Clinical Center News
February / March 2024

NIH Clinical Center's Gingerbread House Decorating Contest

NIH Clinical Center's Gingerbread Extravaganza Delights with Creativity and Holiday Cheer

How much time would it take for you to build a gingerbread house?

For Cohort 10 of the NIH Clinical Research Nursing Residency Program took days, if not weeks, and use of key nursing skills: teamwork, delegation, communication, and problem-solving.

According to the residency program director Melanie Mudd, MS, RN, NPD-BC, their gingerbread house theme of "Rising Up," was a reflection of their based on their rise from novice to competent clinical research nurses, as well as a nod to the NIH Clinical Center's rising Journey to Magnet-designation." They spent hours creating the Up house, view their step-by-step video.

Melanie Mudd and team
But also... who doesn't love some Disney magic during the holidays!" –Melanie Mudd (first from left) said.

Nearly 50 gingerbread houses were produced by Clinical Center and NIH staff for the hospital's annual Gingerbread House Decorating Contest.

Now in its 19th year, the contest was first established in 2004 by the Clinical Center Nursing Department. The aim was to promote teamwork, holiday spirit, and some friendly competition between nursing units on the eve of the hospital's expansion to the new CRC building.

Following its successful debut, in 2005 the contest was opened to all Clinical Center staff. Today, teams from across the hospital and NIH campus showcase their creativity, teamwork, and holiday spirit—not to mention baking, decorating, architectural and engineering talent. Each team began with the same gingerbread house kit. But as the creations on display demonstrated, Clinical Center and NIH staff think "outside of the box" even when it comes to baking.

The contest was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Foundation for the NIH who donated the gingerbread house kits, the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences and the Recreation and Welfare Association who provided the gift cards for the winning teams.

"I really enjoyed looking at the gingerbread house models; they really lifted my spirits. Christmas is my least favorite time of the year. I could not pick a favorite one, they are all so clever and beautifully designed!" - said one voter.

All votes were collected electronically for the first time in the contest's history.

Organizers received numerous comments like "Spectacular!!!", "Amazing work", "Very creative", "Beyond beautiful", and "DORA the explorer".

Dr. James Gilman, Clinical Center CEO announced the winners in the Clinical Center atrium on December 15.

There were a total of 2162 ballots cast and this year's winners included:

1st place gingerbread house winner
1st place - 532 votes; House 40 - Dora the Explorer, by 3NE, Hematology/Oncology/Transplant
2nd place gingerbread house winner
2nd place – 283 votes; House 13 - Salute to Retro Gaming by 7SE Adult Behavioral Health
3rd place gingerbread house winner
3rd place - 186 votes; House 50 - Little Mermaid by 3SE Day Hospital

Inaugural "Kids' Choice" category winners:

1st place Inaugural Kids' Choice category gingerbread house winner
The 1st place; House 28 - Tiki Bar by Pediatrics Nursing
2nd place Inaugural Kids' Choice category gingerbread house winner
The 2nd place; House 21 - Underwater Wonderland by Pulmonary Branch, NHLBI
3rd place Inaugural Kids' Choice category gingerbread house winner
The 3rd place; House 27 - Mario Creating DNA by OCD, UDP, and Gene Rx Teams, Glycosphingolipid Disorders Unit, NHGRI

"Hats off to everyone who joined the gingerbread fun! Your fantastic gingerbread houses didn't just make us feel warm and fuzzy inside; they were like a big, cozy hug for our hearts" - said Dr. Gilman during the awards ceremony.

"Your creative efforts have brought a great deal of happiness and holiday spirit to the patients, visitors, and staff of the Clinical Center" - Dr. Gilman concluded.

Discover all the houses on Facebook.

- Maria Maslennikov

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