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It's That Time of the Year!

Let Her Eat Cake with Madeleine Clemens

The air is colder, the ground covered with frost, and the holidays quickly approaching. During this time of the year, one is often surrounded with family and the days filled with festivities and tradition. In most cases, the center of these festivities is food. When I think back to the holidays at my house, I immediately picture my entire family sitting in a circle in the living room, talking and laughing with each other, each holding a large plate of food in their hands. In my opinion, the best food during the holidays is always the dessert.

Usually, my favorite part about making dessert is seeing the final product and getting to taste my creation. However, sometimes the process of making the dessert is more fun than eating it. This is especially the case when it comes to one of my favorite holiday activities – making gingerbread houses.

Every year, my mom insists on making gingerbread houses. Oftentimes, it’s just my immediate family who partake in this holiday tradition. Sometimes though, friends, boyfriends, neighbors, cousins, and other extended family will join in on the gingerbread-making party.

On the night before this family tradition, my mom prepares the gingerbread by mixing the dough and then baking it into molds. She somehow always makes just enough to ensure that everyone can decorate their own house, including a few extra pieces since a couple are bound to break in the process.

Then, on the day of, we each assemble around the table and decorate our own houses. Our dining room is always covered with colorful sprinkles, gooey frosting, and candies of all sorts at this point. Everyone takes their time carefully decorating their respective gingerbread house in whatever manner they choose. Once everyone is finished with their creations, we take turns showing them off to the group. We always discuss the best-looking, the not so best-looking, the most creative, etc., and then choose the ultimate winner of the group!

The picture below is the gingerbread house that I made last year, which was chosen as the winner. No matter how many people participate in this activity from year to year, it holds a place in my heart as something that I enjoy doing with those I love.

Maddie's Gingerbread House

This tradition started many years ago while my sisters and I were still living at home. Back when we were too young to decorate our own houses, we made a single house as a family. Now that we are all away at college or moved out, we still try to carry on the tradition the best we can. I’ve always loved how holiday traditions have the power to bring people together, and I look forward to decorating a beautiful gingerbread house again this year with my family.

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