Dear Gossips,

Quick promo off the top before we get into it...

Tonight on CTV, right after the X Factor finale, I’m one of the panelists on Stars & Scandals 2012 hosted by Ben Mulroney, counting down the top 10 entertainment stories of the year...and, well, at times it gets kind of tense between all of us. If you’re watching, I’ll be live-chatting during the hour-long show. Check me on Twitter here for details.

And now... 

You are the People. For the second year in a row, the People must vote... on the Gingerbread Houses! Click here if you missed the 2011 edition -- it’s one of my favourite Christmas traditions and also, these people are kind of crazy how creative they are...and aggressive...about this particular annual event.

It’s a live competition at my friend Lorella’s. Who can make the best gingerbread house? Here are the rules:

Everyone starts with (at least) one kit using the “Create a Treat” brand. Everything but the board must be edible. It doesn’t have to taste good (see: raw pasta and rosemary branches) but it has to be a food product. Anything that looks like paper is edible rice paper. Anything that looks like writing is done with Wilton Food Writer markers. Last year some of you were like -- hey are those toothpicks? NO. Toothpicks are not allowed unless you feed them to people at your house and if that’s the case, I’m not coming over.

It all takes place on one afternoon in the presence of the other participants. The esteemed Judge took her time coming to her final determination but will it be the same as yours? See below for the descriptions and photos and then email your decision to [email protected] with "Gingerbread (and the number)" as the title.  Example: "Gingerbread 2".  Click on the date at the top or "Read Full Intro" from the home page to see all the photos.

1. He said that Christmas was a humbug! (Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present visit the home of Scrooge's nephew with a party in full swing.) Hand-painted almond slices are the stones on the walls of this house. Each window depicts a scene from the party, including the under-the-mistletoe kiss upstairs.  The roof is made of sheets of wafer, loaded down with frosting snow drifts.  Scrooge, in his night shirt and stocking cap, and the Ghost of Christmas Present, in his flowing green robe, are made of fondant. A candy stick and gumball lamp post is out front and all that creepy mist is cotton candy.

2. I'll Be Rome for Christmas (Christmas Colosseum) The Colosseum is made of cut up gingerbread from 2 kits, graham crackers and chocolate wafer cookies.  The "Roman Road" is made of a ton of black jelly beans, and the ubiquitous "SPQR" is made of alphabet pasta. The Cypress trees are fresh rosemary and they're planted in rice krispie square hills. The tiny nativity on the Colosseum floor is made of wafer and pretzels with a Shreddie manger and fondant people. The sandy floor of the Colosseum itself is brown sugar.

3: Every Who Down in Whoville (How the Grinch Stole Christmas) These tiny Whos (over 20 of them) have Mike & Ike bodies, tiny little spaghetti arms, and a peach Skittle for heads, with hand drawn singing faces.  The whimsical Whoville arch, with hand-piped lettering, is made of Rice Krispie squares (that were made from scratch by this contestant after the contest started) and dipped in pink chocolate.  The tall curved Christmas tree in the centre of the town square is made of several stacked mini ice cream cones and green icing.

4. Not a Creature was Stirring (‘Twas the Night Before Christmas) This sprawling ranch style house with a white chocolate pretzel fence has its walls cut out so that the interior can be seen. There's a family room with a roaring melted candy fire on pretzel logs in a sugar cube fireplace, and a fully decorated Christmas tree with a gummy/teddy bear and sugar cube presents underneath.  On the other side, in the bedroom, the "children are nestled all snug in their bed".  This house goes the religious extra mile in that the roof is tiled with unconsecrated hosts - the kind you can (for some unknown reason) buy as a snack at corner stores in Quebec.  It's hard to see in the photos, but the attention to detail in this one is awesome, and included marzipan pillows, and hand drawn wallpaper.

5. There's No Place Like Home...For the Holidays (The Wizard of Oz) The tornado is made of a lot of sugar cubes cemented together with royal icing and covered in cotton candy. Dorothy's dilapidated farm house, looking a little worse for wear with some shingles (Shreddies) missing and broken wafer shutters (on pretzel windows) is set on an angle and supported by more sugar cubes.  The Wicked Witch’s scrawny legs are made of slices of licorice of all sorts and her "ruby slippers" are made from a red gum drop split in half.  The jelly bean yellow brick road leads through a snowy poppy (those are Nerds) field to the candy stick and gum drop Emerald City.

What do you think? Which is the best? Let me know!

Yours in gossip,