You can always tell when Christmas is coming in the Read household.
It's when clouds of ground ginger, cinnamon and icing sugar waft through the home.
The warm spices of a good gingerbread cookie remind me of Christmas and spending time with my grandmother.
Since about 2011, I've made it my mission to construct increasingly elaborate gingerbread houses.
I've invited friends over for gingerbread house decorating competitions, where everyone gets their own house to build and decorate with their favourite lollies and other sweets. And when the houses are done, my five nephews have a competition to see who can pluck the most lollies off in record time on Christmas Day.
Building gingerbread houses is truly a wonderful holiday activity for all ages. The great thing about gingerbread houses is that they keep for quite a long time too. You can build your house a week before Christmas, and if it survives sticky fingers, take it along as a centrepiece for the dinner table.
I usually take my gingerbread houses to my work Christmas function, to my in-law's house on Christmas morning and then to my family's Christmas on Boxing Day. They also make great gifts. You can buy a small gingerbread house cookie-cutter set and make miniature houses for gifts or place settings.
For a gingerbread house, you will need a denser gingerbread recipe than you would need to make your average cookie. You will also need a template for your gingerbread house, which you can download for free on the internet and cut out.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.