White Christmas in Arizona?

Most folks think “snow” when they hear the term “White Christmas” — but folks who participated in Thursday’s gingerbread house contest at Sunflower Farmers Market in Tempe had something quite different in mind. It was icing, lots and lots of white icing — along with graham crackers, gumdrops, mints and more.

ASU Gammage, which presents the touring production of “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” Dec. 6-11, held a gingerbread house contest at Sunflower Farmers Market yesterday — ready to award a family fourpack of tickets to creators of the top five houses. I tagged along for part of the event.

You can tell a lot about people by watching the way they build something. Are they messy or meticulous? Do they like sharing their materials with others? Can they rebound cheerfully from sliding chimneys or fallen fences? Would they rather grab a napkin or just lick their fingers? I saw a little of everything on Thursday, and it was delightful.

Most of the photos below feature a Tempe mom named Hiedi, who owes the atypical spelling of her name to her father. He was an English teacher, she told me. Hence the ‘i’ before the ‘e.’ Hiedi did the gingerbread thing with young daughter Lilah and infant daughter Haley — plus Lorelei, the daughter of a good friend whose dad didn’t have to follow the ‘i’ before ‘e’ rule.

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The house with the fence, still a work in progress when I left to hit an art exhibit opening, belongs to a grown-up named Jacqueline. The M & M candies atop her fence are lights. “It wouldn’t be Christmas without lights,” she told me. But my favorite part of her house was the snow on top, crafted with coconut flakes in two different sizes.

Folks who favor real snow over the coconut variety can head to Tempe Marketplace as ASU Gammage presents a “Snow Day” Sat, Dec. 3 from 5-8pm. I’m told that Mrs. Claus will make a special guest appearance to read the “White Christmas” story — and that there will be Christmas caroling, hot chocolate and cookies.

Snow will fall at 7pm, and families are invited to bring blankets along to stay warm while watching the movie “White Christmas” on the Tempe Marketplace District Stage.

If indoor fun is more your style, consider attending a “White Christmas” tea with the Broadway cast of “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” at the The Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix. The Dec. 8 event includes a traditional full tea with finger sandwiches, fresh scones and pastries — plus music from pianist Nicole Pesce. 
Clicking here won’t make it snow, but it will connect you to more details.

— Lynn

Note: There’s plenty of great arts and culture in Northern Arizona, so remember that roadtrips (undertaken safely) can make for fun experiences with falling snow.

Coming up: Rising voices of Arizona youth


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