We did our gingerbread house on the Monday before Christmas. The kids had been begging to get going on their gingerbread house since Thanksgiving and we finally made it happen. We just did a kit this year. Coming up with our own templates and making it all from scratch definitely proved NOT worth the bother last year. But even with the pre-made kit, it was crazy stuff with all these little kids and their little hands grabbing and knocking over walls that needed to set! Everyone had different opinions on what candy should go where and it sure makes your hand ache to squeeze out all that frosting and makes my brain ache to manage the hands and the excitement and the opinions. I began to wonder whether gingerbread houses are quite worth the trouble - I mean do they really MEAN anything related to the real meaning of Christmas? Maybe not, but the kids LOVE this tradition - there's something just so exciting about creating a little colorful house you can actually EAT. So I think this tradition will continue. And the whole process got a lot more enjoyable for me and for the kids once I gave up on trying to control the project much. It's their house - who cares if it appeals to my own sense of aesthetics! With me backing off a little and exercising more patience, they all did a good job and it was awfully cute seeing their pride at the finished product!