Every year, for the last decade or so, we've made a gingerbread house to enjoy as a special treat after the Christmas Eve service.
I think, once upon a time, the children helped me decorate it, but the tradition has morphed, and changed over the last few years, so that I decorate the house myself, as a surprise for the children. It's generally pretty simple, and a somewhat lopsided creation. But when it comes to candy covered, cookie houses, the children are pretty easy to please.
I was a late with it this year, and they were beginning to worry, so they were extremely relieved, as I pulled the big mixing bowl out last night, and sent them to bed with the smell of baking gingerbread.
Some years we buy the gingerbread kits, and I use the stale cardboard-like cookies from the kit as a template for the house. I really like the ones, that come with a plastic base, with grooves to set the walls into. This year, there weren't any outrageous gingerbread kit, clearance sales going on, so I copied a simple template from here, instead.
When the cookies were nearly done baking, I crushed a candy cane, and used it to fill the windows, and then let the cookies finish baking the last minute, or so, while the candy melted.
Today, while the children were down for nap, I constructed and decorated the house...
...and placed a small gingerbread man inside...
...for the children to discover.
It's great to be a homeschooler.