I present the 2013 Gingerbread House!
It always surprises me what 5 adults and 4 mini-Coopers - given gallons of icing, a sleigh full of sweets, a few bottles of fizz, and lots of laughter - can do.
This year we decided to build a country pub which we named the Four Loons for the four mini-Coopers (not so mini anymore - little Louis, at 11 3/4 is the only one shorter than me. Marvellous Mads, scrumptous Suzy and gorgeous Gen all tower over me).
Mads created the bar with draught beer pumps, and the bottles of spirits on the wall behind the bar.
Suzy created the elf bartender to complete the scene.
Caroline provided a couple of picnic tables for hardy visitors who want to enjoy their beer, egg and chips outside.
...and whoever didn't make that one, made this slightly less jolly version at the side of the tavern...
...by the see-saw created by Louis.
At the side of the pub you can see the kegs stacked up for loading into the pub cellar.
....and a mysterious abandoned pair of ice skates.
Which leads to the question you've probably been asking yourself? WHERE ARE ALL THE PEOPLE? Why have the pints of beer and meals been abandoned? Where are the ice skaters? Why did they leave their skates?
And the answer can only be... DALEKS!
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who - a UK television institution and Louis' favourite show. So in honour of this landmark, Daleks are attacking the pub.
Louis and Suzy created these Daleks and I have to say that despite my best efforts these photos do not do them justice.
They are true masterpieces of confectionary.
Luckily we can see that the TARDIS has just landed (for those of you uninitiated it's the blue Police Box the Doctor travels in) and I expect Doctor Who will sort out the Daleks before they can EX-TERM-I-NATE anyone.
Pat arrived on Sunday determined to include the HS2.
For those of you not in the UK HS2 is a proposed high speed train link between London and cities in the North which is coming under a lot of criticism as it will cost a gazillion pounds, and not everyone is convinced it's justified by the benefit of taking 20 minutes off the time for a rail journey from London to Birmingham.
And how cute is that tree with the little presents. Maybe that's what the Daleks were after. Afterall there is NO WAY Daleks are ever making Santa's 'nice' list.
But every gingerbread house comes to an end and when my merry band of gingerbread artists leave I take stock of my kitchen. My poor kitchen, where every surface is coated with a thin layer of icing sugar, and my sticky floor is covered in broken sweets and pretzels.
I take it all in, sigh and think how incredibly lucky I am to have this tradition and these amazing people in my life.
If you made it this far - thanks for stopping by and being part of it all. However you are celebrating the season I wish you all peace and joy.
I'm off to Canada for Christmas and can't wait!