Rachel Getting Merry: Gingerbread

by Rachel on December 7, 2011

Last week at work, we were working on a project and my coworker requested that we replace the word “fancier.” This led us to Thesaurus.com, which brought up the word…gingerbread?

OK, clearly this is an awesome word that needs to be part of the vernacular! I’m now going to add gingerbread to everything. Well, I mean, I think I already do — God knows I like elaborate, gaudy, and superflous ornamentation — I just wasn’t calling it that.

And is there a better time to add gingerbread to your life than the holidays?! I added a lot of gingerbread to my apartment over the weekend.

Well, first, I made some real gingerbread. Or, actually, ninjabread.

I put on Christmas music and then Eric and I used this gingerbread recipe and these cookie cutters to make the cookies that we both loved last year. I took them to work on Monday and everyone had the same reaction I did when I had them for the first time: “I didn’t think I liked gingerbread, but…wow.”

I also spent some time putting together a new table we had bought the night before for the living room. I like my apartment, but there is a bar separating the kitchen from the living room that, to me, feels like a huge waste of space. It’s ugly, not functional, and I’ve never been able to envision how I want it to look. We put a rug and the puppies’ crates under it, which helped a little, but there was a section of wall about 3 feet wide that was driving me crazy. I knew it just needed a small table or bookshelf, but I had been too cheap to buy anything. Finally, after hours of looking at pretty things on Pinterest and wanting to have my dream living space on Saturday, I had just had enough.

Once I had assembled the table, I was ready to take on the challenge of making shit look festive!

Later that night, Eric was watching the Kansas State basketball game and after about 10 minutes of listening to him coach from the couch and get genuinely emotional I just…couldn’t. I decided to go to Michaels because I had a coupon for 20 percent of of everything, even the sale stuff. When I got there, it was kind of packed. Probably because everything was already on sale.

From there, it’s kind of a blur, as I imagine most benders are. I just remember the moment of glee when I found the Christmas stuff they’ve had for months (naturally) that I’ve loved for months (because it’s mostly sparkly reindeer!) and saw that it was 50 percent off…plus I was going to get another 20 percent off. It was almost too much for me. Almost.

An hour or so later, I lugged four large bags back into the apartment. Quietly. The thing is, Eric isn’t as big of a fan of gingerbread as I am and I knew he wouldn’t be a fan of it when he was all hopped up on super-fan testosterone. I peeked around the corner of the entryway to see if K State was winning. Judging from how calm he was, they were. I entered the living room.

Eric finally noticed me and just said, “…why are you all covered in glitter?”

“It got pretty intense,” I said. I probably still had some glitter under my nose, presumably from the sprint I did back to the wreath asile as I was checking out and realized they were only ringing up as $15 (before the 20 percent off).

He didn’t seem to understand that this was an obvious sign of an addiction and that I was about to go crazy decorating the apartment. Well, hey, if you aren’t going to do an intervention, I’m sure as hell not going to ask for one. So the game came back on and I got down to decorating. And you guys…I decorated the whole apartment right around him while he watched the game and he didn’t notice a thing. I opened and shut doors, hanging up wreaths. I swore as I wrestled with the garland (which, delightfully, covered up the useless bar). Glitter piled up in the dogs’ crates like sawdust does in a shop. And yet every time I’d check to see if Eric was about to make a comment about how ridiculous I was making our apartment look, he’d just mutter something to the guy on the free throw line. I feel like me running around, banging into things, leaving a glitter trail, and turning our apartment into a winter wonderland while he just sat there giving himself frown lines is a microcosm of our outlooks on Christmas. It was actually my favorite holiday moment we’ve shared.

When all was said and done and the game was over, I was thrilled. I love holiday decor but this is the first time I’ve ever felt so deeply satisfied by my own decorations, probably because this is the first time I’ve really had my own space to do exactly what I want. I was able to work in all my decorations from last year plus the new items I bought and it felt cozy, well-lit, festive, and representative of all my favorite themes and colors (neutrals, browns, mixed metals/metallics, and evergreen).

(And I’m sure most of you know my style enough to know that that big white deer will be staying on my new table all year!)

The only thing missing from the living and dining area, you might notice, is our actual Christmas tree. Eric asked me if I wanted to put a tree in the living room and I said no. He asked why and right as I looked to the puppies and said “Uh…Beavis and Butthead?” he was looking at the puppies and saying, “Oh…Goofus and Gallant?”

So yeah, the Christmas tree is going up in our off-limits-to-the-beasts bedroom. There’s the 3-foot one on the bar and that’s the only one the dogs will ever know, at least until I can figure out how to make my (BRILLIANT) idea of an electric-fence-turned-tree-skirt a reality.

How are you adding gingerbread to your space this year? I’d love to hear your favorite themes, your best buys, etc. — and feel free to share pics in the comments using the upload option!

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie December 7, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Absolutely adore that wreath! I looked everywhere and couldn’t find one that was my style so I ended up with a gold JOY sign instead. Sigh. Your decorations look great though, congrats on a successful blackout!

You’ll have to give us Eric’s response when he finally notices he’s not in Kansas!


2 Phoebe December 7, 2011 at 11:15 pm

I loved this post! I also love that feeling of being totally satisfied and excited by what you bought.
I’m staying with my parents for a little while and we have a whole host of decorations we put up. My absolute favorite of them are these chains of Vietnamese eight-pointed stars made out of deep red paper folded really intricately. They’re also emotionally significant because my mom bought them with my grandmother who has since passed away. They go over our doorways and windows and we have little nails we leave up all year just to put the star chains on them. I can’t wait to put them up this year!


3 Christie F December 7, 2011 at 11:30 pm

All we did this year was put up a tree in the living room. I’m 37 weeks pregnant and already going into the early stages of labor, so decorating naturally wasn’t a high concern of ours this year.

But we did slap up a tree and put some decorations on it. Next year will be much more fun. I was thinking 100000000 photo ornaments of the baby hahahaha how fun


4 Rachel December 7, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Wheeee!! Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy…gosh, what an exciting time for you!!


5 fluke December 7, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Love the decorations and LOVE that deer. I’ve been eyeing one at Michael’s for the last few weeks. It’s currently 50% off, but I just can’t seem to talk myself into buying it. I did satisfy my reindeer craving (can you have reindeer cravings?) with a little version that cost $4., which i will be painting ceramic white!


6 Rachel December 8, 2011 at 12:01 am

Uh yes, you can have reindeer cravings!

And the white deer I bought was the 50 percent off one from Michaels (+ another 20 percent but I would have bought it without the extra discount) and I am so happy I went for it!


7 Deva @ Deva by Definition December 7, 2011 at 11:39 pm

We are in the process of moving.. so for me, my gingerbread-housemaking will come with putting my personal touches on the house this month. We’re excited because it’s OUR house, and not another apartment, but then it’s overwhelming because, well, we’re moving in December. I want to put my menorah up in the dining room, along with the Christmas tree, and want to put up some garlands if I can, but if we get moved in without losing anything in the process (most notably, our sanity), I’ll be happy.


8 Rachel December 8, 2011 at 12:04 am

First, CONGRATS on your house!! Saw that on your blog and forgot to comment! And I think you have SO much gingerbread to look forward to in the next…well, for the forseeable future…can’t wait to hear updates!


9 Deva at deva by definition December 8, 2011 at 11:28 am

Thanks! It’s been really fun getting the house together this week. Saturday is the big move day- and it’s going to be a CRAZY one! I can’t wait to share updates :-)


10 Ashley December 8, 2011 at 12:10 am

Umm thats exactly why we arent getting a real tree this year..devil puppy would destroy that so fast.. My neighbors have a 4 mon old lab pup and they got a huge real tree though so not really sure how they are pulling that off


11 Samantha M. December 8, 2011 at 1:11 am

I am in love with that gold glitter deer and the 1st wreath. Nice shopping scores! I love getting fabulous stuff, and I love it even MORE when I got it at an awesome discount, so I’m living vicariously through your shopping experience. =)


12 Laura Georgina December 8, 2011 at 9:08 am

I’ll definitely buy the tree electrifying contraption once you figure it out! My dog and the Christmas tree don’t mix–he does the usual barking and carrying on, and then he feels the need to pee on any part of it that he can get at. Needless to say, we don’t do a big tree of any kind anymore.

And thank you for the reminder on the gingerbread recipe–I made that recipe last year and loved it, and kinda forgot the recipe I’d used! You now know what I’ll be up to this Sunday with my sisters…


13 erin December 8, 2011 at 9:11 am

seriously awesome decorations. I’m working on a few diys for decorations.


14 Alexandra December 8, 2011 at 10:25 am

That is almost exactly what happened in my apartment last night. My BF is an MSU sports FANATIC and I was decorating like cray cray as he was coaching “his team” (he thinks he’s on both the football and basketball teams…awww…)
It was our first real tree together, so I was having fun putting that up, hanging our stockings & admiring this pretty wreath my mom gave us. It’s finally starting to feel like Christmas in Chicago!


15 Manon December 8, 2011 at 10:41 am

Such a fun post…….although you threw me off with Eric watching football and muttering to a guy on a free throw line….LOL.


16 Rachel December 8, 2011 at 10:53 am

haha did I say football!? It was basketball…should probably edit that. Haha.


17 Rachel December 8, 2011 at 10:53 am

PS I’ve missed you!


18 Manon December 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm



19 Manon December 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm

It made me giggle with a side of “oh Rachel”…..oh how I love you :)


20 Heather December 8, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Dear Manon – I just clicked over to your blog from this comment, and I must say this:

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE!? how have I never stumbled across your blog before, I will never understand, but I just spent a few minutes reading and must say – I like your style, girl.

Thought I would comment here in hopes that others see it and think “oh! Manon is clearly brilliant! I should read her blog, too.”

Also, wanted to make sure Rachel saw that she is the great blog-matchmaker of 2011.



21 Manon December 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Awww, thanks! I’m not for everyone, so I get a girl boner when someone “gets” me :)


22 Kavi December 8, 2011 at 10:56 am

The gold reindeer is awesome! Festive without being too girly. I used to covet those Michael’s coupons… when I lived in the ‘burbs I’d stop there every week!


23 Heather December 8, 2011 at 12:11 pm

When I am a millionaire, I will hire you to decorate my house.
Round trip air fare and a generous holiday bonus will, of course, be included in the contract. ;)


24 Camby December 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm

That shit does look festive! I had glitter on my eye lids after my trip to Michaels. Mad house! Little old ladies kept asking where the holly was. I wasn’t shopping for holly. I don’t know where it’s at! They was eyeballing my 20% off coupon too. Glad I had my pocket knife!

All week I have been reading the title of your posts as Rachel Getting Married. I was like, “when did she go and get engaged?!” Been running on empty the last few weeks… Did you ever get an exercise pen for your dogs? You could put the tree in it and hot-wire that sucker. Some garland and a few wreaths, you’ll never know that it’s really a torture device. You could even have a Christmas train chugging along in there. Here’s a nice little Christmas tree disaster video for ya. http://youtu.be/cDMwO6axHag


25 MelissaNibbles December 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Everything came out so pretty! I haven’t done anything in my apartment yet. I might cut snowflakes out of white construction paper this weekend. We’ll see though, I mean, that’s tough shit right there.


26 Bridget December 8, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I.went.nuts.this.year. I didn’t mean to. I went to buy lightbulbs at Target….and $250 later, I left. I got a small tree, lights, ornaments, bows, stockings,flameless candles (my apt says no to real ones), a wreath that I decorated (I didn’t realize I could be crafty!), tree skirt, all that jazz. However, my boyfriend is Jewish and didn’t want to make him feel left out, so I made driedels into ornaments and hung those gold coin things. I also got him his first stocking (that was really just because mine looked lame by itself). Turning his holiday and my holiday into our holiday.
Since I had just moved (umm 10 days ago) and I was going home for Christmas, I originally thought I wasn’t going to decorate. But really, if I do that, WHO KNOWS when I will be settled?! I was so sick of waiting for a job, an apartment, a real life that I missed out on the last two Christmases. No more!


27 Liz December 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Let me know if that whole “electric-fence-turned-tree skirt” works out. I’ve been wondering how to handle the tree situation with my sasquatch of a puppy’s first X-Mas. I’ve already had to kiss my stockings goodbye- he kept pulling them off of the mantle, stocking holders and all.

I ultimately decided that the risk of Elvis (my sasquatch) suffering a head wound was more important than my mantle looking like X-Mas perfection.

Any dog/decoration tips?


28 D December 12, 2011 at 8:35 am

Ahhh, I need gift advice! Help a reader out?!

I’m a grad student and work part time at the reception desk of a massage studio. There’s 5 of us who work up front, including the owner, and we’re all pretty close/get along well. I’m leaving for 3 weeks of vacation and want to get the group a Christmas gift. I’ll be the one closing the studio the night before I leave so I was thinking of leaving something as a surprise for the morning? I would buy coffee but my boss always provides us with awesome coffee and will randomly give me some anyway. What could I get for 5 people and leave as a cute surprise? My other alternative was to bring back some Starbucks mugs from where I’m going (you know, the city mugs) but I don’t want to be stressed about packing/suitcase weight/getting broken. Help!


29 Savannah December 14, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Hi D,

Maybe you could make something? Nothing to complicated, but chocolate or cupcakes always seem to go over well. Check out http://www.howsweeteats.com/recipes/desserts/
She has a great list of treats and some like the chocolate bark and rice krispy treats aren’t too time consuming.



30 Rachel December 14, 2011 at 9:19 pm

How about applying this technique to plain white coffee mugs?


I actually made these over the weekend with wine glasses and need to post pics on the blog!


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