Gingerbread Houses

My wife and daughter love decorating gingerbread houses at this time of year.

Sometimes they’ll work on two houses at the same time, one each. Their houses will be the same structurally with walls and roof baked from the same moulds. They’ll each take their own icing, sweets and chocolates to make their house look special.

A long time ago I made a present for someone at Christmas-time, by taking a gingerbread mould and making the walls out of chocolate. It looked good, but the walls were so thick I felt sorry for their teeth afterwards…


All of which makes me think of vivas of course! Vivas follow patterns, the same way that gingerbread houses follow the moulds they’re baked in.

The dough in a gingerbread mix might be more or less well-combined than is typical. An ingredient might be over-represented in sometime or lacking entirely. Gingerbread houses follow patterns in the same way that vivas do. They can also vary wildly based on how people engage with them – or decorate them!

And sometimes they can follow the same pattern but be very different because the ingredients are different, like the chocolate house I made.

Patterns and common expectations still create different experiences. Your viva will be unique, but not unknown.

It’s not hard to get a good sense of what to expect – and expect that your viva will be one of a kind.

My chocolate house from long ago, plus my wife's far better house from that year! A light gingerbread house decorated with white icing and smarties roof, next to a dark chocolate house made from the same mould, decorated barely with white icing, smarties and a stacked cookie chimney

My chocolate house from long ago, plus my wife’s far better house from that year!