Wilton works with distributors all over the world. This year, we invited our international distributors to join in our holiday celebrations by decorating a gingerbread house for the holidays! Today, please enjoy this house from Sonya Gray in the United Kingdom.
Gingerbread has been traditional in England since Medieval times, but only became popular in Elizabethan times. Elizabeth the 1st is credited with the idea of decorating gingerbread when she ordered biscuits to be made in the shape of courtiers. Elaborately decorated gingerbread became synonymous with all things fancy and elegant in England. The gold leaf that was often used to decorate gingerbread cookies led to the expression ‘to take the gilt off of gingerbread.’
In my gingerbread house Christmas scene I have decorated my gingerbread children with Gold leaf and gold crowns, as a nod to both this tradition and also to our current Royal Family (now of the United Kingdom) of which we are very proud.
I used some gold sparkle sugar for the path of my gingerbread scene – to symbolise the famous fairy tale myth from ‘Dick Whittington’ that the streets of London were paved with gold.
I worked in the colours of our Union Jack Flag in the decorating of the House, red, white and blue, choosing candy covered chocolate treats to achieve this look, whilst also being delicious to eat!
The Christmas tree is a huge symbol of Christmas in the United Kingdom – a tradition dating back to the 1840’s era when a tree was set up for Queen Victoria. I used the colours of our Union Jack flag in the Bauble decorations on the Christmas trees, around the house and as cobble-stones along the edge of the path.
I have also included some of our traditional Christmas characters in my gingerbread scene. The lovely snowman (made from royal icing) is a wonderful tradition to build on snowy days – although we have less of these at Christmas now and more of them in March!
Finally, I have included the most important Father Christmas! We have so many traditions around this. Children excitedly write a list of presents they wish for and send it to Father Christmas in December. On Christmas Eve we lay out mince pies and sherry for him and carrots for the reindeer by the fireplace in our houses, along with our Christmas stockings (which are currently drying on the washing line outside!). Legend has it that Father Christmas comes down the chimney during the night – (chimney represented by the log pile outside the house as we don’t actually have one on this house!), and Father Christmas would fill the stockings with toys – unless you have been on the naughty list and then you receive only a piece of coal and a tangerine!
Decorating a Gingerbread House is a wonderful tradition and one that I continue every year with my children. It really is demonstrative of the spirit of Christmas and our whimsical memories and wishes of what Christmas is and should be, full of love and happiness shared.