Gingerbread daleks are not just biscuits (or cookies if you are American). “Gingerbread daleks” has become a shorthand for me that conveys a) how ridiculously domestic I get in December, with the crafting and the cookie baking and the menu planning and the (gasp) cleaning; and b) the way that Doctor Who and Christmas have become interwoven over the last few years – in our house in particular.
It all started with a cookie cutter that my honey made for me by bending a teddy bear out of shape until it resembled a dalek. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving! I can of course make dalek cookies at any time of year, but once you get a chance to make gingerbread daleks at Christmas, believe me, you never go back.
It was shortbread daleks for a few years, thanks to my daughters’ avowed hatred of gingerbread (sob!) but this year I put my foot down and made both – and having forced them both at Dalek sucker point to try it for the first time in years, they both conceded that actually, gingerbread tastes good. DAMN STRAIGHT IT DOES.
My friend Isabel and her boys are just as Christmas-is-Doctor-Who obsessed as we are, perhaps more. They always decorate their radio-controlled K9 with tinsel. For years she has been making holiday t-shirts for all the kids, using homemade t-shirt printing techniques and Doctor Who fan art. Then, I found an official Dalek cookie mould second hand and gave it to her as a Christmas present – GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING! A couple of years ago she made a double batch of dried bread dough Daleks for the Christmas tree and gave us half.
We have five kids between us and none of them remember a time when there wasn’t a Doctor Who Christmas special to look forward to.
Two years ago was perhaps the pinnacle of a Doctor Who Christmas, largely because of the handmade toys that my Mum made for the girls. This year might top it, though.
Along with my dalek cookie cutter, thanks to a combination of Etsy and genuine BBC products (finally, bakeware!) I now have a sifting set with a bunch of different monsters & Doctor Who icons, a TARDIS cookie stamp, and a large K9 cookie cutter. I am completely in love with cookie stamps, as they are a zillion times easier & faster to make themed cookies than the constant round of rolling & cutting that is usual with cutters. I’m especially fond of the Weeping Angel shortbreads (made by pressing the sifting silhouette against the dough). The K9 cutter isn’t great for biscuits but provided a great template for a new felt decoration for the tree.
It’s not just Doctor Who, of course. Our tree is a testament to many of our pop culture obsessions, and our interests that wouldn’t necessarily be considered “Christmassy” – we have soccer balls, robots, patchwork, Australian native animals, crystal dragonflies, and a fabric reproduction of Livia Drusilla’s ‘Salus Augusta’ coin which I added to the mix in the year I finally finished my PhD thesis. The girls make new decorations every year, usually at school or daycare, and add to the mix. I also have decorations saved from when I was little and my mother took me to the Christmas hall at Harrods in London – including a little green felt Harrods delivery man.
This year, Raeli turned a tiny kitten cookie cutter upside down and made Yodas.
Holiday traditions are what you make of them, and my favourite thing about our family Christmas is that we let new things in every year, while repeating old favourites.
The gingerbread daleks, though, are here to stay. And I really hope they are one of the fond things that my daughters remember of their childhood.