Monday, December 14, 2009

The Cutthroat Brutality of the Holiday Family Gingerbread House-Making Contest

Ahhh... the Holiday Season. For many families, it's a time to come together in love and celebration. My family has chosen this time of year to promote our competitive spirits and trash talk each other as we compete in our Annual Gingerbread House-Making Contest.

I'm the oldest grandkid on my mom's side of the family, and about six or seven years ago, Cool Cousin Tammy thought it would be fun to start a new Christmas tradition and get all of kids together at my place a week or two before Christmas to decorate Christmas cookies for the grown-ups Santa Claus. The kids loved it, and as the kids have grown, Christmas Cookie-Decorating Night began to evolve. We didn't want to give up our night, but cookie decorating is for babies. So last year, we tried our hand at making a gingerbread house (along with about 10 dozen cookies).

One of my aunts and her family moved out of state several years ago, and started an annual contest within their family to see who could decorate the best gingerbread house. Not to be outdone, the family down here wanted to give it a try. We had to call the "Gingerbread House Hotline" (aka. Aunt Linda) to figure out how the heck to put the thing together that first year, but my cousins and my niece and nephew managed to put together a beautiful house for their first attempt.

This year, with the addition of Angel and the Booger Bear to the family, we decided to up the stakes a little and have a full-fledged contest. The trash-talking began the week leading up to the big night. I believe I said something on Facebook about seeing those losers soon, and my cousin told me to "BRING IT!" because they were "SO going to win." My aunt added, "Let's get ready to rumble!" Families made plans and began drawing up secret blueprints and artistic renderings of their future homes.

And then, the night arrived... Everyone had on their game faces and bags of secret supplies. As we began pulling out our gear, we checked out the competition. ...and the trash talk and complaining began anew. People tried inventing new "rules" at the spur of the moment upon seeing what other people had brought. But, not having made official "rules" prior to the contest, anything went.

Everyone broke off into their teams and started building. Well, some of us started building. One team spend a good half hour attempting to construct their gingerbread house, to no avail. Oh, the whining... the crying... the yelling and blaming amongst the team members... the "whoa is me's..." I do believe some of it might have been caught on video. If so, I will track it down and post it for all to enjoy. :-) Their team almost admitted defeat when a wise woman (my mother) said that it looked like a natural disaster had hit it. And then, their dream was alive again (so to speak).

NOOO!!! Say it isn't so!!! Santa??? Frosty??? (And yet the Christmas tree is still standing :) What twisted, sick, sadistic people came up with this mess?!?

Now that's just not right! Aunt Amy was in on it too, but didn't want her photo associated with the madness. They now swear this was their plan all along, but I have my doubts. Little did Aunt Amy know when she said, "Let's get ready to rumble," she might have been psychically-predicting the impending doom of the avalanche's destruction of their house.

The natural distasters continued to plague other houses as well. My brother-in-law and sister were attempting to build their house when an "earthquake" hit. It was dropped on the floor. After a bit of repair work, my 4-year-old nephew took over to work on the curb-appeal of the house. We entitled this one "The Earthquake Damaged House of Many Colors."

Note the excellent use of colored-candy decorations. I think he ate more than he put on the house though. :)

Angel took the minimalistic approach with her Classic Cottage. I think she might have done more, but the natural disasters must have moved their way to Angel's house because a sink hole seemed to have opened up under the house and the walls started buckling.

There has been much debate regarding the nature of Mr. Gingerbread Man's reclining status at the front door. Casualty of the avalanche? A little too much wine at the office Christmas party? Did he catch a glimpse of Angel's cell phone bill (note it hasn't left her hand)?

The final entry in the contest took the brunt of the complaints that night. My niece and I built a beach house, complete with sand, water, umbrellas, and Mr. Gingerbread Man laying out on a beach towel. I think everyone was just bitter because we were natural disaster-free. (Although, if they were smart, they would have hit us with a bucket of water and created a monsoon. ;)

My nephew wanted his picture too. He insisted that he "helped" us. I think he ate more "sand" than he added though... Hence the frenzied, glazed-over "high" look in his eyes. :D

All in all, it was a great evening! Voting commenced that night on Facebook. I thought OUR house was the best, but my twisted Facebook friends just LOVED the thought of Frosty buried under a house. Sick people! I swear! :-)

So next year, we're hoping to go cross-country and compete with the rest of the extended family and friends. Nothing brings family closer together than trash talk and sugar highs! :-)

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