Gingerbread houses weren't really a holiday staple for me growing up. We had them some years, but not annually by any means. What we did have was a cookie tree. Both gingerbread or sugar cookie trees are made and shared with neighbours and extended family.
The trees are made from a series of 6 star shaped cookie cutters made by Wilton. A few Christmases ago the cookie tree kits re-appeared on the market and my mum bought every set she saw. (Many of her friends wanted them after years of seeing our trees). That Christmas my sister and I each got a set, along with some hand-woven cotton tea-towels and 2 industrial cookie sheets. The cookie sheets were originally purchased by a family friend who owns a restaurant, but they were not quite the size his oven took. On my list this year are the matching silpat cookie sheet liners, and a pair of oversized cooling racks.
Until June of this year I kept these things in one of three boxes labeled "kitchen stuff not for stinky roommates" in my parents basement. (Stinky roommates does refer to 4 people in particular, but also more generally all of the roommates I had over the years, nobody really understood how to take care of other people's cookware).
Sunday I made my very first cookie tree in my home. Three of each size cookie is stacked and "glued" with icing. I used my favourite neon green cakemate food colouring and moved it into a deep green in 5 stages using the standard cake mate food colour. Then I liberally covered it in green sanding sugar.
(We had it eaten by Monday lunch).
Here are some of the stray cookies after I'd made the tree.