It's a holiday tradition around our house. The wife and kids come home from the store with a wonderful holiday creation that is sure to take up a lot of counter space. It's a gingerbread house kit. A make it yourself in the privacy of your own home kit for creating a domicile of gingerbread. The good news about the kit is most of the hard part is done. That still won't prevent our family from creating a blighted property on our kitchen table.

Gingerbread houses can bring a magical touch to the holiday season. The folks at Disney World do an amazing display of gingerbread houses in the lobby of their Grand Floridian Hotel. At our house our structure is not worthy to be displayed in the lobby of a pay by the hour hotel at the intersection of Cameron and University.

What makes a great gingerbread house? I think it's talent and artistic ability, neither of which I have in my current repertoire of skills. My wife seems to think that anyone should be able to create a gingerbread house. She would be right as long as that anyone is not me. Still for the sake of memories, argument, and heartfelt apologies later, I pitch in.

Like most construction projects I have ever been involved in there is always the argument about right angles and straight lines. There is also the issue of the icing, also known as cement, allowing the pieces of said house to slide apart like a FEMA Trailer in a gentle breeze. Still we persevere toward the goal of giving any creatures that roam our kitchen after dark a comfortable and nourishing place to stay.

I must admit as the kids have gotten older the process has become less about building a house and more about just wanting to leave home. Still in the end our Dr. Seuss inspired house of horrors is finished and for a moment we'll sit back and admire the project we created together.

Then we'll go about our business of watching football, playing video games and ignoring each other. If you listen closely between the game on the TV, the sound of the video game laser guns and the constant pinging of text messages on everyone's phone, you can hear the sound of a family secretly enjoying each others love and company.  It's so great to have the family home at Christmas time. It's just not always easy being around them.

By the way, if you are interested in the basic construction techniques you'll need to make a gingerbread house at your place. Here are some great ideas on how to do that. Also the folks at have some great recipe ideas and patterns that can help you avoid becoming Rudolph the Red Faced House Builder.