Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread houses are a tradition enjoyed around the world. There are many different styles of gingerbread houses, from small, simple homes to famous buildings, neighborhoods, and cities.


The White House Gingerbread House Tradition

Each year, the White House Pastry Team comes together with other members of the White House staff to work on a favorite holiday tradition: The White House Gingerbread House. This video is from December 2, 2009. (Public domain)


History of Gingerbread Houses

The first gingerbread houses were probably made in Germany in the early 1800’s, inspired by the story of Hansel and Gretel (1812) by the Brothers Grimm. This story is probably what inspired a few ambitious cooks to first construct gingerbread houses. Lost and hungry, deep in the woods, Hansel and Gretel stumble upon a life size gingerbread house. Hansel and Gretel was turned into an opera written by the German composer Engelbert Humperdinck in 1893, and was traditionally performed to mark the Christmas season.

Nederlands: Hans en Grete circa 1890 This digital media file originates from Koninklijke Bibliotheek, national library of the Netherlands


Image: from the book Dramatic Reader For Lower Grades, by Florence Holbrook, Copyright 1911, page 118. Source: Wikimedia Commons