The sweet smells of frosting and candy filled the air at the Levittown Public Library on December 5th, as dozens of local families participated in the Library’s third annual Gingerbread House Making program. This popular event began in 2015 with an idea from Children’s Librarian Maryanne Linehan, as a fun family program. It would be relatively simple: Levittown School District residents would be able to register up to six family members or friends and collectively they would build and decorate their own gingerbread houses to bring home in time for the holidays. The enthusiasm expressed by the previous years’ attendants has led to bigger and better events last year and this year.
From the start, Children’s Department Head, Geraldine Farmer-Morrison, made it a goal to accommodate as many families as possible. This soon became a more daunting task, as the community’s interest was immediate and enthusiastic; registration began at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 28th and all allotted slots for both of the one-hour sessions were quickly filled, as well as the waiting lists. Thanks to a coordinated effort by several other Levittown Public Library departments, other rooms and spaces were opened up for the event, additional gingerbread houses were purchased, and even more families were accommodated. In total, 85 families attended the sessions, with a grand total of 265 gingerbread house builders, young and old.
Efforts were made to turn this into a fun, festive, and hassle-free experience for all participants. The addition of teen volunteers, beginning with last year’s event, has been a huge help for all involved. During the inaugural Gingerbread House Making program, groups with only one adult and more than one child often struggled with the process. The teen volunteers “were very helpful,” according to Mrs. Farmer-Morrison and made a huge difference in the overall success of the event. Levittown resident Kristin Giglietta attended the 6:00 p.m. session with her husband and two young children, and said that she appreciated the program’s family aspect, commenting, “We had a lot of fun and turned it into a ‘family fun night’.” Librarian Maryanne Linehan, who was instrumental in the planning and organization of the program, was gratified with the results, calling it “a great holiday program that brings families together to enjoy the library.” It was also rewarding to see families who were discovering the Levittown Public Library thanks to the Gingerbread House Making program; an attendee told Mrs. Linehan that she was new to the community and grateful that the library has such great programs.
The Levittown Public Library looks forward to replicating this success in the future and strives to create dynamic experiences like the Gingerbread House Making program, which bring families together and showcases the staff’s dedication to creating memorable events for the community to share in.