Tomato Girl Walked so Gingerbread Girl Could Run

Nostalgia, meet the gingerbread man

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image by McKenzie Cordell

As we bid a fond farewell to the sun-drenched reign of Tomato Girl summer, it’s no surprise that another food-inspired aesthetic is taking over this winter: Gingerbread Girl. Picture every element of cozy, holiday warmth that filled your soul as a child.  A crackling fireplace and Grandma’s warm patchwork quilt. Delicious hot cocoa in handmade Santa mugs. Bright white snowflakes against gingham window curtains. That's the ambiance gingerbread girl promises to deliver—and it’s feeding every inch of our nostalgia preoccupation on an antique platter. 

According to Etsy’s annual holiday trend report, gingerbread girl is “all about returning to a wholesome, rustic lifestyle that celebrates simplicity, tradition and, of course, all things baking.” Much like its summery predecessor, gingerbread girl offers a dreamy escape into the nostalgic world. While tomato girl celebrated vibrant, carefree memories of picnics and sun-soaked beach days, gingerbread girl is a heartwarming return to the simple life—one that celebrates the joy of baking and rustic living.

“We saw a spike in searches for vintage pieces and kitchen essentials, primarily baking items, that really sparked the idea for this trend. When we named it ‘Gingerbread Girl,’ we thought about how it’s a baking-focused traditional aesthetic, so we like to think of it as cottagecore’s sister,” Etsy’s trend expert, Dayna Isom Johnson, tells us. To that end, she says the trend marries elements from cottagecore and tomato girl with a warm holiday twist. “You’ll find a ton of earth tones and vintage accents from cottagecore and all things gingham from tomato girl. For us, gingerbread girl is a more rustic version of the two.” 

Long story short? It’s about warm, earthy tones, traditional textures and decor plucked from the wild. It personifies the simple pleasures of yesteryear, where per the report, searches are up for wreath sashes (which have more than doubled), ruffled bedding (35 percent), gingham bedding (34 percent), personalized recipe boxes (28 percent) and holiday cookie cutters (24 percent). 

So below, a breakdown of how to bring gingerbread girl into your home this winter. 

1. Gingham Patterns

English country kitchens are also trending right now—and gingham is a countryside staple that’s tricking over to gingerbread girl. If you want to go big, try hanging a few gingham valences from your kitchen windows or cabinets. Or, if you’re not looking to commit to the pattern, you can pick up a few gingham linens, like a blanket, tablecloth or napkin set for the same effect. 

2. Vintage-Inspired Dishes

If you’re entertaining this season, you’re going to need to pick up a few antique-inspired plates (or raid Grandma’s attic). Gingerbread girl is all about a return to the past—and that means a resurgence of scalloped edges, floral motifs and glazed cream finishes. This can span from an entire plate set to a simple pie dish, so long as it looks like it was plucked from your neighbor’s yard sale. 

3. Ruffled Linens

ICYMI, ruffles are trendy again—and they don’t have to be hoity-toity (unless that’s the vibe you’re going for). To keep the look fresh, try working in scalloped edges with clean lines in your pillowcases or duvet. Otherwise, you can stay traditional with layered edges on your placemats or throw pillows for a pop of texture 

4. Handmade and Foraged Decor

Naturally, you can’t have “gingerbread girl” without the gingerbread. Yet, aside from actually whipping up a few gingerbread men, you want to look for earthy accents that are handmade or personalized with authenticity. This can be anything from a hand-beaded placemat or felt gingerbread ornaments to physical branches from the trees outside—just be sure it’s unique with character (aka avoid cheugy farmhouse signs at all costs).

5. Colorful Kitchen Appliances

Finally, we have “candycore,” which is another trend on the horizon this season. According to the report, “In a year dominated by all things pink, we’re seeing this wildly sought-after color transition into the holiday period, [inspired] by a sugary fantasy world filled with lollipops, candy canes, and gumdrops.” So, to work this into gingerbread girl, vendors are releasing small kitchen appliances in a number of sugary hues. We’re talking everything from candycane red KitchenAid mixers to bubblegum pink Nutribullets

Forget Tomato Girl Summer, I'm in My Shrek Era Now

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Associate Editor

Sydney Meister is PureWow's Associate Editor, covering everything from dating trends and relationship advice (here's looking at you, 'soonicorns') to interior design, beauty...

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