O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie.
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep,
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
When I was six or seven years old, my mom decided that my little sister and I should participate in giving to the Toys for Tots program at Christmastime. She explained to us that there were children who might not get any toys for Christmas, and that we could be Santa's helpers
by getting the children a present to open on Christmas morning.
All we needed was some money.
Our mother's business plan was brilliant:
Make graham cracker gingerbread house ornaments decorated with frosting, Smarties, and ribbon candies, and then send young children up and down the street to peddle the wares.
After all, who could say "no" to two little toe-headed, blue-eyed girls selling gingerbread houses? You'd have to be an absolute Scrooge.
She sent us out with our gingerbread houses and a homemade order form:
$3 for a small gingerbread house, $5 dollars for a large one.
I remember knocking on doors and proudly holding up our gingerbread houses for the homeowners to see. They would look at the houses, and then at us. And then they would smile. I just assumed it was because our gingerbread houses were the most wonderful ornaments they had ever seen. (Mom really was a wonder with an icing tip.) But I now realize that those homeowners were probably smiling at the highest-pressured sales pitch they'd ever received from two little girls in mismatched clothes holding graham crackers slathered in frosting.
I don't remember how much money we earned that Christmas, but I do remember looking at the bag of toys on the kitchen table after we had gone shopping with the earnings. I'm not sure if any of those toys ever changed a child's life, but they certainly changed mine.
Ever since that Christmas, I have been a huge believer in holiday giving . . .
and in the power of gingerbread houses.
Lucky for me, I recently attended the Festival of Trees fundraiser for Primary Children's Hospital.
Not only was this a Christmas charity event, but it included an amazing gingerbread house display.
I snapped a few shots of my favorite houses, including this charming ski lodge . . .
and this classic grandma house . . .
and this English village shoppe.
There were also some non-traditional gingerbread creations, like this Dr. Seuss house . . .
and this rendition of the Shire's Bag End from The Hobbit.
I enjoyed this adorable winter cabin with its yellow lab on the front porch . . .
and this gingerbread lighthouse inspired by a Thomas Kinkade painting.
I loved this gingerbread model of the Provo Tabernacle with all of its illuminated windows.
But my absolute favorite gingerbread house of the tour had to be this version of Hogwarts, complete with Harry, Ron, and Hermione (and wands)!
I hope that somewhere in your Christmas festivities you are able to carve out some time for Christmas giving and gingerbread houses.
And then again, if you are feeling a bit business savvy, you could always combine the two . . . :)
Sharing at . . .