Flossmoor woman builds gingerbread 'village'

December 27, 2012 (FLOSSMOOR, Ill.)

Just walking into Janet Gustafson's home puts you into the holiday spirit, featuring hundreds of tiny figurines, trains, and Christmas trees. The village is illuminated with lights and music plays from all around.

Visitors come from all over to see it; the Vaughns came from Connecticut.

"It's unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable," said visitor Matthew Vaughn.

Gustafson begins baking and building from scratch each June, and finishes on Halloween. 50 pounds of white royal frosting sets the winter scene.

Every year there is a different theme. This year, the display based on a computer game her grandson created and visitors can play.

Gustafson has been building gingerbread homes for 40 years. It all started when she and her late husband Kurt lived in Atlanta, and she got very homesick.

"I thought, OK, and i had young children, what am i going to do? I'm gonna build a gingerbread house i had not done it before but i thought, I can do this," said Gustafson.

Her home turned into a village, and she is constantly looking for new pieces to add to the homes. She never tires of the work, because for her, it is not work.

"It really isn't, and if you think about it, aren't you supposed to be doing brain games? Aren't you supposed to be taking classes to keep your creative juices flowing and your mind going? What better?" said Gustafson.

Gustafson does not charge people to come in, but she does ask for something in return.

"The admission is you have to do something nice for someone else, you have to push it forward," said Gustafson.

Gustafson will break down the gingerbread village January 6th, and she is booked solid with new visitors until then.

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