Big Lots

Oreo 'Chocolate Cookie House' Kits Defy North Pole Housing Covenants

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I'm going to pick up the pieces, and build an Oreo "chocolate cookie house," which is now available for order from Big Lots for what would be a very reasonable home owner's association annual fee — $10. When things go wrong (which, going by past experiences with gingerbread cookie house kits, they definitely will) we can knock it down.

You may be reeling from the news that a) now, early fall, it is time to purchase and assemble pre-fabricated confectionary houses with your children (who can't so much as use a set square, let alone responsibly construct something that will last through the advent), and that b) Oreo, lovable cookie company that has until now kept its crumb-flecked hands off the holiday season, is moving in on the Christmas market, but here we are.

Here.

We.

Are.

There are two ways to feel about this development. The first is rankling horror at the demotion of ginger from premier holiday spice and North Pole building material of choice (when else will Americans tolerate its bitey overtones, if not during December?) to an unnecessary and very much optional flavor story. The second is a thrilled excitement at the notion of allowing your child to spend 45 quite minutes building something you might later dunk in your morning coffee. Will they eat half the gum drops for gum drop lane? Yes, but you'll get to read Mother Jones for 20 glorious minutes without someone asking you to fetch a "cup without a lid."

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The kit includes "pre-baked chocolate cookie pieces, pre-made icing, OREO Cookies, OREO Mini Cookies, fruity gummies and candy jewels," per the product specifications, and I think we can all agree that $10 is a low low price for a house adorned in jewels, let alone a house located in enviable and strategic Artic Circle land (in 50 years, it will be a balmy place to own a bungalow).

What impresses me most about the serving suggestions available on the packing and press materials are the far-ranging utility of America's favorite cookie. Oreos are used here as snowmen, as a footpath, as Moroccan tile adornment over the door (sure). Oreos buttress the windows and sit erect along the ridgepole of the roof like a stegosaurus' scales. They are used as sporadic decorative roof shingles, because why not, if you're building a home of corn syrup?

Oreos make curiously good sense for the Christmas theme, with their cookies-and-cream alter-ego. It looks snowy and cozy, even though it shouldn't — and I say that as someone who slept for one full ski season as a 20-year-old on a Coleman's air mattress with an Oreo comforter and Oreo throw cushion as a pillow. I'm not even American! I have no loyalties to abide by here! But yes, your favorite cookie is OK, and might even make for a great holiday crafting activity.

I leave you with a warning: enjoy the house, but if you wish to have a roof over your head, whatever you do, don't eat the mortar.