One of my most absolute favourite customs of Christmas is gingerbread. It seems a small thing; a confection made with spices and honey. But it is glorious, my most favourite of sweet treats. And Christmas time means a lot of gingerbread. It can be cookies, biscuits, gingerbread people, gingerbread houses, tree decorations and even window decorations.
Its origins are thought to be from Armenia centuries ago, but it has strong links again to other parts of Europe like Germany and Sweden. Our Dutch friends baked gingerbread as a tradition in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the gingerbread was soft and velvety (like the German Lebkuchen) cut into shapes (like hearts) and decorated with royal icing and confectionary. They were then wrapped in cellophane and given as gifts.
I looked forward to my Christmas gingerbread treat every year, there was nothing like that anticipation of the once a year festive treat. To a seven year girl this little package was my Christmases all coming at once, I loved it. Years later I spoke to my Mums friend about how much I looked forward to her gingerbread, she seemed surprised because her daughter had said that by the time we were teenagers that it was uncool to give gingerbread as a gift. I disagree; I would happily accept it any time of the year, every year.