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Some of the Numbers Behind Our Sweetest Holiday Tradition

Gingerbread House at French Lick Springs Hotel

Can you smell that?

It’s back, as impressive as ever, and you can already pick up the sweet aroma of gingerbread at French Lick Springs Hotel. Get ready to feast your eyes. (Just don’t actually feast on it, we kindly ask!)

The gingerbread house is one of our favorite holiday traditions, and it takes a team of seven talented members of our culinary staff (plus additional helper elves) to bring this confectionary creation to life. Hear from three of team — Princess McCallister, Erin Brandt and Chantilly Tuell — about this year’s gingerbread house by the numbers.


Holiday Gingerbread House at French Lick Springs Hotel

9 Months

Time that’s passed since the first batch of gingerbread was baked — all the way back in February — for this year’s house.

“We worked on it all through the year, every time we had a minute to do anything at all – like making gingerbread or icing, making poinsettias. Anything at all,” Princess explains. “We have a small staff and this is such a big project, so that really, really helped.”


Holiday Gingerbread House at French Lick Springs Hotel

The biggest difference you’ll notice this year? Instead of merging two portions of the house to make one gingerbread super-structure, each half stands on its own as separate houses.

One side is Santa’s Workshop with gears on the chimney, mini tools on the shingles, and two chutes with all the presents coming down after they’re made. (Brittany hand-made all these toys: the penguin, the car, hat, train, snow globe and many more.)

Holiday Gingerbread House at French Lick Springs Hotel

The other side of the house is Mrs. Claus’ Bakery featuring some larger-than-life holiday goodies.

“The bakery was kind of like my personal project this year,” Princess says. “The giant cookies, those are half-pound cookies. And the lollipops, those look good enough to eat. Those are my favorite pieces.”


Holiday Gingerbread House at French Lick Springs Hotel

4 Pounds

Amount of ground ginger used in making batch after batch of gingerbread. Might not sound like a lot, but if you were to make gingerbread at home, that would be 300+ batches.

The largest ingredient amount? 600 pounds of powdered sugar, which goes into everything from the icing between the shingles to the various signs on the house. Practically everything on the exterior of the house is from edible ingredients.


Holiday Gingerbread House at French Lick Springs Hotel

1 Month

The most time-consuming processes?

“The shingles on the roof – that took us forever. That took us the whole month, because you have to make sure they’re perfectly lined up and even, and then you would make a batch and you’d run out of that batch, have to make more,” Erin explains.

“And the grout work – that took forever: piping it on, wiping it smooth,” Chantilly says. But the payoff is worth it: “Oh yes,” she adds, smiling. “It looks so nice.”


Holiday Gingerbread House at French Lick Springs Hotel

700 People

The size of a huge group that visited French Lick Springs Hotel early this week. That is the bakery staff’s first priority – preparing mass amounts of cheesecake, carrot cake, pineapple upside-down cake to feed an army. Crazy as it seems, gingerbread is their “side” project. And next week? It’s on to preparing desserts for 800 people at French Lick Springs Hotel’s Thanksgiving feast.


Holiday Gingerbread House at French Lick Springs Hotel


When you stop by the gingerbread house, see if you can spot the “Easter eggs.”

There are a few Nightmare Before Christmas characters. But only one Christmas pickle.

Erin explains her personal favorite part of the house: “It’s a German tradition to hide a little pickle on the Christmas tree. Whoever in the family finds it first would receive another present or earn something a little extra. That’s something I grew up doing in my family for years, and I wanted to add it to the house.”


Holiday Gingerbread House at French Lick Springs Hotel


Number of dangerous close calls, by Princess’ count, when moving the gingerbread house from the bakery in the basement of the hotel to the Event Center on the second floor.

Holiday Gingerbread House at French Lick Springs HotelHey, there are always a few nervous moments when maneuvering this 700-pound house up a service elevator and through tight quarters in the kitchen with sometimes just a few inches to spare.

“But this is my third time doing it, and this by far is the easiest move I’ve seen,” Princess says. “We have a staff that understands the work and the hours that go into it, and the house is really fragile so they respect that.”



Holiday Gingerbread House at French Lick Springs Hotel


Number of Christmas songs played in the kitchen when the bakery staff works on gingerbread.


“I did get her to play Christmas music for a solid six hours yesterday, so I take that as a win,” Princess jokes about Brittany, whose favorite season is Halloween.

Princess’ favorite tune? “I have so many. You Make It Feel Like Christmas by Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, that’s one of my favorites this year.”


Holiday Gingerbread House at French Lick Springs Hotel


Number of days you have left to enjoy the gingerbread house during our holiday season. It’s on display through January 6 on the upper level of the Event Center, so stop by to see (and smell) this sweet masterpiece.

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