It’s getting closer to the time to prepare for this holiday associated with so many traditions. One of those traditions is the baking of gingerbread. What child hasn’t dreamed of baking, building and decorating an entire gingerbread house, that could then be inhabited by a colorful little gingerbread family? Gingerbread Decorating Day is here to help all kids, from ages 1 to 92, get as much fun out of the season as possible!
Learn about Gingerbread Decorating Day
“Run, run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!”
Gingerbread Decorating Day has been created so that we all have the perfect opportunity to practice the fun festive past-time of decorating a gingerbread house. Of course, you don’t have to create a gingerbread house on this date. You may want to make gingerbread in the shape of Santa or a reindeer and decorate these instead. The choice is yours!
After all, does anything give you more of a festive feeling than the smell of freshly baked gingerbread? It is quite divine! However, a lot of people do not realize that gingerbread has a pretty interesting history. In fact, did you know that baking gingerbread was deemed a specific profession? Yes, back in the 17th century, you could only make gingerbread if you were a professional gingerbread baker, unless it was Easter or Christmas when the rest of the population could partake in the fun! We don’t know about you, but that seems like a pretty awesome job, right?
In Europe, gingerbread was deemed a form of popular art. To be honest, it’s still art in our eyes! Have you seen some of those incredible gingerbread houses on Instagram? Nevertheless, it was a pretty big deal back in the day. Molds of gingerbread were used to display actual happenings through the portrayal of new rulers, as well as their parties, spouses, and their children! There are museums around the world that house substantial mold collections. Two of the most famous are the Bread Museum in Ulm, Germany and the Ethnographic Museum in Toruń, Poland.
History of Gingerbread Decorating Day
Gingerbread is though to have been brought to Europe by an Armenian monk named Gregory of Nicopolis in the 10th century who had brought the necessary spices back from the Middle East, and then taught the art of gingerbread making, what with the spices and the molasses, to French Christians until his death. Gingerbread then made its way around Europe–in the 13th century, it made its way to Sweden, where it was baked by nuns to help soothe indigestion.
There, it slowly became popular to paint the cookies and use them as window decorations as well. The 13th century also saw gingerbread make its debut in the city of Toruń in Poland, where the honey supplied by the local villages made the cookies especially delicious. To this day Pierniki Toruńskie, as they are known in Poland, is an icon of Poland’s national cuisine.
From the 17th century onwards, gingerbread was sold in monasteries and pharmacies in England, where it was thought to have medicinal properties, and gingerbread became the symbol of the town of Market Drayton, which was particularly known for it. In the play, “Love’s Labour’s Lost”, Shakespeare himself wrote, “And I had but one penny in the world, thou should’ st have it to buy gingerbread.” In 1875, the gingerbread man was first introduced to holiday traditions through a fairytale published in St. Nicholas magazine, where he was depicted as a holiday treat that was eventually eaten by a hungry fox.
How to celebrate Gingerbread Decorating Day
Needless to say, the best way to celebrate Gingerbread Decorating Day is to make your very own gingerbread cookies and then proceed to decorate them. This allows lots of room for creativity, and can be fun for the whole family! It can be the most fun when each member of the family makes, bakes and decorates his or her own gingerbread man.
Gingerbread can be decorated with many different things, from a simple icing made from just water and icing sugar to more creative icings, like lemon or buttercream icing. Gingerbread men can also be made into cookie sandwiches, with delectable fillings made with vanilla or lemon cream, orange buttercream, or even ice cream!
If you’re feeling particularly ambitious and confident, you could decide to make a gingerbread house. Gingerbread houses really allow for a lot of creativity, as they can be decorated with virtually anything that strikes your fancy, like gumdrops, candy canes, or peppermints, to name but a few.
After you’ve made and decorated your gingerbread, members of the family can exchange cookies, and the cookies can then be eaten or hung up on the Christmas tree as decorations. Gingerbread tends to keep for long periods of time, so there is no need to worry that the cookies will start to rot or crumble.
Make sure you create some festive-inspired cocktails for the adults to enjoy while they are decorating their gingerbread! You could make a Pumpkin Tart Cocktail. Aside from pumpkin, the other ingredients used are carrot juice, tequila, cinnamon, and oregano. This is a unique cocktail, which is bound to wow your guests. It has that real festival feel thanks to the cinnamon.
Another cocktail we saw online is Peachy Christmas. This is a blend of Rye Whiskey, Amaro Montenegro, red wine spiced poached peach, and lemon. Is your mouth watering yet?
If you want to add some gingerbread to the cocktail itself, you will find lots of exciting gingerbread inspired cocktails online. How about Gingerbread Martinis? These cocktails feature ginger simple syrup, vanilla vodka, Hot Damn! Schnapps, and some Baileys; all of the good stuff that you want at Christmas!
Of course, for those of you who don’t drink alcohol, how about a Gingerbread Latte? As Christmas fast approaches, different flavored lattes become the norm. How about a Pumpkin Spiced Latte?
You could even host a gingerbread house competition amongst your loved ones. After all, there is nothing wrong with a bit of friendly competition, is there? You can set up a station with gingerbread house pieces, lots of colorful candy, frosting, and much more. It is a fun way to get all of the people you love together and to really get that festive feeling.