When I was a child, my mother used to make gingerbread houses with my brother and me. We'd carefully place each smarties on the roof for shingles, and make presents and clocks out of licorice all-sorts with icing for clock hands and ribbon. We were usually not allowed to sample the candy; something that changed after the year that we accidentally put gummy cough candies all along the ridge of the roof. In my mom's defense, the cough drops looked a lot like candy!
As we got a bit older, our interest in gingerbread waned and we stopped building.
The tradition was revived in high school when a group of us decided to get together to do something over the holidays. I can't remember whose idea it was to make gingerbread, but I remember that everyone was immediately enthusiastic. We didn't limit ourselves to mere houses, and so a tradition was born. Over the years we've seen stain glass windows, spheres, moving parts (The Guillotine, a record player and a telephone) and a lot of really creative candy use ("Revenge of the Gingerbread Man", "Gummis in Peril", this year's volcano).
Fourteen years later the gingerbread making is going strong and the concept has been duly introduced to the next generation. She was a bit overwhelmed by all the people and noise, but by the end of the event had warmed up enough to stop clinging to mom like a petrified monkey. Grandma and Grandpa H took the opportunity to introduce her to pop and junk food, both of which she liked a little too much. For the record: Mom, Dad - we are officially horrified. We don't think Elizabeth was given any candy but I brushed her tooth extra thoroughly anyway!