Gingerbread Houses from Scratch at Eighty

Making gingerbread houses at eighty is no small task. See why this woman spends several weeks crafting each home with love. 

Standing at 4’10” tall, her small stature and rosy demeanor made her seem much larger. She had a pleasant and optimistic , something that I found to be an instant bond of friendship. We had both been through incredibly hard situations growing up–her an orphanage in the 40’s and me in other ways. But our positive outlook for the hardships we faced while growing up and how they defined them forged a friendship that spanned decades.

As I got to know her, I found that every year she made gingerbread houses by scratch for each of her grand and great grandchildren. Over the years she made enough to include my children and other children in the neighborhood. She often makes up to thirty houses every year. The dough is made by hand and the patterns are cut by hand. Each house is dried on racks and then assembled by her. 

Huge tupperware containers of candy are stored and each grandchild spends great lengths of time sorting through the candy to find the perfect pieces to fit each home.

choosing gingerbread candy

My kids look forward to getting their home each Christmas and digging through the candy to decorate their side of the house.  

My first grader even made a list of her inventory.

candy inventory

My dear sweet neighbor and friend is now eighty, and the process takes up to a week for her. But every house smells amazing and the molasses weaves different strains of color through each home, making it unique.

gingerbread house

This year as part of the Light the World campaign, we decided to feature her and pay her services forward. So as a service project I had my own kids and my kids in my groups at school make placemats for Meals on Wheels. Light the World is a campaign to do 25 acts of service for the 25 days before Christmas.

meals on wheels

Today’s campaign is to Feed the Hungry. I don’t think that necessarily means to always temporally feed someone. My kids are fed each year by an amazing woman who gives of herself and sacrifices for my kids. She gives them the gift of her time, example and love.

gingerbread house

We in turn gave of our time, example and love to those who need to remember that we love them and care about them. They need to know that a small child wrote them a note just like they would write their own parent. This year, remember to Light the World.



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