I've never built a gingerbread house. It's not something people did in Hungary. Nowadays many people do, just as they celebrate Halloween and mix Saint Nicholas into Christmas somehow.
The first few times I encountered ginger bread, I did not regret missing out on this holiday tradition at all. The cookies were rock hard and dry. Finally, I came across this recipe in my high school (traded it with a professor for a traditional Hungarian recipe). These gingerbread cookies are deliciously soft, even two days after baking. There were none left on the third day, so I do not have any datapoints to plot there :-)
0.5 cup lard
0.5 cup sugar
1 small egg
0.5 cup molasses
0.5 tbsp vinegar
2.5 cups sifted flour
0.75 tsp baking soda
0.25 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
0.5 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tsp cloves
Cream lard and sugar. Beat in the egg, molasses and vinegar.
Sift together the dry ingredients and blend into creamed mixture.
Chill for three hours covered tightly in foil.
Roll dough on a lightly floured surface until 0.25-cm-thick. Cut into shapes and bake on parchment paper in a 375F preheated oven for 5-6 minutes. Do not overcook.
Cool on sheet pan briefly before transferring to a cookie rack. Makes about 30 pieces.