A Blizzard of Gum Drops
After a semester of working hard on their Reading Mastery and writing skills, last week the Pre-k and second graders kicked off the holiday season building gingerbread houses. This was not only a fun activity for the kids; it also helped to practice fine motor skills. A blizzard of frosting and gumdrops blanketed the room as the tiny edible cottages were glued together, one tasty panel at a time. This serious work required quality building materials such as Twizzlers, Hershey Kisses, gumdrops, M&Ms, candy canes, peppermint lozenges and, of course, the quintessential vanilla frosting; not the canned premade frosting mind you; this was old fashioned boiled-on-the-stovetop frosting. A snow storm of young hands and sticky fingers whirled and blew to complete these deliciously delectable dream homes. When the storm abated, the room was transformed into a sparkling, miniature, edible village. Finally, these candy keepsakes were nestled into boxes to be presented as gifts to parents and family.
A Brief History of Gingerbread Houses
For many families, the tradition of decorating a gingerbread house is an annual holiday event. Little do they know that they are participating in a tradition that is centuries old. Like many popular festive traditions, Christmas gingerbread houses are an import from Germany and Scandinavia, where they are still at their most impressive, and a relatively recent one at that. While ginger, spice and sugar have always been ingredients for celebratory food and served at feasts and fairs, often at Easter rather than Christmas, the gingerbread house doesn’t really make its appearance until the last couple of centuries. It was the story of Hansel and Gretel that appeared in Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s 1812 Children’s and Household Tales that really popularized the gingerbread house. In fact, there is often a claim that the Brothers Grimm may have essentially invented the gingerbread house.
If you would like to learn more about gingerbread houses or create your own, feel free to visit the links below. Happy Holidays!