It's a tradition, gingerbread. It belongs at Christmas and always involves copious amounts of icing and way too many lollies. Sometimes it's one big gingerbread house, other times it's gingerbread men and for the last two years I've made us a tiny house each.
This is the favourite so far, we get to decorate just how we like.
But the actual decorating of our gingerbread is done together. We spread out bowls of lollies and spoons and icing and I watch as they load them up, carefully making chimneys from marshmallows and patterns from Smarties.
Early in my childhood I recognised the importance of family traditions.
The security that comes from the constants, the expected. Gingerbread at Christmas, dinner at 6, camping at Easter, mulberry picking in summer, drives to the markets on Sundays.
Through the rhythm of seasons and those regular things we do together we cement our values as a family, reinforce the importance of spending time together face-to-face and fill up on life that will one day provide priceless memories for all of us.
Easy Quick Gingerbread Recipe with Thermomix option
90g brown sugar
125g plain flour, sifted
185g self raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons honey
1. Cream butter and sugar in a small mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Combine flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger and fold through mixture. Add honey and mix well.
2. Sprinkle extra flour onto a surface and knead mixture until soft but not sticky. Chill for 30 minutes. Divide into four portions and roll each portion out to 3mm thickness.
3. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters or paper templates. Place on a baking tray and cook at 180C for 10-15 minutes.
Thermomix: measure all ingredients into bowl. Mix speed 6 for about 15 seconds to combine. Mix on interval speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Tip out your dough and form a ball on some plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Edited to add: The templates I've always used for these little houses are from a Donna Hay Christmas magazine and can be found here. I used the 'small house' template.