Christmas Traditions: Decorating Gingerbread Houses

I big-ol-heart Christmas. The month of December is one of my favorite of the year. I love the food, the gift giving, the decor, and the traditions. (Of course I feel I should add- the bestest part of Christmas is Jesus!)

Christmas at our house brings with it lots of traditions. Some of them are from our childhoods (like decorating houses!) and some of them are new ones that we started as a family.

This year, since Greg was serving at the church all day Sunday, Asa and I decided to invite a friend and his mom to come decorate gingerbread houses with us.

In the past I’ve made gingerbread houses with my dad, but we have ALWAYS had trouble with the icing not holding the houses together, and the gingerbread not being thick enough. This year I was determined to make it work.

There were three VERY important things I learned this time around.

1. Roll the gingerbread to 1/8 in thickness ONTO the cookie sheet (more on this later) and cut again immediately after baking.

2. The cheapest shortening is the best for houses.

3. Plan to work in three phases over three days. Bake, assemble, decorate.

PS- using cardboard- or an old pizza box- to make your templates, makes it way easier on your fingers when you have to recut the cookies immediately out of the oven. Oh! and use a pizza cutter to cut instead of a knife. Trust me- you’ll thank me!

There were a heck of a lot more tips I learned, but better to just send you to the blog I found all my tips on!

First, go and read Paula’s experience (and some tips!) at the Frog Prince Paperie. Then read Nicole’s (from TikkiDo) guest post on how to make a gingerbread house. Seriously, her recipes for both the gingerbread and icing are hands down the BEST I have ever used for a house.

The only other tip I would add is if you assemble the night before (like we did), place your leftover icing (because her recipe makes a TON) in an airtight glass lock/tupperware/whatever you use to store leftovers and place it in the fridge overnight. Take it out (with the lid on!) and let it sit on the counter about 20 minutes. Royal icing dries out fast so you don’t want to uncover until you have all of your decorations out and ready to go.

What Christmas traditions do you have at your house?

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  • Catherine Holt

    Oh this looks like a fun tradition I am going to have to try with my daughter this year! Hopefully we both have the patience for it…she is only just turning 2! But it would be a lovely thing to do with her every year.

  • ShannonQualls

    We love it! It really is such a sweet time with our boys that we look forward to.