You know you’ve been there: fingers caked with white frosting, sweat beading off your brow as that third gingerbread wall, both fatally lopsided and the key to all structural integrity, caves in slowly for the 12th time. The holiday “to-do” list in your head grows, seemingly in lock step with the disappointment on your kids’ faces, and you wonder what possessed you to do this in the first place.

As a mild craft-phobe, I stand by a deeply rooted belief that the only enjoyable part of gingerbread house-making is adorning something pre-assembled with gumdrops, coconut flakes, and other sweet things that resemble other things.

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There are, however, some folks out there who absolutely crush the gingerbread house game, and though they may be the same people who are asked politely to leave a Michael’s store because it’s closing, we have nothing but respect for these amateur architects.

Just last month the Omni Grove Park Inn, in Asheville, N.C., held its 25th (yes, 25th) annual National Gingerbread Competition in which folks from around the world descend on the city and submit their very best gingerbread works of art. It’s the pride of the sprawling hillside hotel and judges include a curator from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Winning creations (seen here) are on display to be gawked over through the first week of January.

Across the Atlantic, the undoubtedly adorable people of Bergen, Norway, hold a Gingerbread Festival of their own each year. During Pepperkakebyen (translates to “gingerbread village”), hundreds of the gingerbread cookie cutouts are fashioned by locals into an interpretive re-creation of the charming seaside town itself.

In the good old U.S. of A, real estate is king, so to celebrate GBH (gingerbread house) season, we’ve rounded up 11 of the coolest creations we secretly wished we lived in ourselves (instead of a sad alley-facing studio apartment with murphy bed and galley kitchen).

From wildly creative to towering and tall, these incredible and edible abodes are a friendly reminder of yet another thing we’ll absolutely never be able to do.

Cake Central

This fabulous three-story GBH with its intricate frosting-work is giving off Dia de los Muertos vibes and we’re actually dying to get inside it.

Ameblo

  This adorable creation was done by a Japanese food blogger. We may not be able to read the inspiration, but the beauty is universal!

Flickr

  The battle over whether it’s a Christmas or Halloween movie rages on, but one thing is clear: We would totally move into this “Nightmare Before Christmas”-inspired gingerbread house!

Cakes Decor

 This dreamy design was inspired by the magical architecture of Daniel Merriam (“High Altitude”, “Land’s End”, “Port of Call”) but also sort of looks like if M.C. Escher made a dollhouse. When can we move in?

The Distraction Network

There is no question we’d pack our bags for a chance to call this near pefect GB replica of the Notre Dame home. Even if it meant fending off Quasimodo’s advances.

Pinterest

A former first place winner of the aforementioned National Gingerbread Competition is exactly where we’d like to cozy up by a fire and sip a holiday tipple or two.

Flickr – Wonderland 5

 This wobbly wonder looks like it came straight out of a Dr. Seuss dream and although we’re not completely sure how it’s standing, we’d definitely take our chances and move right on in.

My Colorful Life

We’re already planning the party of the century in this monster GBH with five towers, countless rooms, and what appears to be working electricity!

Cookie Connection

 This European-style GB cathedral uses something called “poured sugar” for the stained glass windows and careful icing to create a realistic stone affect. Keys, please!

Flickr – Through My Eyes

 A giant mushroom turned into a GBH that’s truly fit for a hobbit, gnome, or maybe us. Delightful.

Flickr – Langham London

 Whoever made this whacky and wonderful GBH subscribes to the philosophy “more is more” and frankly, we’re pretty into it.

Header image courtesy of Cake Central

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