The Many Levels of Gingerbread

The month of December always feels rushed, but in a good way. Students are more amped than usual. They are excited for Christmas, parties, and especially making gingerbread houses.

Mimsy organizes a few days to make gingerbread houses before the winter break. There is always a buzz about doing them. People ask each other if they are participating and what day they are doing it on.

It’s a lot of work, so, there are different levels of it. The beginners make gingerbread cookies. These are done with a few of the youngest students. They take about two hours with a half hour break in the middle. This year, similar to the years before, there was a student who ate way too much candy and cookies. One student couldn’t help herself and over-indulged, despite the wise advice to eat her lunch first. It was actually very funny. After being told repeatedly to eat her healthy lunch, she proclaimed, “I’m going to eat the candy first! Then, maybe, I’ll eat my lunch…if I’m hungry!” I’m not positive she ever got to it.

The intermediate phase is making gingerbread trees. This takes about four hours and involves more precise details. Students are expected to roll out their dough, which takes strength and patience to make it the right thickness. Once the dough is rolled out, they have to cut the tree pieces out. There is a lesson on how to conserve the dough to make the most of it and how to slice the pieces out. This takes a lot of concentration and the room can be awfully quiet, enough to hear a pin drop. Similar to the cookies, there is always one student who over eats and the majority have candy residue all over their mouth and cheeks.

The older and more mature students, make gingerbread houses. This is an all day affair and takes an enormous amount of energy. They need to roll out two or more blocks of dough for all of their house and tree pieces. Once everything is all baked, they are able to decorate their houses into whatever they like. This year one student transformed her house into a barn. Another person, decorated her house to have “Stranger Things” references. The finished products are always amazing and unique. With the older students, the staff doesn’t have to remind them to eat lunch. There was one student I thought was going to get sick this year. This is the first time she did a house. She’s worked her way up to this, starting with cookies when she was younger. Every year she over eats candy and ends up comatose from too much of it. I was expecting her to do this again. To my surprise, she didn’t! She learned how to monitor herself and ate only a few pieces while decorating. I asked her, “why didn’t you eat all of your candy like you did the other years?” She laughed and replied “I didn’t want to get sick”. Then we both laughed, remembering the past.

Watching the students grow and learn how to do harder tasks is a real joy. Every year, its exciting to see what creations will be made. The students have such great imaginations that every cookie, tree, and house is something to admire.

Below are a few photos of all the action!

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