on as I attempted to match the front door. It was hard! I am not very artistic, and I've never iced anything with an icing bag before. Let alone something vertical. But he didn't seem to mind. And he was happy to cut the marzipan and outline my pathetic door.

Me cutting the candy for the window.

I did my best rolling out the gumdrops and making a window. Our decorating continued rather poorly, but full of fun for the window on the front and the candy shutters. Then Jim joined us.

He is very artistic, so he was able to make an excellent flourish on the front that matched the picture perfectly. Christopher was very careful with the colors and the ordering of things to match, so it was really coming together.

Christopher icing the side of the gingerbread house.

Since the sides weren't pictured, he got a little more creative there. And I even let him do the icing. That was a fun little break for all of us because Christopher was kind of doing things on his own and having a lot of fun.

Christopher and Jim working on the roof.

Then came the one side of the roof. Jim can be a bit of a perfectionist. He did a great job, but he wasn't moving fast enough for me. And he re-did some of Christopher's work. Things got a little tense. By this point we'd been working on it for over an hour. Way longer than I anticipated. And we hadn't had lunch.

The front of the house. How'd we do compared to the box?

Christopher took some more creative liberties with the other side of the roof (again not pictured). And even after we promised that he could eat the remaining candy, he decorated in front of the house and added little bits here and there.

I think he ended up with only about 15 pieces of candy (the small balls), and he ate them even after professing that they didn't even taste that good.

All in all it was about as fun as I was hoping. I'm pretty happy with how our house turned out. I think we'll do it again next year.

Christopher's more creative sides since they weren't pictured.

Gingerbread House Destruction

Because we couldn't just admire the gingerbread house like a normal family, we had to get a little crazy. Christopher had seen a video on YouTube of some kids doing "Gingerbread House Destruction" with various weapons in their backyard. I watched it with him once, and I have to admit, it looked like fun.

So when Christopher asked if we could do it, I immediately said yes. Although I was hoping we'd do it after Christmas when we were finished using the house as a festive decoration. He couldn't wait. And I caved, so on Tuesday night, I left work a little early, so we could destroy the gingerbread house before it got dark.

Christopher decided to try all of the Ninja Turtle weapons in order of increasing potential for destruction. We did it on the back deck, so it wouldn't make a mess in the house, but so we could still pick up the large pieces.

I'll let the videos speak for themselves. We had to make two because there were some tears in the middle when the house fell off the table and broke without being hit by a weapon. Oh the drama of being a 5 year old.

Video 1: Minimal Destruction and then Catastrophe

Video 2: Karate Chopping with Various Weapons


Did you add any new traditions this year? Do you make gingerbread houses? Will you consider destroying them now after reading this post?

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