Gingerbread

Today was gingerbread man day. Every year, Jamie’s mother makes gingerbread men, and Jamie and his brother decorate them. I joined in the decorating in 2002, the second Christmas that Jamie and I were together. That was apparently the year when the gingerbread got competitive.

Things have gotten kind of ridiculously elaborate. Jamie tried to blame me, but I pointed out that since I’d never decorated gingerbread men before, he was the one who set the standard and clearly my gingerbread men were inspired by his, so I refuse to take all the blame.

I think our best year was the Fellowship of the Gingerbread. We had all nine members of the fellowship. Legolas had a toothpick bow and arrow, Aragorn and Boromir had toothpick swords, and Gimli had a toothpick ax. Gandalf had a huge toothpick staff, Merry and Pippin were holding Smartie apples, I believe, Sam had something or other, and Frodo, naturally, had the ring. It was rather sad eating them, actually, although I think we ate Boromir first for continuity’s sake.

The pirate year was another good one. I ate off the leg of a cookie and gave him a peg leg. He also had an eye patch, a sword, stripy pants, and a parrot on his shoulder. Harry Potter was quite successful as well – I think I might have made Ron and Hermione as well.

This year I opted for the Chronicles of Gingerbread, inspired by my recent trip to see The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. (Which I enjoyed immensely.) I started out with Mr. Tumnus, who seemed like a natural for a gingerbread man. I thinned out his legs first, since he is a faun and thus has the legs of a goat. His legs were a nice furry brown. He had a bright red scarf, was holding Lucy’s handkerchief with her intitials embroidered on, and had little toothpick horns. The best part, though, were the little chocolates that Jamie’s mother had bought – they were the perfect hooves. He is a most excellent gingerbread man. I think I will give him to my mother, since she is usually more appreciative of my literary gingerbread men than the average person. (Helps to have a librarian mother in these circumstances.)

I rounded out the collection with Peter, who had excellent armour featuring a lion (that was fiddly, the lion in miniature), a sword, and a shield with a big “A” on in (for Aslan), Susan, who had a lovely purple and yellow dress and a bow and arrow, the White Witch, who had a very good crown with lots of silver balls and a particularly fine wand consisting of an iced toothpick, which was quite a challenge, and Aslan himself, who has a most excellent mane. (He’ll probably be disgusting to eat – he has a ton of icing.)

It was fun to make them all. We spent the first part of the evening helping our niece and nephew make some cookies, and I ended up helping out my four-year-old niece, who has very strong opinions on these things. She immediately decided that she wanted to make Cinderella and Belle (with no prompting from me, even), and we started with Belle. She had a very lovely yellow dress and the ruffles on the sleeves were my niece’s favourite part. Cinderella is a little more abstract, but she has nice blonde hair and a lovely tiara, and some glass slippers. After that, my niece decided she needed to make the Beast as well, who had the advantage of just being a brown icing-covered cookie, and thus very easy to make.

Jamie and our nephew were working together, and their first cookie was quite an elaborate Santa. (Our nephew is 8, and thus has a little more dexterity for these things.) Next up, he decided he wanted to make Grandma, which led to some amusing shots of him sizing up Grandma to try to recreate her in cookie form. Their final effort was an excellent Hulk, who is also absolutely coated in icing. (Fortunately, those ones are going home with the kids so we won’t have to eat the three inches of icing.)

After the kids went to bed (they’re staying with Grandma this weekend), we were let loose on the rest of the cookies. I stuck to my Narnian cookies, but Jamie branched out a little more. He mostly opted for quantity over originality, but he made a particularly fine football player (which features a most realistic football, made by me out of the same chocolate pieces that made the hooves. It has little stitching and everything!), and a very recognizable Mickey Mouse.

It’s one of my favourite holiday occasions, gingerbread day. It’s one of the many things that Jamie and I have seamlessly blended together during the Christmas season. It started out as his family tradition, but has quickly become most decidedly hours. And I am very fond of it.

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