P.T.G.D. – My experience with Post Traumatic Gingerbread Disorder


Leah Bolger

Leah’s two attempts: (left) The Walmart pre-made house and (right) the home-baked “mansion.”

I’m a gingerbread failure. I had all lovely ideas of baking my own gingerbread house from scratch and making homemade icing. I mean scrolling through Pinterest, it looks so easy to create “you will be green-with-envy art” out of a couple of cookies. 

Originally, this story was supposed to be about how I made my own house from scratch and “ta da!” it’s gorgeous. Boy was I wrong!

First, preparing the dough is difficult and molasses smells TERRIBLE! I mean I’ve baked many cookies and cakes before, but knew this was definitely going to be different. Following the recipe, it was all coming together, and I had some faith in myself. Food Network wouldn’t let me down, right?

I chilled the dough for 30 minutes and went straight into rolling it out. One skill no one really thinks about is how a gingerbread house requires extremely precise geometry to create all those walls and roofs. I can’t be the only one who’d rather just eat the cookies than do the math. 

At least by my calculations, this recipe didn’t actually produce enough dough to make all the pieces I needed. That was really just the “icing on the cake” in this little adventure!

Pressed for holiday time, the next day I decided to give up and retreat to safety… Walmart. I bought a pre-made gingerbread house for $10 and decided to emphasize my decorating skills. 

When I walked into my house with the gingerbread box in hand, I had hope and faith that I would soon have a beautiful masterpiece. Opening up the box, I realized that the house was already assembled! Even better: the kit came with a piping bag of icing and cute, colorful candies to decorate with. To say I was relieved was an understatement. 

Everything was looking optimistic… maybe even too good.

 As I began to pipe the icing designs onto the house, I realized that this icing wasn’t sticking. It was extremely difficult to pipe on the designs and they would barely stay on the house for a few seconds before falling off. Ironically, the strings of icing stuck to my fingers. 

Julian Rodriguez
Leah dissolved into sticky icing tears over the creation of a gingerbread house. Don’t let this happen to you.

This is when the tears started flowing. 

I’d like to tell you that on Day 3, I learned my lesson and produced a glorious, candy-coated house.

No. I will never try this again. I now have a case of P.T.G.D — Post Traumatic Gingerbread Disorder.