During the holidays, Palestine resident Kristi Starr's kitchen table is filled with edible housing decorations that make her home look like Candyland.
Carrying down a tradition her mother started years ago, Starr enjoys making graham cracker gingerbread houses and scenes during the Christmas season and giving them away.
This year, she made a gingerbread house for the children staying at East Texas Hospitality House in Tennessee Colony, the children at her church at First Congregational Methodist Church in Elkhart and a local family. She also plans to make a special fire truck and fire station gingerbread house for the Westside Volunteer Fire Department in her neighborhood.
“I enjoy making them and giving it to whoever I feel led to give it to and God blesses you back,” Starr said. “You can't buy a toy in a stocking that brings that much excitement when children see one for the first time.”
Her mother, Lola Brinegar of McGregor, started making graham cracker gingerbread houses using a recipe from a Dec. 3, 1985 Family Circle article.
“My mom is 53 and has dementia. Because she can no longer make them, my sister and I have made them to carry on her tradition, using the same recipe,” Starr said. “Making the houses is our way of carrying on things she taught us and remembering the good times.”
It isn't unusual for Starr and her sister, Tiffany Sanders of Waco, to converse over the phone while shopping the leftover Halloween candy at local stores — looking for just the right candy to make something special for the gingerbread house scenes.
“We try to do something different every year and add to them. We share ideas back and fourth,” Starr said.
The key to success in her gingerbread houses is the icing — which serves as a “glue” for the pieces staying together.