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Daughter carries on family tradition of building gingerbread houses for Christmas in Canberra

Lady with long brown hair ices a gingerbread house at a kitchen table.
Wendy Dansby stands behind her gingerbread houses.

ABC: Sophie Kesteven

Sitting behind an array of vibrant edible houses, Wendy Dansby recalled the history behind the creation of her late father's traditional gingerbread recipe.

It was almost 50 years ago in Nuremburg, Germany, where Ben Dansby acquired a fascination for miniature houses dripping in icing sugar and sweets.

The fascination led to the creation of his own unique recipe, which is now 48 years old and flourished into a family-run business in Canberra.

Man with a Christmas hat on and a white beard.
Ben Dansby was also Santa Claus at the local shopping centres in Canberra.

Supplied: Wendy Dansby

Despite his passing almost five years ago, Ms Dansby has continued to make hundreds of gingerbread houses alongside her siblings during the festive season each year.

"The smell hits you — but you know that dad's still there.

"When he did pass away we decided not to stop [making gingerbread houses] ... and people are so happy we didn't stop; they come up to us every year at the markets and say, 'we're so happy you're still here and doing it!'."

Ms Dansby said her father was a chef by trade, and was also in the US Army.

That was how he came to be living in Nuremburg in 1968.

"While he was posted [there] he saw these beautiful gingerbread houses, and being dad, and being a chef he decided, 'Hey, I'm going to try and do this myself'," Ms Dansby said.

Colourful gingerbread houses dripping in lollies and icing sugar
Ms Dansby begins baking the gingerbread houses, which are dripping in icing sugar and lollies, towards the end of October each year.

ABC: Sophie Kesteven

The steps to making a gingerbread house

According to Ms Dansby, it can take up to three full days to make one of their traditional gingerbread house.

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"You bake the gingerbread, cut it, then let it dry," she said.

"Then the next day you stick it together and you let the icing sugar set."

On the third day, with the mountain of sweets she has at bay, Ms Dansby intricately decorates the roof and walls.

She said each house was not complete without a little jelly baby at the front door.

Finally, she wraps up the gingerbread house in cellophane and decorates it with a colourful bow.