By Holly Becka, HorsePower Communications
When you visit or shop in historic downtown McKinney, be sure to stop by Snug on the Square, Orisons Boutique and Goodies Texas to see creative miniature gingerbread storefronts that look just like the actual businesses.
These gingerbread masterpieces are part of an ongoing publicity campaign to raise awareness about the upcoming eighth annual Gingerbread for Humanity fundraiser at Trinity Presbyterian Church.
From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 14, the public is invited to unleash their creativity and decorate a gingerbread house to take home while benefiting North Collin County Habitat for Humanity. Pre-registration is highly advised. To obtain a registration form, please go online to www.TPCMcKinney.org and click on the gingerbread icon.
“We love to see what the participants come up with each year,” said Pam Hatch, one of the event organizers. “We have tons of candy that decorators can choose in our candy buffet – and because of all the choices, we’ve had really cool gingerbread houses decorated by theme, by color and even one that was created to look just like Trinity Presbyterian Church.”
This creativity inspired event organizers to seek volunteers from the congregation to make and decorate gingerbread storefronts that could be displayed in downtown McKinney with the hope of increasing awareness about the Gingerbread for Humanity fundraiser.
A dedicated team agreed to take on the challenge of building what Hatch called “the extra-tough structural gingerbread storefronts” and decorating them to resemble the actual businesses. The volunteers’ work began this summer and was perfected through trial and error.
Tim and Amy Sherman baked the gingerbread storefront pieces using a secret recipe to ensure the gingerbread structures would stand the test of time. Pablo Ruiz and Andrew Bender served as the architects; Bender also served as the structural engineer and one-man construction crew, donating dozens of hours to build the structures. Myrt Bunje decorated the Orisons gingerbread storefront; Debra Guillemaud decorated the Snug on the Square storefront; and Bender decorated the Goodies storefront.
“The results have been amazing – they were shown at church and they were a huge hit,” Hatch said. “Everyone who sees them cannot stop looking at all the intricate details. We truly appreciate the volunteers’ hard work, and we cannot thank Snug, Orisons and Goodies enough for partnering with us on this project.”
Guillemaud loved the creativity involved with the project and was determined to make the Snug storefront as edible as possible (except for its florist foam supports and foam board base). She made the bricks with sugar cookies and the paving stones with crackers, and she applied tubs of frosting to cement everything in place.
“I have decorated houses at the Gingerbread for Humanity event with my children where their goal seemed to be to use as much candy as possible, have a colorful and festive outcome, and to be able to surreptitiously remove candy over the coming days,” Guillemaud said. “Creating the Snug storefront was fun because it was an adventure into something new. I quickly developed expertise into ‘rework’ procedures!”
The biggest challenge, she says, was ensuring the candy windows would hold their shape and reliably remain on the gingerbread storefront.
“I used melted candy but early versions seemed to just melt away on humid days,” Guillemaud said. “To create the shape, I used cookie dough as the outline, crushed candy within the shape, and baked this on parchment paper. Then I cut away all but the thinnest strip of cookie, which resulted in a window with a frame.”
For the Orisons storefront, Myrt Bunje went above and beyond adding fun details, including a display window showing off western apparel, street lamps and Christmas lights that actually light up, a horse and carriage, snow and evergreens.
Bricks on the Orisons storefront were fashioned from “sour power belt” candy and then hand-painted with food coloring. The windows were piped with black licorice laces. Bunje then finished the structure’s exterior walls with frosting that she created to look like vintage signs and old cracked plaster.
The gingerbread storefronts will be on display downtown through Saturday, Dec. 14, the day of the Gingerbread for Humanity event at Trinity Presbyterian. Anyone who cannot attend the event may still participate by registering for a take-home gingerbread kit, which comes complete with a pre-made gingerbread house, icing and lots of candy to decorate with. Please go online to www.TPCMcKinney.org and click on the gingerbread icon for details and the registration form.
For many McKinney residents, enjoying Gingerbread for Humanity is part of their family’s Christmas traditions.
“My family and I have participated in Gingerbread for Humanity for many years starting when my children were, well, little children,” Guillemaud says. “Now that they are teenagers, I thought their interest might wane. However, I was surprised to hear from them that this is our ‘tradition’ and a must-do holiday event! We love it because not only is it fun, but it also funds Habitat for Humanity!”
Do something sweet for your community!
Gingerbread for Humanity Details:
- Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14
- Location: Trinity Presbyterian Church, 5871 W. Virginia Parkway, McKinney
- Cost: $32 when you pre-register; $38 at the door (spaces limited)
- Registration details: Go online to www.TPCMcKinney.org and click on the Gingerbread icon to download the registration form.
- Send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org