My Gingerbread House Fail: Don’t sweat the small stuff


This is Part Three of 5 Days of Holiday Bull$hit: A five-part series on Christmas consumer crap. Here’s the introduction, Part One: Holiday sales events, and Part Two: Gendered toys.

The housing market is cruel. That’s the lesson my toddler of a daughter learned when we unpacked our $10 gingerbread house kit. The kit included: gingerbread house pieces, cookie characters, pre-made icing, a tray, and “lots of candy!”

The $10 Gingerbread House Kit

The $10 Gingerbread House Kit

Counting the pieces to the gingerbread puzzle.

Counting the pieces to the gingerbread puzzle.

The problem? Our busted box of a house was missing the peppermint pinwheels package. As the main focal point on the roof, my kid noticed there were no “swirls.”

Peppermint swirls on the box.

Peppermint swirls on the box.

Zero peppermint swirls in the box.

Zero peppermint swirls in the box.

Maybe the packaging was a jerk for advertising swirly peppermint swirls as part of the deal. Maybe we were just unlucky with our real estate pick. Either way, we were peppermint swirl slighted. After the building began I got over the peppermint omission fast. So did my kid.

I suppose I could have marched back to the store with receipt in hand and demanded a better cookie cutter home. I could have bought a few swirls too. But I didn’t. I just rolled with the missing circles and had a blast raising the roof with Chloe instead. We had fun playing engineer for the afternoon, peppermint pinwheels be darned.

The Abominable Snowman looks more like Casper the Friendly Ghost. I'm over it.

The Abominable Snowman looks more like Casper the Friendly Ghost. I’m over it.

We raised the roof successfully without a peppermint swirl in sight.

We raised the roof successfully without a peppermint swirl in sight.

Here’s the thing about the holidays — nothing is ever perfect. No present, toy under the tree, holiday meal, or stocking hung by the chimney with care is perfect. Marketers may sell us an aspiration of holiday perfection, but we’ll always fail.

You miss the magic moments when you dwell on the imperfect minutia.

You miss the magic moments when you dwell on the imperfect minutia.

The holidays are about enjoying the time we have with family, friends, and all our loved ones without feeling the need for a perfect pinwheel.

Happy Holidays, you guys.



  1. Lisa December 25, 2013 at 6:44 am

    Too funny…..ours was broken and could not be put together, we tried icing it but to no evale lol my son was upset …I motified the construction and came up with a falling apart leaning house, but I had boughten a bunch of extra candy with pinwheels!! But hey make the best of it!!! Happy holidays

  2. Lyle December 25, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Home made is ALWAYS better, and cheaper. Ours is decorated with smarties, candy canes and gummys. Happy Holidays.

  3. Ruth Cooke December 25, 2013 at 8:55 am

    That last picture is a keeper!

    And the demolition of a gingerbread house is always the best part anyhow.

    Merry Christmas to all!

  4. Henry Brinkman December 25, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Great article. I thought the house looked great!!! My daughter and I built one from scratch. We made our own gingerbread, and cut the peices, made the icing and searched for and came up with the decorations. We had a blast all day. Sorry no pictures.
    Glad you had fun.
    GOD Bless,

  5. Mindy December 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    My sister-in-law would make gingerbread houses in her 5th grade classroom using graham crackers

  6. Rhonda Pelshea December 26, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    Congratulations!The gingerbread house looked wonderful.Despite many attempts this Nana could not get the roof to stay together. We settled for a gingerbread barn and sleigh with reindeer and just ate the house pieces


  7. Happy Life And More December 30, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Love that last pic, too cute!! Holidays for me are really about spending time with loved ones and sharing stories. No need to sweat/stress about throwing the perfect party.

  8. Carol S January 1, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    I was an apprentice gingerbread house elf at our family’s annual Christmas party, and was a dismal failure at building even one gingerbread house. The fondant was too dry to stick candies into, and I only got the icing out of the tacky bag in big globs, not like your stunning “shingle waves”! Despite my ineptitude, my companion kid, one of my cousin’s son’s children, loved her house and was proud to take it home. I’m game to have a try at it next year all the same.

  9. David January 2, 2014 at 10:32 am

    That’s great!

    You should be very happy with what you did, imo, even if the snowman looks like casper. To be honest, my family never did stuff like this. We’re very loving, of course, but not in the sense we’d make lovely gingerbread houses.

    Cheers, and happy new year!

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