SALT LAKE CITY — It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
While Utahns across the state continue to put up their decorations, there's a house getting some extra attention in a Salt Lake City neighborhood — a real-life gingerbread house bringing some holiday magic to many.
Giant gumdrops, peppermint swirls, candy canes, a fudge striped cookie, and even a gingerbread man adorn this home in the heart of the Yalecrest area of Sugar House.
"It's all homemade, and it's all been kind of 'figure it out as you go,'" said Virginia Hoffman.
Hoffman says it was a few years ago when she realized her red brick, near century-old Tudor home could possibly be a real-life gingerbread house — with a few additions.
"How would I do that? I wonder if I could do that! How can we make this house into a gingerbread house?" Hoffman wondered.
The end result is hardy enough to withstand the wintry weather, but still looks like something good enough to eat.
"I told my family about it and luckily they didn't think I was crazy. And so we painted these gumballs in the kitchen over Thanksgiving of 2019, and then my daughter and son-in-law helped me figure out how to attach them to the house," Hoffman said.
And then, this interior designer by trade tackled one treat after another — a sweet and satisfying labor of love that she says consumed hundreds and hundreds of hours.
"If I'm stressed at work and can't sleep, a lot of times one of the things I would do is lay in my bed and think, 'OK, what will be the next good thing?' and it would just be a distraction," she said.
She had help from her husband — a professional artist — and even her grandchildren got in on the fun.
"It's a really fun project with kids and your family, and it's been a really fun project together," Hoffman said.
This year, they added a new item: vanilla wafers.
"We made that out of foam, insulation, and then my husband melted out the squares with a soldering iron, and I painted them and got the exact right colors to look like the cookies," Hoffman said.
That attention to detail continues to delight those who drive by, as well as thousands online who have liked and commented on a Reddit post by Hoffman's daughter, showing off the Christmas creation.
"I hope that if it can just put a smile on anyone's face, if it can just help a little bit, a little Christmas cheer, that's the whole goal. It will all be worth it," she said.