May Your Days Be . . .
Unpacking . . . My Desk

Unraveling Family Traditions

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know that on Thanksgiving - after the turkey has been eaten and tucked away in the refrigerator - we make gingerbread houses.  It's been an Annual Thing since my kids were tiny.  Over the years, we've shared this tradition with friends and various family members.  


Last week, I did a quick calculation.  I think that, over the years, I have baked just under 70 gingerbread houses!

But what happens when that family tradition . . . unravels????  As in . . . can a gingerbread house even happen if there is no one around to make it?


I thought long and hard about it.  

At first, I thought about baking the pieces and shipping them (along with candy and the recipe for frosting) out to my kids.  Kind of . . . a gingerbread house in "kit" form.  But then I realized . . . it wasn't my kids going on about what-will-we-do-if-we-can't-make-gingerbread-houses-on-Thanksgiving.  It was me.  So I nixed that idea.  (I don't need to foist MY traditions on them.)

And then, I thought about inviting one of my artsy friends over to make gingerbread houses some afternoon.  We could have a glass of wine and get fired up about our creations.  But I didn't really feel like doing that, either.

I decided to just . . . let this one go.  To realize that, like the Annual Father's Day Croquet Tournament before it, it was time to just let this tradition go.  


But then, I got to thinking about what I would do with the space on the bookshelf where I usually placed my gingerbread house amidst the holiday décor.  

I got to thinking that . . . well . . .it might actually be kind of fun to make one just for myself!

So I did!


While, initially, it made me a teeny tiny bit sad . . . that didn't last long at all!  I thought about all the fun times we'd had with the gingerbread houses over the years.  My kids when they were small.  Erin's friends as she grew older.  My mom.  Introducing the tradition to Keith and then to Lauren.  (Let me tell you -- there are good memories and lots of love baked right into that Pampered Chef gingerbread house mold!)

And then . . . I plugged in to the newest Louise Penny Three Pines mystery . . . and let 'er rip!

Merry and bright, indeed!


Joining Kat and friends today for Unraveled -- even though I'm not unraveling anything fiber-like.  Be sure to stop in over at Kat's to see what everyone else is unraveling!


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"Reclaiming Christmas" :-) Your latest creation is a work of beauty! and I'm glad you won't have a hole on the bookshelf this year.


I think this is an excellent idea! And I'm glad it turned out to be so much fun.


I'm so glad you did this anyway! When I read that you decided to let it go I really felt sad so the turn around in your thinking was great. Your gingerbread house is gorgeous, as usual!


Love! So much, Kym! Sometimes the traditions we do for *ourselves* are the most important of all! There is something special about nurturing our inner child - and nothing like the wonders of Christmas to do it!


I bet that was fun! And, it turned out so cute. Jealous you have the latest Louise Penny - enjoy!!


Unraveling traditions is even harder than unraveling anything fiber-related, but you've done a great job and now have a merry and bright gingerbread house!


I actually thought about you and this tradition this weekend and wondered what you were going to do. I'm glad you made your house and it's quite a beauty! xoxo


Absolutely AMAZING gingerbread house! Delighted to see the tradition continues!


Now that's hygge! Bringing back the memories while keeping the tradition alive was a wonderful thing to do for yourself! You'll bring back the memories all through the holidays when you see the house on the bookshelf! xo


OK. I was ready to start crying at the thought of NO GINGERBREAD HOUSES!! Thankfully, I didn't have to bust out the tissues. I'm so glad you made one! I can't think of an example off the top of my head, but I know I've done something similar -- did some traditional thing alone that is normally done in some sort of group -- and I know exactly what you're talking about! It can be truly special. And sweet.

Anxious to hear whether, at some point, one of your kids or their spouses mention something about this tradition.


Good for you! As we let go of some things, there are others that are good to keep. Your house is adorable and I hope it adds joy to your "Merry & Bright" season!

kathy b

Thats it. You have me considering making my own gingerbread house. WHY NOT? I made ONE with Allison a few years ago. I need a pick me up!


Okay, similar story, but.... On the way to pick up my kids last year, I said to my husband that I was looking forward to our Gingerbread House make (We cheat and use a box covered in foil and graham crackers, but frosting and candies yes.) My husband said, "Maybe they don't want to make a gingerbread house." Well that set me back. My son and his wife are in their mid-thirties, so yeah, maybe my 'little boy' had out grown it. So we pick up the kids and on the way back to the house we are discussing various things to do while they were in town and I tentatively, very tentatively, said, "We could make a gingerbread house if you want." My daughter-in-law jumps in, "Yes, Mike was telling me all about the ones you used to make." I looked at my husband and smiled very smugly!

Caffeine Girl

I think it's great that you kept the tradition going. Gingerbread houses are so darling. I always wanted to make one, but that didn't feel right, me being Jewish and all. And who know where this tradition will go in the future?


Good for you. Life changes as kids grow up. That has certainly happened at our house. How wonderful that you took time to make your holiday merry and bright with something that makes you happy. The house is darling and I am glad you will fill that space on your shelf.


Good for you! And I'm a little jealous you've started on the Louise Penny - I'm waiting either for Christmas or the library -- and I'm busy reading Wych Elm, which is very good.


Ah, yes, the traditional thing. It is a “thing” to think about.
My hubby and I have been thinking about it since a few older generation relatives died this year. We are now the oldest, and as Thanksgiving rolled around, we became the house/home to “make merry” for traditions, or to make new ones.
So, we put it to the family and discussed it - and things are rolling along well, with flexibility. Thank goodness for the flexibility as, well, we are getting older!
So, happy new traditions to all and to all a good day.
Your gingerbread house makes me want to go make one myself!

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