Well it took me a bit to find, but the best explanation I could find is related to German history. According to some histories, families in some German villages would make gingerbread versions of their homes and put them out in public to make a mock little replica town. Sorry, it's not the most thorough explanation.
I made one of my own this afternoon. My disclaimer is that it's a far cry from those really fancy ones you see in pictures.
|I really liked how these turned out, minus the blue icing that you see there|
|I went for the "yellowbrick road" -esque pathway because I did something similar last year and my two little cousins really liked it.|