This clay dough LED Hanukkah Gingerbread House is an excellent way to celebrate Hanukkah! Featuring a menorah, dreidel, and Star of David, this light-up clay house makes the perfect way to mark this memorable holiday!
Gingerbread houses may conjure images of cozy Christmas cheer, but their origins lie in Germany during the 16th century. Following Hansel and Gretel in the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale series, these houses appear as treats deep within a forest setting.
Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of Jerusalem Temple by Maccabean forces during 160s BC, takes place every December. This holiday marked a miracle when they defeated an invading army to rededicate it with traditional foods, including latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jam-filled donuts). Additionally, this holiday is marked by lighting candles, playing dreidel games with four-sided spinning tops known as dreidels, and exchanging gifts between family and friends.
Gingerbread houses have long been associated with Christmas festivities, but kosher versions can also be enjoyed on Hanukkah. Typically featuring microscopic mezuzahs and mini menorahs for Hanukkah-celebrating families to partake in Christmas traditions while simultaneously honoring their celebration of Hanukkah.
Gingerbread houses became increasingly popular throughout Europe sometime after Hansel and Gretel, the Brothers Grimm tale where siblings Hansel and Gretel find a sinister witch’s house made of cakes, cookies, and candy deep within the woods. This inspired an old German folk tradition of baking Hexenhauschen or Knusperhauschen gingerbread cottages as souvenirs from this event.
Gingerbread cottages were increasingly popular during Christmas festivities; PBS has documented that their first mention was in 1792 during an old Christmas recipe!
Hanukkah began as a minor holiday in the 19th century, lasting just eight days and not traditionally associated with gift-giving. Following World War II and postwar commercialism, this celebration evolved into one where Jews gave their children gifts, enjoyed fried foods in oil, and played dreidel games with family.
Today, Hanukkah has become an annual commercial phenomenon that often overlaps with Christmas. Products like Elf on the Shelf and Mensch on a Bench have helped blur the distinctions between Hanukkah and Christmas celebrations; some may attribute this phenomenon to intermarriage between Christians and Jews; however, many Hanukkah-Christmas products reflect cultural assimilation trends.
Hanukkah is a fantastic holiday for children, featuring menorahs, dreidels, and gelt. If you add just a hint of Hanukkah magic to Christmas festivities, the result can be an irresistibly delicious gingerbread house! Jewish families can now participate without risking their status as good Jews thanks to William Greenberg Desserts’s new Hanukkah-themed gingerbread houses featuring tiny mezuzahs and menorahs! The Forward reports.
These new products are part of an emerging trend toward “Christmukkah,” an amalgamation of Jewish tradition with festive Christmas themes. Families across the country have taken to embracing this cultural shift by donning matching pajamas for Hanukkah night one and reading Christmas-themed books together – many are adopting this shift so as to feel more at home during their holidays.
An impressive gingerbread house requires several days of work, from creating the dough to cutting out pieces and assembling and drying them before decoration begins. For best results, tracing your template on cardboard or stiff paper instead of regular articles will help preserve its form and protect fragile pieces from becoming damaged by frosting.
Begin assembling the house by attaching its front and side pieces using piped icing along their connecting edges, and attach them both to one another and to the baseboard with piped icing. Next, add roof panels. Finally, decorate it as desired with candy! For best results, let it dry for at least six hours before touching or handling it to prevent accidental smudging of its paintwork.
Gingerbread houses can be enjoyed right away or kept as decorations throughout the holiday season. If you decide to keep one as decoration, protect it from moisture and dust by covering it at night with plastic wrap; spray with clear lacquer as an extra barrier of defense; when storing, best use Styrofoam peanuts as packing material to keep from moving too much and crushing it.
Making a gingerbread house can be both entertaining and educational; not only is it an engaging family activity, but making one is also an effective way to educate children about Judaism. Star of David, dreidels, and menorahs are symbols associated with Hanukkah, so placing these on houses helps children better comprehend their significance. No matter if it’s homemade or bought at a store, there are plenty of creative ways to make each one truly personal!
Some have raised concerns that using gingerbread houses as decorations for Hanukkah could constitute cultural appropriation, yet Hanukkah should not be celebrated by assimilating into society but instead through celebrating independence and its roots as an act of resistance against oppression. As its history is an embodiment of such opposition, celebrating Hanukkah with foods distinctive to its heritage is fitting and is to be marked accordingly.
Kosher bakeries also add their twist to the gingerbread house tradition, such as William Greenberg Desserts in New York City, which offers one with a menorah at its center and the mezuzah on its door. Other kosher bakeries, like Solvang Bakery in California, sell gingerbread houses that feature Hanukkah themes or other Jewish symbols.
Gingerbread houses are trendy during Hanukkah, the Jewish festival commemorating independence and freedom. This holiday honors the Maccabean Revolt in 2 Chronicles BCE when Jews rebelled against Greek-Syrian oppressors – an event that served as a powerful symbol of liberty, equality, and independence in Judaism.
Gingerbread houses that adhere to Jewish dietary laws have become increasingly popular due to the influence of Hansel and Gretel from Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, where Hansel encounters a house made of sweet treats in a forest clearing. Although these brothers weren’t Jewish themselves, their creations helped popularize the concept of building adorable treat houses as part of a holiday celebration.
Though some parents may experience Christmas envy when their children witness magical trees, lights, and presents at Christmas, many Jewish families embrace the merging of Hanukkah and Christmas traditions – such as Mensch on a Bench or Elf on the Shelf – in their celebration. Not only are these crossover traditions great ways to get kids excited about Hanukkah, but they also serve as reminders about its meaning as a cultural fighting point against assimilation.
To build a gingerbread house, you’ll need several vital components. First and foremost is an ideal cookie dough recipe. Next is a gingerbread house template to ensure shapes fit together correctly, followed by royal icing for gluing the pieces of your house together until they harden as they dry. With all this ready, now it’s time to begin the fun work of building it all yourself!
Preparing the foundation is critical when building your house. Make sure to use something sturdy like a cardboard box, cut squares out of it, and cover it with tin foil before leaving it out overnight to allow it to become slightly stale and easier to work with. The next step should be rolling out dough using your template as a guide, cutting pieces out, and baking them entirely before beginning the assembly of your structure.
Unless you prefer eating raw eggs, pasteurize them first to prevent any contamination from the yolks. Once your icing is ready, put it into a clean bowl and cover it with a towel in order to protect it from drying out as you work with it. For best results, beat egg whites and powdered sugar together until stiff peaks form; once dry out occurs, it won’t hold your house together anymore!
When it comes to building your house, two people working together is ideal. One person can dip pieces in melted sugar before placing them, while the other supports and ensures their steady drying on a board. Once all parts have hardened sufficiently, you can decorate as desired.
There are various ways to decorate a gingerbread house. While some prefer an eye-catching array of colors, others prefer simple arrangements. If making a traditional Jewish gingerbread house, add Star of David candies at the top.