Gingerbread Houses: Making memories around the holidays

December 23, 2015, when my sister, Grace and I were eight years old, it was our fifth year of decorating gingerbread houses.
December 23, 2015, when my sister, Grace and I were eight years old, it was our fifth year of decorating gingerbread houses.
Sophia Jackman

Every year after Thanksgiving, my family and I have a tradition of making gingerbread houses. Year after year, they keep getting even more detailed. From the variety of candies we choose to the decorations we put in the yards, it’s one of the few holiday activities I look forward to every year. Before, we would decorate the houses themselves. However, as we got older, our gingerbread houses got more complex as we expanded to include yards with cardboard.

Whether you want to go all out by making your own gingerbread or simply buy the kits to save time and energy, the activity of making gingerbread houses is enjoyable. 

Decorating gingerbread houses is a great way for people to express their creativity while also having fun with their loved ones. In 2011, when my twin sister, Grace, and I were four years old, we decorated our first gingerbread houses with our grandma. Since then, our family has continued this tradition.

Gingerbread houses have become such a joyful experience for my sister and I that we’ve made decorating gingerbread houses an all-day activity. 

December 23, 2015, when my sister, Grace and I were eight years old, it was our fifth year of decorating gingerbread houses. (Sophia Jackman)

The gingerbread houses need to be assembled before decorating begins and thanks to our grandma, we learned a useful assembly tip. We would assemble each part with hot glue instead of icing in order to make it more sturdy. I recommend letting your house dry overnight or at least two to three hours before you start decorating. 

Over the years, I’ve come up with several of my favorite candies to use when decorating. For example, I have used M&M’s, Hershey’s Kisses, mini candy canes, a variety of sprinkles, Gumdrops, Lifesavers, Peeps, wafers, pretzels and Graham crackers. These candies can be added in several different areas when it comes to decorating a gingerbread house, such as the roofs, windows, fences and decorations around the house. 

In addition, cereals that work well, especially for the roofs of the houses, are Golden Grahams and Shredded Wheat. Depending on if you want a more traditional shingle-looking roof by using Golden Grahams or add a snowy effect with Shredded Wheat, both are staples.

Sophia Jackman

My family likes to place each candy in a separate bowl and line them across the table for easy access when we are ready to decorate. Normally, I’d start with the roof of the house and move down to the windows, doors and sides of the house. But hands down, my favorite part is decorating the yard. My family and I would always begin with a blank piece of cardboard and by the end of it, it would be filled with colorful candies. The final step of my family’s gingerbread house decorating process is adding coconut as snow in the yards of our houses. This helps make our houses look festive around the holidays. 

No matter if you want to go all out with your gingerbread houses by making it an all-day process, baking your own gingerbread, or using the gingerbread house kits, making gingerbread houses is a fun activity that allows you to bond with family and friends and lets you express your creativity. So, if you are looking for an exciting activity to do around the holidays, making gingerbread houses could be a perfect activity for you. 

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