Holiday Traditions: Gingerbread House

DSCN6860Many of us are still celebrating the holidays….some of us are back to work and some people are on vacation until January 6 this year because that is when the first Monday falls after New Year’s Day. Many of us keep celebrating until January 6 every year because that is “Dia de Reyes” the Three Wise Man Day. History says that is when the Three Wise Men (Kings) brought gifts to baby Jesus. Hispanics traditionally celebrate Dia de Reyes with a rosca (a sweet pastry decorated with dry fruit) and piñata.

In my family, we have several holiday traditions. Since my sister, brother, and I moved back to San Diego, we have also started our own traditions here. One of those traditions is to decorate a gingerbread house with my nieces ad nephews. The kiddos are growing, so each year it seems harder to pin down a date when we can all get together to decorate it. My nieces are between six and nine years older than my sister’s eldest boy, so the tradition started many years ago with only my nieces and me. For about the past three years, my eldest nephew has been participating as well. Two years ago, I bought a house and a train, we decorated them at my sister’s house since she had a newborn and it was challenging for her to leave the house with the chilly weather. Last year, my nieces and nephews came over to our home and we decorated multiple houses to make a gingerbread village (see last pics below).

This year, I hadn’t purchased the gingerbread house yet and was trying to figure out when we would be able to decorate it. Then one Friday, just before I went to the store to buy it, my sister surprised me by telling me the boys already had one and they were looking forward to decorating it with me the next day (I was going to babysit them). It was spontaneous and worked out great! The house was a Christmas gift from their uncle (on their father’s side) and they were going to bring it to my house so we could decorate it together. She said this was a tradition and she wanted them to wait so we could decorate it together. Her words warmed my heart! I must confess, this gingerbread house was fancier than the one’s I am used to decorating because it included fondue (which required baking soda to flatten, luckily I had some), multiple colors of icing to decorate, more figurines, and already came assembled. It was beautiful and we had fun decorating it. The boys took the gingerbread house to their home to display it with their decorations. My sister told me the boys have been eating some of the candy and cookie figurines. That’s kids for you, gotta love their joy for the holidays! These holiday traditions bring joy to my life and we are creating fond memories with family!

Do you have any holiday traditions you enjoy?



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My sister brought donuts, yum!


She also brought sandwiches and snacks for the boys (the plantain chips are mine).

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The boys also had some tree ornament packets which they assembled and decorated.

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Before we started to decorate the gingerbread house, I took them around the block to see the holiday decorations.


We began by covering the table and using paper plates to try to not spread the icing and candy on the furniture (it worked). We placed the gingerbread house on a large plastic platter.

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This gingerbread house included fondue which needed to be rolled flat on baking soda and pressed, then  cut. I got a non-sharp, plastic knife my nephew could use to safely cut the red squares.

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My younger nephew lost interest in the gingerbread house and preferred to watch the movie Planes by Disney. My hubby had purchased the movie for the boys a few weeks prior and this was the perfect time to watch it! My nephew was enjoying some chocolate filled madeline cookies I had bought for their visit. I just had to take this picture, so cute with the chocolate on his mouth and hands! I cleaned him up immediately afterwards (it didn’t get on his clothes) 🙂


He snuck in a candy or two while decorating the house.


It was cute to see how much detail he put into decorating the house. He had a clear idea of how he wanted us to decorate it…including the windows, door, even the placement of the wreath!


My younger nephew continued to play.


Finally, our gingerbread house was decorated! The process took a while and by the end he was starting to get tired. After posing for this picture, he laid on the couch, I covered him with a blanket, and he quickly fell asleep.


The little one continued to play…and I joined him in playing Angry Birds. He enjoyed having his aunts undivided attention. I love these little boys so much, it was fun to spend the day with them!

From last year:

704760_3796911449434_1336482490_o 704900_3796909289380_2120699983_oThese is the gingerbread village we made last year with the boys & my nieces 🙂

You may also like:

Gingerbread House at Fairmont Newport Beach


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