Our family loves to decorate gingerbreads houses at Christmas time. Its really all about having fun, creating and being together!
Our time to gather with family is usually condensed to just a couple of days, since we have family that travels in from out of town. Besides just sitting around visiting, we love to have a project to work on together. Several years ago, we started decorating cookies and then graduated to gingerbread houses.
Now mind you, we are doing this on the actual holiday. I think most people would probably opt to do this earlier, to be able to enjoy the gingerbread houses as part of their holiday decor. But for us, it’s all about the journey. And we throughly enjoy the process. We keep our eye out all year long for cool decorating items. We search Pinterest for inspiration. Remember when HGTV would have a special on the National Gingerbread House Competition in Asheville, NC every year. That was so fun to watch, someday we’ll get there to see all the amazing houses.
My niece, Haley, is the gingerbread house instigator. She keeps us on track by baking the gingerbread ahead of time. She has a mold similar to this to bake the house. It includes the house front, back, 2 sides and 2 roof pieces.
We always decorate the roof and walls before we put it together. That also allows the decorated sides to dry some before we put them in a vertical position. To assemble we use copious amounts of royal icing. It doesn’t take long for the royal icing to set up enough to hold things together and once completely dry it’s like concrete!! Haha!
Here’s what we use for our gingerbread houses.
- Gingerbread baked in molds to create walls, door and roof. Here’s is a good recipe!
- Gingerbread house molds, we use one similar to this (This is not a sponsored post, just trying to share resources.)
- Royal icing – we use meringue powder, powdered sugar and water to make it. Instructions are on the meringue powder container
- food coloring
- piping bags and tips
- assorted cookie cutters
For the actual decorations, we start with the basics like colored sugars, the more sparkly the better. Non-pareils, like tiny holly leaves and candy canes. It’s really fun to keep an eye out year round for things to use in decorating. Also we don’t eat our houses, so we can carry over the fun from year to year, thus we have quite a decorating stash.
Now it’s really fun to get creative and add in cereal, nuts, M&M’s, Twix Bars, pretzels, Twizzlers, sugar cones, Raisinets, Shredded Wheat and anything else that will create a magical house. Let your imagination be your guide. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
For our next attempt, we decided to step up the landscaping. We created trees from ice cream sugar cones, a pond with Raisinet rocks bordering it, and a firepit with Twizzlers.
Here’s our sweet little gingerbread village! Sister, my nieces and I just cranked the Christmas tunes, poured some wine and had a blast spending a holiday afternoon together!