Marguerite Gordon of Ainslie, Canberra making homemade edible Christmas gifts.
Tasty ... Marguerite Gordon, of Ainslie, has been making homemade edible Christmas gifts for family and friends two decades. Photo: Melissa Adams

Larissa Nicholson

There is no great secret to making a gingerbread house that holds together, says Marguerite Gordon.

The Ainslie bookkeeper and mother of three has been making edible Christmas gifts for her family and friends for two decades, and every year she tackles a gingerbread house, which takes pride of place as centrepiece on the big day.

But each piece of gingerbread should have straight edges, the base piece should be even, and putting lots of icing on the inside of the house will help stop it from collapsing, she said.

''It's just basically confidence that eventually the royal icing will stick. I say to lots of people that it's quite an unusual feat of engineering to get it to work, but somehow it does,'' she said.

Mrs Gordon plans to make gingerbread houses this year for the women in her book club, and chocolate macadamia nuts for her children's teachers and her hairdresser. She rolls macadamias in melted chocolate and covers them with cocoa or coconut.

She credits the resurgence in giving homemade treats as gifts to an increased public interest in food, and an appreciation of the time involved in making something yourself.

''It actually tastes good, and it's a personal gift. We generally all have what we need, we live in a very affluent society, so it's a gift that requires a little bit of thought and a little bit of effort, and I think people appreciate going back to that basic sort of giving,'' she said.

She packages everything in cellophane and ribbons, and last year treated the adults in her family to a glass bottle of homemade lemonade which she paired with a bottle of gin.

She admitted making food for gifts could be time consuming, but said it was a labour of love.

''If you don't find the time you don't do it, but it's that fun type of baking. You're doing it one time a year, it's not routine, it's something a little bit different,'' she said.