Yesterday I made a gingerbread house with the homeless kids. This is an annual tradition for me, going back 4 years. It is an activity they enjoy. I am aware of the extreme irony… and so are the kids: we are building a fake house with homeless people, and we are using food to make it for people who are sometimes quite hungry. However, they do love the activity.
This year, we talked about what Christmas means to some of them as we worked. One girl had very fond memories of family. One young man expressed concern that Christmas is simply a commercial holiday designed to increase the buying habits before end of year.
As we worked on the house, I asked them to compose a story. The story below expresses some of their home, ideas, and beliefs. It was a group effort over the course of the couple of hours it took to make our house. It is a very warm wish for the future from people who have a hard time imagining the future at all. Enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas!
A Gingerbread House Story
Once upon a time there was this homeless guy who won the lottery. He did something first for himself, but he eventually bought a piece of land in Alaska. He built a big two-story house with a garage on the bottom for parking bicycles. He decided to bring street people into his house because he never forgot where he came from. Since they were homeless, some of them felt more comfortable living outside. This is why the man decided to have a tent city behind his house for people to live in.
The people living in the tents discovered that they needed a table. They wanted a huge table that everyone could sit around and that could keep everything off the ground. They had great times around the table. Everyone shared whatever they had, and there was plenty for everyone.
One day the police decided they didn’t like the tent city, with all the homeless people living on man’s property. They raided the tent city and gave everyone tickets for camping outside. The man was heartbroken. He hired a lawyer to defend everyone who got a ticket and to make sure the police would understand that he had invited all the people to live on his property.
Some of the people living in the tents grew up and moved away. Some fell in love and started families. Some stayed with the man and helped the man and take care of other homeless people.