It has been our tradition these last few years to create a gingerbread house for Thanksgiving.

The first year I got a bit carried away and decided to create a gingerbread mansion. It was a couple of stories high and had wings and high pitched roofs. I designed it from scratch and made templates for all the pieces walls and roof pieces. I even added a couple of chimneys.

The second year I wised up and made something a bit more traditional. In the end, Athena and I had more time for decorating the cottage with various candies that it looked almost as impressive as the mansion I first built.

A couple of tips from one who has learned. Be sure to use a recipe that is created specifically for building (which is different from recipes for cookies and cake). Regardless, gingerbread does not cool in the exact shape you cut out. That is the reason why they are usually covered with icing - to hide all the imperfections. Have plenty of icing on hand and it is best if you have four hands working on the house to assemble it.

Athena and I have a terrific time on our yearly project. We labor together making the dough, cutting out the pieces and putting our masterpiece together. We listen to music and chat for hours as we place M&Ms on the roof and mints on the sides of the house.

This is one tradition I hope we continue until our hands are no longer able to hold steady. It fills our life with warmth, happiness and a true sense of family (not to mention great aromas). Perhaps the highlight of our experience is when the house is complete and we then share it with others.

One final tip. When your sweetheart isn't looking, hide a small gift inside the gingerbread house before you seal up the walls. It will be a great discovery when your love begins munching on the architectural delight.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Webb is author of The RoMANtic's Guide: Hundreds of Creative Tips for a Lifetime of Love. You can order at Amazon.com or for more of Michael's FREE tips, visit http://www.TheRomantic.com