Saturday, November 28, 2009

AND It's On!

After so many days of sitting here and staring, sighing forlornly, tempted to title my post "AND I Got NOTHING"....
I am back to the land of the living, and ready to share!

I could make a number of excuses for not being creative, for not posting over the past week, all of them legitimate ----comforting my husband through illness and a hospital visit, comforting a dear friend through not one but TWO traumatic experiences, teaching the Boy and his girlfriend how to make chocolate covered cherries, then pie crusts, the busy-ness of the holiday, pulling together a Thanksgiving feast without being still enough to BE thankful, but we'll just leave it there and get on with it. Though too busy to even think, I was where I was supposed to be, being friend, mom, lover and nursemaid.

But today, it's on....
Well, I'm doing my best to ease into being ON....listening to Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters' Christmas cd (one of my all-time favorite holiday listens) and sorting through discs of Christmas pictures to post here. The kids are at their dad's for the weekend; the Canadian is upstairs, hopefully scouring the attic for decorations; the dogs are lounging on the window seat watching squirrels---it's quiet. And yet, I don't quite feel like being Santa's elf today.

The "crafty family Christmas" article in the local paper came out yesterday.
Have a read; it came out quite nicely. It also features my friend Teresa of Maggie Grace World.

In it I was asked about any family Christmas craft traditions---one of our favorites is the gingerbread house, which is mentioned in the article, but WITHOUT the infamous punchline.
Care to hear the WHOLE story?

I'd always wanted to build a gingerbread house, but I had plenty of excuses--too many little hands, not enough space, not enough money...but the REAL excuse was that I knew how I'd handle it---I'd take it FAR too seriously, and spend HOURS laboring over it, oblivious to anything else around me.

And yep, when I finally decided to do it, that's exactly what I did....went above and beyond....designed my own pattern, tested it out in posterboard before cutting and baking, perfected the dough, bought every kind of candy I thought the perfect gingerbread house might need, even went all Martha Stewart and cut out the windows in the dough and filled them with crushed hard-candy to melt into stained glass windows. Of course one would need lighting inside to make the most of those exquisite stained glass windows, right?

We'd just tested all of our strands of lights before putting up our tree, and we had a couple of strands left over. I carefully coiled up a strand on the tray I would be building the house on, then proceeded to construct the house over the lights, making sure to leave an opening for the cord and enough length to reach an outlet.

It was dinner time (DINNER time?! Ooops! How'd that happen?!) when I stepped away to admire my creation.
I had just created the gaudiest monstrosity of a gingerbread house you could imagine!
And now for my moment of glory.....
I plugged the lights in......

WHERE did those FLASHING lights come from?!!! We didn't have any flashing lights when we tested the strands!!!?
The look of horror on my husband's face said it all, but it was soon followed by "Oh my. A gingerbread whorehouse".

Sixteen years later, and I have YET to live that one down.
Somewhere there are pictures; if I find them, I'll post them. I'm not ashamed; I've come a long way since that day.

Needless to say, my gingerbread houses since that Christmas have been, well, let's say a lot more thought and planning have gone into them.

As the kids have gotten older, they've participated more each year, first getting their own small houses to decorate, and eventually being allowed to contribute more to the building of our main house.
As much as they enjoy the creation of our houses, I'm afraid that the kids find the act of demolition much more satisfying.....

finding new and creative ways to destroy the structure, playing with the pieces of stale gingerbread, picking off their favorite candies, flinging rock hard bits of royal icing at each other.... GREAT family fun on Christmas morning!

Last year, we brought my young nephew into the fray. He thoroughly enjoyed himself, building a chimney that rivaled the size of his house and later smashing his creation with a hammer along with us.

What artsy/craftsy Christmas traditions does your family share?
Care to share them with us?

Now if you'll excuse me, the Canadian and I are about to embark on another tradition.....
getting the tree up and ready to decorate when the kids get home---lots of hot chocolate (even if it is 65 degrees here!) and longstanding holiday favorites on the stereo.
Starting to feel it now! IT'S ON!


Kara aka Mother Henna said...

FUN! You are making me want a gingerbread spice latte this morning :)

maggiegracecreates said...

Gingerbread whorehouse --- that is funny.

Thanks for teaching the boy and his girlfriend how to cook. Seems I have done a piss poor job on that task. See, I just started cooking myself - ask her.

Enjoy -

Love ya -- that girfriends mom

Eco Yogini said...

hahaha- I LOVE this story. we used to make gingerbread houses too- but never with LIGHTS!

Suzie Ridler said...

Absolutely amazing!