Hillary Clinton listens to Chef Roland Mesnier explain how a gingerbread house was made in the State Dining Room of the White House on Dec. 4, 2000. Reuters

The holidays aren't in full swing until you have a pine tree in view, a glass of eggnog in hand and a Christmas cookie in your mouth. But don't settle for store-bought gingerbread. Make your own. That way, you can decorate — and, of course, taste-test the cookie dough — to your heart's content.

Per the Pioneer Woman's recipe, combine six cups of flour, one teaspoon of salt, and one half teaspoon each of allspice, ground cloves, ground ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. In another bowl, use a beater to combine 3/4 cups of softened butter, 1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar and 1 cup of molasses. When combined, add two eggs and a tablespoon of maple extract. Then slowly add in the flour.

When it's finished, cool the dough in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Take it out, and while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees, roll it out. Make shapes with cookie cutters and bake for up to 15 minutes, taking them out earlier if you like them chewier. Let cool.

Here comes the fun part: decorating.

In a new bowl, beat together two pounds of powdered sugar, 1/3 cup of whole milk and the whites of two eggs. When it's well-mixed, transfer the icing to a zip bag and cut the corner. Then go crazy.

You can do a traditional gingerbread man with a white outline, eyes and a smile, or flip the cookie upside down to make a reindeer with chocolate chips and a red M&M nose. You can get creative and draw a sugar skeleton on your cookie or give your gingerbread men real fabric scarves. If you want to show you're hip, you could turn your cookies into "Star Wars" storm troopers, superheroes or Walter White and Jesse Pinkman from "Breaking Bad."

Don't forget to serve with a glass of milk.