Portsmouth’s annual gingerbread house contest sweetens the holidays

Libby Giordano’s gingerbread house, "Candyland at Christmas" won the most whimsical award from the Portsmouth Historical Society. Photo courtesy of Portsmouth Historical Society.

By Katy Savage

December 22, 2023

In a display of creativity and community spirit, the 33rd annual gingerbread contest in Portsmouth has once again captivated the town. This year, over 100 people participated in the contest, spanning all ages and abilities.

“Everybody who is a part of the exhibition is technically an amateur baker,” said Sabrina Ion, a spokesperson for the event. “There’s nobody who owns a bake shop or is a pastry chef that entered.”

Ion spoke about the enduring popularity of the contest, noting, “We do get people who come back year after year. Those of us who work at the museum, we start to just recognize people by the style of their piping or the colors that they use.”

The gingerbread creations on display showcase an array of designs, with this year’s entries featuring an old-fashioned telephone booth and water wheel.  

The houses can be seen at the Portsmouth Historical Society through Dec. 30. For those unable to attend in person, a glimpse of some of the winning creations are shown below.

Libby Giordano’s “Candyland at Christmas” design was named the “most whimsical” and “best in show.”


Gia Giordano’s “Blue Christmas” won the teen category.


Rex Richards and Chloe Ingbretson-Dacey’s, “Union is Strength” won the “best use of materials” award.


The Little family, Natalie, Rachel, and Xander, won the “most creative materials” award and the “multigenerational” award” for their gingerbread house, “Water Wheel Castle with Textile Mill.”


  • Katy Savage

    Katy Savage is an award-winning reporter with more than 10 years of experience working in daily, weekly and digital news organizations as both an editor and reporter. Based in Enfield, Katy is a New England native and has a passion for telling stories about where she grew up. In her free time, she enjoys running and being outside as much as possible.


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