Why We Eat Gingerbread at Christmastime

Taking a bite of anything gingerbread flavored just tastes like Christmas, doesn’t it? Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice tones in one bite… holiday perfection! Unlike seasonal foods like pumpkin or winter squash ginger isn’t known as a seasonal winter food so, gingerbread has a less clear tie to the holiday winter season.

Ginger is used and known worldwide for its medicinal properties. It’s known to fight inflammation, reduce pain, lower blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and may even prevent cancer. However, one of the most well-known benefits of ginger is its stomach calming effects which include fighting nausea and indigestion.

Although there is no hard evidence, one accepted theory is that its power to calm the tummy may be one reason it’s tied to the holiday season so closely… and cue overeating and excess amounts of sugar plus alcohol for a solid month. You’ve got to have something to help combat that and back in the day, there was no bottle of antacid. Just ginger to the rescue!

Today, using the name “gingerbread” may refer to a flavor (aka gingerbread latte) or the actual recipe of gingerbread. Even that is unreliable as there are now two forms of traditional gingerbread.

One that refers to a holiday bread (similar in texture to a pumpkin bread). The other gingerbread is traditionally hard, almost like an animal cracker. This version is used for decorating and making gingerbread houses. It’s also likely to be eaten after decorating.

In the early days of the Christian church, gingerbread was baked hard and used for religious celebrations. Some sources say that it was a sacred dish only allowed to be prepared and consumed during the holidays, specifically Christmas and Easter.

Although it’s hard to say what kind of gingerbread was traditional, it’s clear to say that an association has stood the test of time. The idea of gingerbread as a holiday delicacy probably created a tradition so strong it was impossible to break.

So today, regardless of the recipe you use, taking a bite of anything gingerbread flavored is sure to be accompanied with warm fuzzy memories of all your favorite Christmastime traditions!

Have we inspired you to bake something gingerbread? Here are some delicious Blue Ribbon gingerbread recipes to try.

Gingerbread (House or Men)

Grandmother Ada’s Gingerbread

Gingerbread – Grandma’s

Gingerbread and Lemon Raisin Sauce