Gingerbread Decorating Competition: Will the House Crumble or be Crowned?

Mary Winram, Writer

Jolly Juniors Gingerbread House
Mia Carder

The winter holiday season is upon us, and although typically associated with Christmas, gingerbread houses are for all. This year, for the first time, GTJHS is hosting its very own gingerbread house decorating contest on December 16th in the cafeteria. An astonishing 28 teams will be competing against each other for first place, all within the mere span of 30 minutes. The winner will be crowned through student vote.


pictured left to right Haydn Ng, Payton Cillay, Kaiya Feiertag, Diya Jha (Mary Winram)


Senior Haydn Ng, on team “Jingle Ladies” described that the only plan her team had for the competition was their lack thereof. She stated that, “…we’re probably just going to show up and wing it”. Mia Carder, a junior at TJ and a member of the “Jolly Juniors” exclaimed, “Why would we have a plan?!”. As of now, it is looking like the teams have not planned too far ahead, and neither the Jingle Ladies nor the Jolly Juniors have decided on a theme, although Ng said that their house will likely “have jingle bells on it”.

30 minutes, a maximum of four team members, and 28 houses. Competition has never been more intense, and some feel like the 30 minutes provided isn’t nearly enough. Carder’s teammate Zoe Korth said without hesitation that 30 minutes is “not at all” enough time. Ng had a different outlook however, stating that “the time limit makes the competition more exciting”. Although some teams like the Jingle Ladies, according to Ng, are starting off “working collectively…then split up”, others like the Jolly Juniors are taking the opposite approach and are going to “come together at the end”. It soon will be revealed whether the loose plans made will be followed through or lost in the heat of the competition. 

December 16, during Connect, all the teams gathered adjacent to the cafeteria ready to frost, decorate, and bedazzle their houses at record-breaking speeds. The time limit at first seemed daunting, but the teams settled into an efficient working pace and many unique, stand-out houses were produced as a result. Although prior to the competition Carder declared 30 minutes not nearly enough time, post-competition she assured that the time provided proved “plentiful”. Ng commented that, “it was the perfect amount of time to quickly do details”.

The houses exhibited a wide range of designs, from beloved cartoon characters to beloved GTJHS staff members! Brittney Holmes of team “Hello Kitty” stated that on their house they incorporated, naturally, “a Hello Kitty logo”. Meanwhile, the Jolly Juniors were making a statement with hand-made popsicle stick figurines of Ms. Kibler, Ms. Britton, and Ms. Baker. 

Other teams opted for a more classic approach with their house. The Jingle Ladies took decorating their house a step further and decided to add on to the outside. Ng explained that, “Our snowmen really stood out because no one really had animals or props next to their house”.

pictured left to right: Grace Tial, Stuart Magana, Estefany Rivera, and Brittney Holmes

Although it was a close competition, there can only be one winner. A team without a name, consisting of Natalia Garcia Orellana, Sabrina Browning, and Jessica Ashun, secured first place, winning a $20 Amazon gift card. Garcia said that her team is “experienced in gingerbread houses” which helped them to come out on top. Her team focused on the details, such as the candy cane door with the carefully-crafted wreath. Team “SSL King & Ms. Robyn”, consisting of Anish Patel, James Sokoloff, Maya Koennel and Robyn Myers took home second and “The Cougars”, of Emily Ramirez, Justin Borgen, Lauren Chung, and Vivian Renkey came in third.

All in all, the 2022 GTJHS Gingerbread Decorating Competition was a huge hit. Underclassmen across the board hoped to participate in the competition again next year. The only complaint numerous students had was with the materials; students insisted that in the future they be informed on what materials they could possess and whether they could bring their own in. Regardless, the gingerbread competition will surely become a GTJHS tradition for years to come.