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Gingerbread men

A gingerbread man is a biscuit made of gingerbread, usually in the shape of a stylized human, as per the name although making other shapes, especially seasonal themes, is quite common.



Gingerbread dates back to the 15th century, and figural biscuit-making was practiced in the sixteenth century [1]. The first documented instance of figure-shaped gingerbread biscuits appearing was in the court of Elizabeth I of England. She had the gingerbread figures made and presented in the likeness of some of her important guests. [2]


Most gingerbread men share the same roughly humanoid shape, with stubby feet and no fingers. Many gingerbread men have a face, though whether the features are indentations within the face itself or other candies stuck on with icing or chocolate varies from recipe to recipe. Other decorations are common; hair, shirt cuffs and shoes are sometimes applied, but by far the most popular decoration are shirt buttons, which are traditionally represented by gum drops, icing, or raisins.

In world records

According to the 2009 Guinness Book of Records, the world’s largest gingerbread man was made on December 2, 2006 by the Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce in Smithville, Texas, United States at their annual Festival of Lights celebration. The gingerbread man weighed in at 1,308 lbs, 8 oz,[3] and stood at over 20 feet. On December 6, 2008, also in conjunction with the annual Festival of Lights celebration, a monument was dedicated in honor of the feat made from the very cookie sheet that was used to break the record.

Recently Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A. had a potential record-setting Gingerbread man put on display. The Dane County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) unveiled the world's largest gingerbread man. It stood 26 feet and 2 inches tall, although its weight is unknown.

In fiction and popular culture

  • The Gingerbread Man, a fairy tale about a gingerbread man devoured by a fox.
  • Gingy is a talking gingerbread man character in the Shrek series of movies. He is derived from the children's story The Gingerbread Man.
  • Sweet Gingerbread Man was a popular song.


  1. ^ 300 Years of Kitchen Collectibles, Linda Campbell Franklin, 4th edition [Books Americana:New York] 1998 (p. 183)
  2. ^ "A History of Gingerbread Men". Retrieved 2009-11-13.  
  3. ^ Guinness World Records 2009, page 124

Gingerbread Man Decoration



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