Gingerbread has an incredibly long history as a foodstuff, and we know it has been shaped into Christmas tree ornaments since at least the Victorian era. As for gingerbread houses, they became popular after the Brothers Grimm published Hansel and Gretel, though it's unclear whether the edible edifices got their start as a literary invention. In parts of Europe in the 17th century, only professional gingerbread makers were allowed to bake the stuff year-round. That restriction was lifted during Christmas and Easter, which may explain the Christmas-gingerbread connection.
Gingerhaus kits include an innovative frame for disaster-free construction, so you can enjoy decorating your gingerbread house. Buy online at gingerhaus.com ($35 - $50).