Gingerbread Houses


One of the most fun traditions I have enjoyed during the Christmas season, began 13 years ago at my boss’ house with his three children.  While he and his wife went out to dinner and shopping, I would come over and the kids and I would make a gingerbread house.  Truth be told, we didn’t use gingerbread, but we used boxes, masking tape, graham crackers, lots of canned frosting and a variety of candies and cookies.

When we began this tradition, the children were young, so I would design the house and when we were done, we did our last sprinkle of powdered sugar before they went to bed. As they got older, they chose what we would make for the next year and upon our completion, they would wait up to see their parents’ faces as they saw that year’s masterpiece.  Their parents never knew what we were going to make, so it was always a big surprise reveal. Such fun!

We began with a simple house and then  moved to castles, mansions, log cabins, churches, and even a replica of their house.  I guess they got bored with a single house, because after awhile, they wanted to do entire scenes, such as farms, north pole,  a ranch, a tropical beach and the nativity scene.  These kids became so creative through the 13 years we kept this tradition!  Last year, they told me that we needed to end this tradition because the oldest girl was getting married.  It was bittersweet for us all.  I am very grateful for the opportunity to help this family make a wonderful Christmas tradition.  I hope they do the same for their own kids someday, because it wasn’t just about the gingerbread house, but about conversation, laughing, building relationships and just having fun.  Thanks for the memories, Mertz family.  If I could, I would sprinkle you all with powdered sugar (love)!

So, how can you be a blessing to a family?  Can you have them over to make Christmas cookies, take them to a concert, have them over to watch a Christmas movie and have some goodies, go for a walk in the snow to Starbucks for cocoa, have a children’s party with little presents and crafts, or bring a single parent family or some seniors into your home on Christmas Day?  Find ways and make the effort to extend the arms of Jesus to those who need and long for it. Remember, it is more about conversation, laughing, building relationships, and having fun.


Need some ideas for inspirational Christmas gifts?  Go to and look for “Visions of Him…Seeing God in Everyday Things”; a devotional book that will encourage readers to notice God more often.