The Capital Hotel in Little Rock, Ark., has a 12-by-14-foot (3.6-by-4.2 meter) gingerbread village on display with an Arkansas countryside theme, including cows, horses, deer, rabbits and ducks along with a barn and an Ozark shack. Details include 100 handmade pine trees dotting a sugar-coated winter scene with a Polar Express train and snow forts.
At The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation in Georgia, an entire train station has been recreated in gingerbread, sugar and candy, measuring 12 feet high (3.6 meters) and 16 feet (4.8 meters) wide. The creation depicts the depot for a train located on the resort property that takes guests on tours.
Wentworth By the Sea Hotel & Spa in Portsmouth-New Castle, N.H., has a 4-foot (1.2-meter) tall gingerbread house in the lobby, and the nearby Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth hosts a display of entries in a gingerbread house contest.
In a French twist on the gingerbread story, the French-based hotel chain Sofitel hosts a French holiday dessert called buche de noel, an edible Yule log, in their properties around the world.
David M. Schwarz Architects of Washington, D.C., sponsors the annual construction of "Gingertowns" by architects, engineers and others in Washington, Nashville and Dallas. The buildings stay up for a week, and are then disassembled and donated to charities along with cash contributions. This year's Gingertowns had a university campus theme with candy-studded buildings such as the I.M. Pez Library, the Cadbury Egghead Library and the Peppermint Patty Performing Arts Center.
If these descriptions have you dreaming of gingerbread creations you can't possibly make at home, Matheson, the "Gingerbread Architect" author, says there's still a lot to be said for "the simple art — the smell of baking gingerbread, the rough cut, over-iced, slumped and out of plumb gingerbread house with the candy pieces that slid out of position before the icing dried and the little hand that created it."
That, she added, is "a treasure."