When I was growing up, every Christmas we made a village for our Smurf figurines out of sugar wafers, "quick-set" icing, and candy. The sugar wafers (the cross hatched kind with an inner, stabilizing, layer of frosting) were the perfect building material: lightweight, cheap, and modular. The Smurfs never complained about their digs, but it was obvious to me even then that our wafer village was the equivalent of building with concrete block, whereas a village made of Gingerbread would be like building out of wood — not as easy, or cheap a building material to work with, but way more sophisticated and elegant.
Gingerbread, though, is not the ideal building material. The pieces have to be pre-measured before baking, you have to hope that you can get them off the pan without sticking, and then you have to hope it doesn't break during construction. That's a lot of hoping!
To build a successful Gingerbread house you have to be a master baker, architect, and structural engineer — it's no wonder so many companies sell prefabricated gingerbread houses! Still, I am always impressed when someone manages to do it by themselves.
So, when it comes to gingerbread houses, what's your style? Do you do it all yourself or do you happily admit to taking short-cuts (like me)?