Tony and I decided to make a Gingerbread Mansion this year, from scratch.  Neither one of us had made a gingerbread house before, but a simple house was not a enough of a challenge.  We used 2 batches of Gale Gand’s Gingerbread House recipe, and based on a simple sketch, we figured out the construction as we went.  Then we surrounded our mansion with a hillside made from Alton Brown’s Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting. (Special thanks to Savannah for shredding all those carrots!)  The trees are made from suger cones dipped in chocolate, then rolled in sprinkles.  It was all delicious.  Screw the kits!