Thursday, December 1, 2011

Non-Grimm Gingerbread Houses

I've never been a fan of the Grimm fairy tales. Molly received a giant book of them when she was little. While reading them to her, my mind is constantly spinning, trying to figure out an easy way to change the endings so everyone doesn't die. I know, I know, I'm sure I'm being an overprotective, sheltering mom, but I just can't get on board with reading my 4-year-old daughter stories about her favorite princesses complemented with gore, blood and death. I just can't stomach explaining why Cinderella's step-sisters would cut parts of their feet off in order to fit in the golden slipper. I already have a hard enough time answering the "Where's Nemo's mommy?" question.

One of my least favorite stories is Hansel and Gretel. I mean, really. Two starving children are abandoned in the woods and lured to almost certain death by the appeal of a giant gingerbread house covered in candy. They do manage to escape the evil witch's plans, and instead push her into an oven, but still. The entire premise is just disturbing. First the children are abandoned by their parents. Then, a house made of candy is turned into a torture chamber while the witch prepares to EAT the children. I mean, sure there's a lesson about not touching what doesn't belong to you, or not taking candy from strangers, but really, must the story be so graphic?

Maybe I'm particularly bothered by this story because, throughout my whole childhood, my family has made gingerbread houses during Christmastime. My mom would make the houses, then each child would decorate their own house with candy galore. We invited our friends and had every type of candy, marshmallows, cookies, crackers, and frosting to choose from. Each house ended up looking completely different, despite pulling from the same pile of decorating goodies. I always loved to decorate the yard, best. The teddy graham fence was a favorite of mine. Personally, I never chose to eat the candy off my finished house (I spent way too much time creating a masterpiece), but I don't believe that children who do eat their candy should be punished by being pushed into an oven by an old witch. My own, humble opinion.

Well, this year, we've continued the tradition with Molly and Charlotte. Not the Grimm fairy tale version of the gingerbread house story, but instead the happy, loving Christmas tradition version of gingerbread houses.   We did it two years ago with Molly, but this was Charlotte's first year. She didn't quite understand what was going on, but she did like being surrounded by piles and piles of candy. She was a great taste-tester. Molly had a wonderful time. She loved decorating with pink, purple and silver sprinkles. She got bored after a while, though, so I got to finish decorating the yard. My favorite part!

So, here are pictures of the event:

Charlotte trying to figure out the whole use-candy-for-decorating-not-eating thing.
Leigh and Jake working on their split-personality house. Leigh was in charge of one side of the roof while Jake was in charge of the other.
Jake and Molly working hard.
Working on adding sprinkles. 
Missy sure enjoyed the whole process!
After the kids got bored and left us, we stayed to finish decorating.
Charlotte had fruit snacks, so she was happy.
Me with Molly and our finished product.
Leigh and Jake and their masterpiece.
Cory, Charlotte and Sarah proudly displaying the result from their joint efforts at decorating.
William and Lauren and their Maine Moose cabin. By far the best house, but they didn't have 1, 4 or 5-year-olds contributing to their efforts.
And, goofy fun was had by all!
So, there's a pictorial summary of our non-Grimm fairy tale version of gingerbread houses. Molly talks about how much fun she had decorating the house, and Charlotte just constantly says, "candy, candy, candy!" As long as no evil witch tries to push her into an oven for eating the candy, we'll consider the whole experience quite the success.

1 comment:

  1. What wonderful memories for you and now for the girls. So thrilled to see the tradition continue. Also very happy to see Missy in the picture!