One of my absolute favorite Christmas traditions is making a gingerbread house with the kids, so yesterday that’s what we did for our first Advent activity. We never made a gingerbread house when I was a kid and I always really, really wanted one so making these houses is just as much about me as it is about my kids, I have to admit. Now that Wyatt’s older and more opinionated, that can lead to some stylistic differences of opinion but we generally manage to work it out.
I had grave doubts about this gingerbread house working out this year. I always buy a kit and I’ve had pretty good success with them in the past, but when I made the icing yesterday it was really runny. Every time I tried to attach one piece to another the icing just kind of slid right down the gingerbread. I resorted to some hard core structural enhancements using books, a can of pumpkin and a jar of lemon curd and I finally managed to get it to stay upright long enough for the icing to turn to cement.
I got the house completely assembled and dried while the kids were at school and we started decorating as soon as we got home. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — what makes a good gingerbread house a great gingerbread house is a whole boatload of candy. I may have gone just a little overboard with the candy this year though. There was the candy that came in the kit, of course. Then I also bought an extra pack of gingerbread house candy. And then I also saw this great idea over on Parent Hacks to squirrel away some of the Halloween candy for the gingerbread house.
So when it was time to decorate, I pulled out this huge tray of candy and the kids’ eyes got as big as saucers! I had barely put it down on the table before they started grabbing hand fulls and shoving it in their mouths. I don’t know how I didn’t see that coming! After a bit of a scuffle I managed to calm everyone down and we got to decorating. And here’s what we did this year:
Our house front was a bit tame compared to years past. I love the candy lights under the eaves though, and I particularly love the peppermint path (Wyatt’s suggestion) and the gum drop fence (my suggestion).
Here’s the left side of the house. Wyatt wanted a skylight on the roof and nothing else (“There’s nothing wrong with the brown part showing, Mom!”) but I lobbied hard for the border of stars and eventually got my way. You can see how the peppermint windows slid down the house because of the runny frosting.
Here’s the back. I like that gumdrop wreath thingy a lot.
Here’s the right side of the house. Wyatt wanted another window on the roof and he even drew me a picture to show the size and shape of it so I wouldn’t screw it up.
And here’s a view looking down, as though it was taken from a tiny gingerbread helicopter.
Augie has been enjoying counting the candies on the house this morning, saying “One! Two! One! Two!” over and over. He has also been enjoying prying pieces of candy off and stuffing them in his mouth when I’m not looking!
Are you making a gingerbread house this year? Do you use a kit or make it yourself?