Gingerbread House Day Date in the current year: December 12, 2024

Gingerbread House Day December 12 is the perfect day to invite your friends and family over and build gingerbread houses together because it is Gingerbread House Day — one of the many unofficial holidays that help us get into festive mood and prepare for Christmas.

A gingerbread house is just what it says on the tin: a confectionery made from crisp gingerbread dough and shaped like a house. Gingerbread houses are decorated with icing and various candies; they are commonly associated with the winter holiday season.

Gingerbread has a long history. According to food historians, ginger has been used to season food and drinks, including baked hoods, since antiquity. Gingerbread as we know it today originated in Europe in the Middle Ages. There is evidence of it having been baked in the 13th century in present-day Germany and Poland.

The first guild of gingerbread bakers emerged in 15th-century Germany. In most European countries where gingerbread bakers did not form separate guilds, they were a distinct acknowledged group within the bakers’ guild. In the 17th century, gingerbread bakers were the only ones permitted to baked gingerbread, except at Easter and Christmas, when restrictions were lifted and anyone could bake holiday gingerbread.

The custom of making and decorating gingerbread houses originated in the early 19th-century Germany. According to some food historians, they were inspired by Hansel and Gretel, a fairy tale collected and published by the Brothers Grimm that featured a witch living in a gingerbread house. Decorated gingerbread houses quickly became a popular Christmas confection in Germany and its neighboring countries, and German immigrants to Pennsylvania brought them to the New World.

Today, the tradition of buying or making gingerbread houses during the Christmas season is popular in many countries of the Western world. Gingerbread houses can be made from scratch or using gingerbread house kits that include pre-baked gingerbread cookies, icing, and candy for decoration. A gingerbread house doesn’t have to be an actual house; it can be a cabin, a castle, a church, or any other building. Some confectioners even create elaborate gingerbread replicas of existing buildings or build entire gingerbread villages.

Interestingly (and probably not coincidentally), Gingerbread House Day is celebrated on the same day as Gingerbread Decorating Day. This means that December 12 is the perfect day to throw a gingerbread house decorating party or a friendly gingerbread house contest for your friends and family. Just don’t get too competitive because the holiday season is all about having a nice time and family bonding and not about starting feuds over whose gingerbread house is more impressive.

Other ways to celebrate Gingerbread House Day include rereading the story of Hansel and Gretel or watching one of its many adaptations, checking out gingerbread houses displayed in local bakeries and coffee shops, and sharing the pictures of your gingerbread house on social media with the hashtag #GingerbreadHouseDay to raise awareness about the holiday and spread the holiday cheer.

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Unofficial Holidays



Gingerbread House Day, unofficial holidays, observances in the United States, gingerbread house, food days