Building a gingerbread house from scratch has been on my Christmas bucket list for a few years now. I knew it was always a big time / energy commitment, and I think that's largely why I put it off for so long. I also always felt like it was something that only benefitted me, and so therefore - I didn't prioritize getting it done amongst allllll of the other things on my holiday to do list. But this year, after finishing baking my Christmas cookies FOUR DAYS EARLY (!!) - I decided: challenge accepted! It took me longer than I expected (pretty much a full week affair) - but I think it was worth every second. All those hours spent putting it together.. and with the year winding down - I guess that left my brain to wander down an introspective path quite a bit, haha! Here are 5 sweet (slightly cheesy) truths that I learned from building my first gingerbread house from scratch:
1. If at first you don't succeed - try, try, again!
Recently, my dad was telling me the story of when I first started learning how to ride a bike. He told me every time I fell, I got right back up - unfazed - and started pedaling again. Funny enough, building a gingerbread house is exactly the same, haha! If you've ever built one before - you probably know that a collapse at some point is inevitable. Sometimes it even happens more than once. Mine, for example, collapsed twice before I got it fully standing with the roof and all sides attached and stable. I took on the attitude: "Unless one of these pieces shatters into a million pieces - I am going to finish this." And I did.
2. Outer beauty and strength come from within.
Are you laughing yet? It's true, though! After my house collapsed a couple times - I decided to add inner reinforcements via extra icing and marshmallows along the inner edges. You can't see any of that from the outside - but the external decorations on the outside wouldn't have been possible without the strong foundation on the inside! I feel like this is true for human beings as well. Without a strong foundation / internal sense of self - we can't truly thrive out there, and are limited in the energy we can breathe into the world.
3. Good things take time.
If you're thinking you can whip a gingerbread house together in a couple short hours - think again. I mean, maaaaaybe if your icing or "glue" alternative is super strong and dries quickly... you could find a way. But essentially, a project like this takes time to do it right. And if you try to move too quickly before things dry / solidify.. chances are it will all fall apart in some way or another. Sometimes things get worse before they get better. Patience truly is a virtue.. in gingerbread house building.. in life, love, your career, building your own business.. etc. ;)
4. You have everything you need right now.
.. or mostly everything! ;) One of the biggest reasons I never attempted a gingerbread house in previous years is because I always worried about blowing hundreds of dollars on all the candy in the world to decorate. (Go big or go home, right?!) I promise ya, if you raid your kitchen - you probably already have everything you need (with maybe the exception of essentials like icing sugar). You probably have leftover chocolate chips/chunks and sprinkles from baking Christmas cookies, marshmallows from those rice cereal treats, and various other candy friends / coworkers gifted you. It's a great way to take inventory - and then get creative!
5. Things may not turn out as you planned.
There was one night last week where I laid in my bed, unable to fall asleep at 4 AM - contemplating all the design possibilities for this gingerbread house, LOL. It's funny because chances are.. it will not turn out as you expected. And, there is a lot of trial and error - and learning - along the way. Give yourself grace, and don't be afraid to make a mess. (Trust me, it will be messy.. with cookie trimmings, crusty icing crumbs, and broken candy remnants everywhere). Embrace the process - you won't regret it! :)