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‘Tis the Season: Our award-winning gingerbread house

Hawaiian Sun's award winning gingerbread house!

Hawaiian Sun’s award winning gingerbread house!

Do you and your family make gingerbread houses around Christmas time? If you do, you know how much work it takes to put one of these things together the right way! One wrong move and BAM — your gingerbread walls are on the ground.

Talk about pressure. Add on another layer of stress when you throw competition into the mix with a two hour time limit, and you’ve got yourself the Easter Seals Gingerbread competition. This year, Jake and some of his co-workers entered the corporate competition for the first time and invited me to help them on Team Hawaiian Sun.

We were one of five teams going up against seasoned veterans like the team from Queens Medical Center. The theme this year was Christmas songs, and each team had a 3 x 3 area to work within. Our song? “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.”

"Grandma got run over by a reindeer."

“Grandma got run over by a reindeer.”

Santa's got a whole lot of Hawaiian Sun in his sleigh...

Santa’s got a whole lot of Hawaiian Sun in his sleigh…

The big question: How do you re-invent the gingerbread house to make yours stand out from the rest of the competition? Well, Team Hawaiian Sun had a plan to put a local spin on the classic — and we executed it beautifully. Jake even told me they had a meeting to discuss their plan of attack before the competition that upcoming weekend!

With cardboard template in hand, I hurried to cut out the pieces that would make the gingerbread house — or rather, our gingerbread plantation-style shack. Uncooked noodles for roofing, a pretzel lanai with a caramel landing, all right on a frosting coastline — waves lapping onto gingerbread rocks and graham cracker sand. You’d be lucky to live in place so sweet.

Someone even made little cans of Hawaiian Sun juice — you can see them in the photo above, spilling out of Santa’s sleigh.

A canoe made out of biscotti!

A canoe made out of biscotti!

Surfing dogs... that's why we won.

Surfing dogs… that’s why we won.

Jake’s co-workers did an amazing job with the accessories, which were allowed to be made ahead of time. True to our song, the centerpiece of our gingerbread house is the scene that’s playing out right in front: A sad Rudolph, realizing that he’s just run grandma over. Hoof prints and all!

Team Hawaiian Sun didn’t just make a standard gingerbread house — they made a gingerbread scene! There’s something going on everywhere you look. There’s even a canoe off to the side made of out of hollowed biscotti! Everything was edible.

Since it was our first time, no one was expecting a win — but all the hard work paid off when we walked away with the Best Overall award! The judges were quite taken with our creativity, and the coordinators were already looking forward to us defending the title next year!

It was a fun event to get into the holiday spirit as the days ’till Christmas continue to tick down… Only 10 more to go! Are you planning to build a gingerbread house this year? I’d love to hear some of your tips and tricks!

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