Who doesn't love a gingerbread house? A whimsical, ever-so-Christmas moment dripping in sugary excess.
Christmas was in full effect this weekend at my apartment, as I prepared for the most festive holiday party I could casually throw on Sunday (it's important to leave people wanting more of your creative gifts - save the good stuff for when you're getting paid). In search of the perfect tablescape piece, I spent about 3 hours building and decorating my own lovely little boxed gingerbread cottage. And I must say, standing back to admire my shoddy piping work and meticulously placed, slightly drooping gum drops, such a bizarre sense of pride kicked in. Clearly, what I had done here was remarkable. Obviously every guest of mine would be emotionally touched by this platonic ideal of a quaint, gingerbread person's starter home.
And then, as usually happens, Instagram ruined it all.
First, I spotted the chic set who had visited the Chanel In The Snow pop-up at The Standard High Line. Women like Nell Diamond and Sarah Hoover walked home with a very Chanel, black and white, build-your-own gingerbread house kit. In theory, it's hard to compete with a Chanel anything, let alone a Chanel gingerbread house - but thankfully, since they were decorated by their young, adorable, still-developing-their-motor-skills children, I felt no threat whatsoever to the integrity of my candy abode.
However, this feeling of relief was quite short-lived, as beloved, cult status potter Christopher Spitzmiller quickly put me in my place. The lamp-making legend's Millbrook home is an impeccable sight at any season. But during Christmas, with garlands draped about every willing surface, and trees and florals and clove patterned oranges and ornaments and Santa statues just shouting of merriness, it's another world.
While partaking in interior designer Ashley Whitaker's gingerbread house competition, Spitzmiller of course created the most perfect alpine escape.
View this post on InstagramIt’s #gingerbreadhouse season! @ashleywhittakerdesign has hosted the most fun and steeply competitive ginger bread house making. This year it was @klridder @katieridderinc @anthony.bellomo and little Andrew! His house is the last one. Ashley announced that he was the winner. I think that possibly, the comparison was rigged. What do you think? The first house with the oval pool is mine, the second with two chimneys is @anthony.bellomo the third with the amazing roof is @ashleywhittakerdesign Sadly, I don’t have a picture of @klridder Who do you think is the winner? I say @ashleywhittakerdesign for arranging it all! #itsthemostwonderfultimeoftheyear #merrychristmas the Silver trays, @hadley_antiques_
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I mean, an oval pool!?! A true visionary move. And his use of chocolate chips? Such a deep understanding of texture and depth. As for the rest of the competition's participants - annoyingly remarkable as well.
Sitting with my newfound Gingerbread house complex, I turned to the New York icon of gingerbread living for one last knife through the heart. For nearly a century, the folks at William Poll have been keeping Upper East Side WASPs well-stocked with finger foods and chicken pot pies and, throughout the month of December, incredibly expensive gingerbread houses. Their Large Gingerbread House features a classic green, red and white color scheme, lights, and even a music box, ringing in at the not so friendly price of $1,000. That's right, a thousand dollars, before sales tax!
For those who really aren't counting, for an extra $100 you can upgrade to a Large Gingerbread Barn, which boasts a chocolate horse, chocolate cow, and miniature candy bales of hay.
Perhaps it was the fact that I was now way too late into the evening, deep down inside a questionable gingerbread black hole, or that my newly liberated creative spirit simply just couldn't get behind someone buying a move-in ready property, but the William Poll estates really just didn't impress. Sure, they've music and lights - but $1,000 worth? No. I could buy a chocolate cow at Li-Lac Chocolates for $15, pipe an X across the front door - and bam, I've also got a barn.
There are a lot of wonderfully dumb things to spend money on in the name of holiday spirit - and trust me, I would 100% enable you to buy most of them. But a $1,100 gingerbread barn? Give me about a week to practice my piping, and then give me a call, because I got you covered. Cash only.