On Sunday we decorated a gingerbread house. I would have said, "made" a gingerbread house but that wouldn't be accurate because you see, we didn't actually make the house. We bought the ubiquitous all in one kit, brought it home, unboxed everything, and then assembled. Wham bam thank you mam.
In the past, I've baked gingerbread from scratch. I've made the royal icing for the glue and had the girls go nuts, shopping for loads of candy to use as decorations. That was so much more fun. Granted I probably yelled a little bit more, grumbled obscenities to myself when the walls weren't quite even or the icing didn't quite hold as well as I thought it should. Baking time took longer than expected and of course, the first wall almost always comes out burnt around the edges. It wasn't the perfect gingerbread house but it was homemade and uniquely ours.
One year when I grew too tired to bake a fourth wall and a pitched roof, I decided to make a diorama. I assembled three walls and then left it as is. Then on the inside I made an ice rink complete with Teddy Grahams skating on the ice. There were Christmas trees, oversized candy canes and snowmen propped awkwardly around the open-house and ice rink. It was a mess that you couldn't quite take your eyes off of.
Maybe next year, if I have the energy, I'll go back to making the gingerbread from scratch. I certainly don't think the homemade gingerbread house is superior to the prepacked store bought version, I just think the homemade version is more me. And our house smelled authentically of gingerbread almost the entire season. That's something you can't get in a box.