For most families, Christmas is more than a time to exchange gifts and gather for meals – it is a time to bond through festive activities and traditions that are fun and timeless, like movie marathons, tree decorating and yes… decorating the Gingerbread House!
Building the Gingerbread House is a fun, family friendly activity that requires the whole clan to complete. Often you need mom to bake the bread, dad to lay the “mortar” and everyone to help decorate by placing their favorite candy.
If it’s time to build your Gingerbread House, make sure you have our Ultimate Gingerbread Guide on hand to help you every step of the way!
Step 1: Make a Blueprint
The first step in building a Gingerbread House is planning out what you want your house to look like. If you bake the pieces yourself, you can make your house as big or small as you want. Perhaps you want to model it after your own home, or maybe a cute little cottage is all you need! After deciding on the layout, you will know what pieces to bake. A simple Google search will lead you to many house templates that will ensure your pieces are the correct size. On the other hand, if you’d rather cut right to the chase and get started building, there are many complete Gingerbread House kits you can buy that include all the materials you need, including the gingerbread walls, icing and candy. If you’re not sure where to start, there are many Gingerbread House kits, with choices ranging from the classic Gingerbread House kit to adorable Snoopy Mini Gingerbread Doghouse Kit.
Step 2: Start Building…
Once you’ve decided on a plan, it is time to get your house in order. If you chose to bake your pieces, wait until they are fully cool before beginning. When you start building, it’s best to use a piece of cardboard as a strong base to keep your house in place. If possible, use a piece of cardboard that is much bigger than your house to have space to serve as the “front lawn” – we’ll get to that later!
Lay a generous amount of icing along the ground where you want your walls to be to hold them in place. Once they are correctly set, you will need to let the icing dry before moving on to the next step to ensure your house doesn’t cave in. If your walls are not standing on their own, gently hold them upright and together until the icing dries. Once dry, repeat this process with the roof and let the icing dry before decorating. I know it’s tedious, but this will ensure your house remains strong as you put all of Santa’s decorations in place.
Step 3: Time to Decorate!
Once your house is built and standing on its own the real fun begins! This is where you have an opportunity to get creative while decorating your house. Make sure you have different colored icing in squeeze bottles and several different kinds of candy to make your house cute and creative. If you don’t have any squeeze bottles, you can place the icing in zip lock bags and cut a small hole in the tip. This will give control when decorating.
There are several different areas of the house to focus on when decorating, and I like to split them up between the different members of the family so that while everyone is working together, everyone also has their own space to take ownership of. The main areas are each side of the roof, the front of the house and the “lawn.”
The roof is prime decorating real estate on your gingerbread house, and a great place to decorate with larger candies like Peppermint Starlights and Candy Ribbons. You can cover the entire roof in colored icing and place candy wherever you wish or you can draw a design with icing to make roof tiles and place candy on the crosses where icing meets. To make “Christmas lights,” line just the outsides of the roof with white icing and place alternating red and green Gumdrops along the edges.
The front of the Gingerbread House is a little more difficult to decorate as it is vertical, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it interesting and creative. Red and green icing are great for decorating the windows and making a wreath on the front door, and if you want to use candy, smaller candies like M&M’s are ideal because they are more likely to stay in place and not fall due to weight. Peppermint Sticks look fantastic lining the walls, and personally I love to put a gingerbread man on the front door, as if he is walking outside!
Now, what I believe is the most under-rated part of decorating the Gingerbread House (though it is my personal favorite) is the front lawn. This is where you can truly get creative, and it also gives you a place to house your uneaten gingerbread men. Typically you would cover your lawn with white icing to serve as snow, but if you live in a warmer climate feel free to make it green for grass – guests will enjoy your humor! You can line your “property” with a Candy Cane fence, you can build a Peppermint Pattie pathway to the door and you can even place Snowman and Christmas Tree Peeps out and about for exponential cuteness.
When building a Gingerbread House, so long as your walls are standing, anything extra you do is sure to look festive and fabulous. Decorating a house is a fun family activity and the finished result is a great household decoration throughout the entire month of December. To make sure your house stands as long as possible, put it in the warmest, driest area of your home and let it sit overnight. This will keep it looking fresh throughout the entire holiday season! Happy building!
About the Author: Freelance writer, Jordyn Fisher, contributed this article on behalf of CandyCrate.com, your one stop shop for all of your gingerbread house needs this holiday season.