{disco christmas} Saturday Night Fever, in Gingerbread

Every year a group of friends comes over and we make a crazy gingerbread “house” – usually more of a scene – to go along with the theme of our Christmas party. Last year I was too lazy to share photos and a description, so this year you get a twofer! We are making this year’s house tonight, so I thought I’d better share last year’s ASAP.

The party theme for 2014 was “Disco Christmas” so naturally we decided to recreate the iconic 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever in gingerbread form.

I have a special fondness for the movie for a couple of reasons. Although I was born in 1976, because I had older sisters I grew up with a super-sweet double record of the soundtrack and knew all the words to all of the songs. The front cover of the album had a picture of John Travolta on the dance floor, with an inset of the Bee Gees, and the inside revealed a montage of him on the dance floor in various poses. (I never actually saw the movie until I was an adult, which is a good thing, because it’s very dark and pretty racy.)

Then, when I lived in New York in the early 200s, I had a co-worker who hailed from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where the movie was set. He told me that the club where the movie was filmed–complete with light-up disco floor–was now called “Spectrum” and was still in business. This became a semi-ironic go-to place for me, because dancing on that floor was FREAKING AWESOME and since the club was in a random, warehouse-y part of Bay Ridge and only had a $5 cover charge on weekends, it was both cheap and uncrowded. One night I remember my friends and I having the whole floor to ourselves. Sadly, the club closed in 2005, the iconic floor was auctioned off, and the building was torn down for a new development. I feel so fortunate to have danced on that famous floor and have great memories of my early 20s that relate to it.

Anyway: back to the gingerbread. We wanted to do a pastiche of some of the scenes in the movie. There’s the Lenny’s Pizza where Tony gets a slice, which he eats in proper New Yorker style (folded vertically down the middle) as he struts down Bay Ridge Avenue. (Lenny’s Pizza is also a real place, and is still open today in case you would like to recreate that scene yourself someday.)

There’s the scene with the heart-to-heart conversation that Tony Manero and Stephanie have on the bench in the park, here made of Kit-Kats. Also Bay Ridge Avenue represented with a yellow cab.

The Verrazano Narrows Bridge, which hooks Bay Ridge to Staten Island, is also heavily featured in the movie, both as a backdrop in multiple scenes and the location of the climax of the movie, when Bobby falls to his death from the bridge’s cables.

There’s Bobby in the river.

And of course, a disco Santa in a white Travolta suit, on the famous floor of the 2001 Odyssey club where much of the action takes place.

What’s it made of? 

I am really strict about only allowing edible things in the gingerbread project- even as support. I also don’t like using fondant, marzipan, or other moldable things because I feel like it’s cheating. So it has to be candy or gingerbread only.


We always use this gingerbread recipe from C&H, which is always easy to work with, pliable, not too sticky, and smells great. For the icing glue, we mix egg whites and powdered sugar in a mixer with a whisk attachment until it’s the right consistency. (You can also use Royal Icing powder, also called Meringue Powder, that you just mix with water.) For ease of construction, we put the icing into Ziploc bags and cut a small hole in the corner to pipe the designs. The icing dries out very quickly so the bags also help it stay pliant.

To see all of the previous gingerbread projects, you can find pictures and descriptions here:

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