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How to dress up your holiday gingerbread man

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The gingerbread man has long been a staple of holiday baking traditions. In 1875, the sugary figurine was first introduced to holiday traditions through a fairytale published in St. Nicholas magazine, where he was depicted as a sought-after treat that eventually met its demise by way of a hungry fox. Throughout the years, the gingerbread man's taunting phrase about catching him has followed him from holiday table to holiday table, and he remains a hallmark of festive holiday decorations today.

Nowadays, the gingerbread man's story is not as damning as it once was, but he still makes a delicious treat at a tree-trimming or holiday party. While his fate remains the same as it did in 1875 (you're not going to be able to resist eating him, after all), decorating him has become one of the most important and fun parts of his tradition.

This year, we’re showing you how to dapper-up your gingerbread man for the holiday. From icing and toppings to themes and design, we’ve come up with some of our favorite ways to decorate a gingerbread man. For the married couple, a gingerbread man would not be complete without his woman, and for the heat-seekers, cinnamon candies make a spicy and colorful way to button up his shirt. We cover these decorations and more for your gingerbread man so that when you finally catch him, he’ll look and taste good.  

The Dough
As with every story, there’s a beginning, and the gingerbread man’s starts with his dough. The Daily Meal's gingerbread recipe relies on much more than ginger, calling for spices like nutmeg, ground cloves, and even a little black pepper to make sure that the cookies are extra flavorful.

The Shape
A gingerbread man wouldn’t be a gingerbread man without his globe-shaped head and bulky arms and legs. While unique and unconventional cutters exist, our gingerbread men show up for the party looking as traditional as possible.

Traditional Gingerbread Men
The most traditional way of decorating a gingerbread man is with icing. We mixed confectioner’s sugar with a little water and food coloring to design his getup for this one, and you’ll see that icing was a common addition to many of his other outfits.

Black Tie Gingerbread Men
These gingerbread men in tuxes are ready for any black-tie occasion. For chocolate lovers, we used mini chocolate chips to button up one man, while the other’s suspenders are made of black licorice.

Fruity Gingerbread Men
For a healthy twist, we chose to make this gingerbread man’s buttons out of raisins, providing a sweet burst of freshness alongside the smoky flavors of the gingerbread.

Click here to see more ways to dress up your gingerbread man

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