Not only my first Christmas with Jonti, it's also my first Christmas as a married lady... and it's my first Christmas in Wigan with his family!
I thought I'd bring some new traditions. One was macaroni and cheese at the Christmas dinner table. Another was stuffing. I personally found it surprising that stuffing was not already on the table. There was an empty turkey.
My favourite of the new traditions is a total faff.
I mean, have you ever made one of these? You have to make the dough, roll it out, cut out house-shaped pieces, cook them, (if you want stained-glass windows, you have to crush boiled sweets into the window holes, cook them again), and let them crisp up.
All before you can actually try to build the houses.
Oh, and you have to make the icing.
We used Mary Berry's recipe for gingerbread and icing. Katherine and I spent 3 hours making all the house pieces on Saturday - enough for four mini gingerbread cottages!
We learned a lot of lessons. 1. Don't make too much dough. It doesn't keep. Several small batches of dough will get you further than one massive batch.
2. Give each house at least 2 doors, so air can circulate, and the tea lights won't keep extinguishing.
3. Don't forget a few windows on each side wall for prettiness!
I think everyone had fun. I hope they did!
We used these templates for making the house pieces. We might try adding a chimney next year.
At the very least, we liked lighting the candles inside them, and seeing the windows glow.