Gingerbread House Day 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

Gingerbread House Day is annually celebrated on December 12th in the United States. This day is all about celebrating and having fun with our delicious gingerbread houses. 

Gingerbread houses are a favorite holiday pastime with families, be it with parents, grandparents, or even both! But these delicious, decorative bread houses have always been a staple of the holiday season for as long as people can remember. 

Whether you’re a cookie building expert or your baked house falls apart as soon as you get the third wall glued on with icing, we can all agree the best part of building a gingerbread house is eating the sweet treat when we’re done!  

Event Gingerbread House Day
Date December 12, 2022
Day Monday
Significance The day celebrates and honors the delicious gingerbread houses
Observed by United States

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Gingerbread House Day History: 

Food historians ratify that ginger has been seasoning foodstuffs and drinks since antiquity. It is believed gingerbread was first baked in Europe at the end of the 11th century when returning crusaders brought back the custom of spicy bread from the Middle East. Ginger was not only tasty; it had properties that helped preserve the bread. Gingerbread is claimed to have been brought to Europe in 992 AD by the Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis (also called Gregory Makar and Grégoire de Nicopolis). Gingerbread figurines date back to the 15th century and baking human-shaped biscuits was practiced in the 16th century.  

The gingerbread bakers were gathered into professional baker guilds. In many European countries, gingerbread bakers were a distinct component of the bakers’ guild. Gingerbread baking developed into an acknowledged profession. In the 17th century, only professional gingerbread bakers were permitted to bake gingerbread except at Christmas and Easter. In Europe, gingerbreads shaped like hearts, stars, soldiers, trumpets, swords, pistols and animals were sold in special shops and seasonal markets. Later, the gingerbread became widely available all over Europe in the 18th century.

The tradition of making decorated gingerbread houses started in Germany in the early 1800’s. According to certain researchers, the first gingerbread houses were the result of the well-known Grimm’s fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. In modern times the tradition has continued in certain places in Europe. In Germany, the Christmas markets still sell decorated gingerbread before Christmas which are very popular during this season. (Lebkuchenhaus or Pfefferkuchenhaus are the German terms for a gingerbread house.) These became popular during Christmas, a tradition that came to America with Pennsylvanian German immigrants. 

Gingerbread came to the Americas with settlers from Europe. It is believed that they were brought over to America by German immigrants and became popular during the Christmas season. Molasses, less expensive than sugar, soon became a common ingredient and produced a softer cake. The first printed American cookbook, American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, contained seven different recipes for gingerbread. Her recipe for “Soft gingerbread to be baked in pans” is the first written recipe for the cakey old-fashioned American gingerbread. Today, gingerbread is very much part of the American cuisine.  

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Gingerbread House Day Significance: 

A gingerbread house is a novelty confectionery shaped like a building that is made of cookie dough, cut and baked into appropriate components like walls and roofing. The usual base material is crisp gingerbread, hence the name. Gingerbread refers to a broad category of baked goods, typically flavored with ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon and sweetened with honey, sugar, or molasses. Another type of model-making with gingerbread uses a boiled dough that can be moulded like clay to form edible statuettes or other decorations. These houses, covered with a variety of candies and icing, are popular Christmas decorations.  

A gingerbread house does not have to be an actual house, although it is the most common. It can be anything from a castle to a small cabin, or another kind of building, such as a church, an art museum, or a sports stadium, and other items, such as cars, gingerbread men and gingerbread women, can be made of gingerbread dough. In most cases, royal icing is used as an adhesive to secure the main parts of the house, as it can be made quickly and forms a secure bond when set. Overall making gingerbreads for special occasions is mostly popular among kids today as it also brings out their inner creativity.  

The main flavor in gingerbread is obviously ginger! It’s what gives gingerbread that warm holiday taste and subtly spicy kick. Ginger also happens to have a whole host of health benefits: it can help with indigestion or nausea, is anti-inflammatory, and might even lower cholesterol levels, lower heart disease risk factors, and have some cancer-fighting properties. So consuming gingerbread can be actually healthy for you as well and hence there is an  another reason to consume this delicacy outside of its delicious taste and amazing experience while constructing your own gingerbread house. 

In modern times the tradition of making gingerbread house has continued in certain places in Europe especially during Christmas and is popular in certain sections of the American society as well. In Germany, Christmas markets sell decorated gingerbread before Christmas. Making gingerbread houses is a Christmas tradition in many families. They are typically made before Christmas using pieces of baked gingerbread dough assembled with melted sugar. The roof ’tiles’ can consist of frosting or candy. The gingerbread house yard is usually decorated with icing to represent snow.  

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Gingerbread House Day Celebrations: 

To celebrate Gingerbread House Day, take the family out for a shopping trip and pick up the supplies necessary to make a gingerbread house. Then let the younger members of the family pick out the decorations that they want to add to the gingerbread house. Finally, pick out the decorations that you want and add them to the house according to your preferences. 

A lot of people have gingerbread house competitions on this date. If you can be sure about the arrangements of this competition then this is definitely a fun way to spend the occasion. You can have a station that is filled with gingerbread pieces and plenty of different decorations. Have fun creating your own gingerbread houses and then you can all secretly vote for your winner. You can then have a prize lined up for the person that comes in the first place. It will be a fun and exciting activity for the day. 

You should also make sure that you have plenty of festive-inspired drinks and snacks on hand! If you don’t, someone may be tempted to eat all of the gingerbread. There are lots of great recipes online for gingerbread lattes and even gingerbread cocktails for the adults too. Afterall this is a day of celebration for everything which is gingerbread!  

Most Searched FAQs on Gingerbread House Day: 

1. When is Gingerbread House Day celebrated? 

Gingerbread House Day is annually celebrated on December 12th in US. 

2. Can you eat a gingerbread house? 

A gingerbread house is completely edible. However, depending on storage, maintenance, and how long it’s been on displayed, it may lose its freshness after a long period of time. 

3. What do you need for making gingerbread house? 

To make a gingerbread house, you will at least need: Gingerbread, royal icing, a piping bag, assorted candy, dried fruit, or pretzels for decorations. 

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