Dec. 12 – Gingerbread Day

GabeAmerican History(BR), Bell Ringers

Dec. 12 is National Gingerbread Day.

Holiday traditions are a big part of December, and nothing smells more like the holidays than gingerbread. Mary Ball Washington, George’s mother, is given credit for a famous gingerbread cake recipe, which is known to have been served at the Washington home at Mount Vernon. When the Marquis de Lafayette visited Mary, it was served to him, and is now called Lafayette Gingerbread.

There are lots of ways to start a Gingerbread House tradition in your family. Here’s one idea:

Lafayette’s visit to America capped a long career supporting the young, experimental, country, starting with fighting with the Americans during the Revolutionary War. For French republicans (for them this means people opposed to the monarchy, rather than a political party), America and the American system of government was their dream. They celebrated George Washington’s birthday as world republican day, hosting elaborate banquets and giving long toasts in favor of free government. The gift of the Statue of Liberty to America capped this long relationship. The feeling was mutual, and throughout the United States, there are towns named for the Marquis de Lafayette.


  1. If you were to name a town for a foreigner who had done something important for the United States, who would it be?
  2. What other foreigners have given their name to American towns? Pasquale Paoli is one. Can you think of others? What might they have done to deserve such an honor?
  3. Gingerbread houses originated in Germany in the 16th Century, along with many other of “our” Christmas traditions. Can you think of American traditions we’ve exported? What other countries have brought us holiday traditions?

Image Citation:

Xinhua Photoshot. Gingerbread house [Photograph] (2013). Retrieved from