One of the best things about Christmas is the decorating, as long as the decorations don’t get too costly and too much trouble. One of the simplest and the most fun, especially for kids, is a gingerbread house. The storebought kits are the best place to start if you are like most of us that are running around like chickens with our heads cut off during the holidays and not in the mood to do the whole thing from scratch. Then with the basic house put together, comes the fun part. Here are some tips.
* Frosting. The kit usually comes with powdered frosting that you mix with water to make something akin to concrete with which you can stick on your decorations. An easier solution…and one that looks really nice, too…is to buy a can of white, pre-mixed frosting. Slather the white frosting on the roof, sides, base of your gingerbread house. The more the better. It looks like deep snow and allows you to stick the decorations everywhere. It may not hold quite as well as the concrete mix frosting, but it does fine for an amateur house that doesn’t have to be transported too far.
* Candy. Now the fun part. Collect your candy, etc. with which to decorate the house. Usually candy does come in the kit, but honestly, you need a lot more. A big bag of mixed hard candy is your basic buy. Add to that candy canes, gumdrops of all colors, vanilla wafers, waffle ice cream cones, licorice whips, and teddy grahams. Let your imagination go as you walk down the cookie and candy aisle at the store.
* Candy canes. Stuck into your “snow” either separately or in a group of three or even four, makes a nice accent at the side of your house. Or get the small variety and lay them in a pattern on the roof for a quirky shingled look.
* Vanilla wafers make good shingles for the roof as well. Or let several be steps to the front door, pushed down into the “snow”. Make a cobbled walk up to the front door with more wafers.
* Gum drops make great boxwood bushes around the base of the house, or lining the walkway. Flatten out a few gumdrops and cut them into rectangles for frosted windows.
* Hard candy. Layer upon layer of hard candy set in the “snow” up the walls make it truly a candy house. Use a large rectangular candy for a chimney.
* Licorice whips. These make great outlines for your door or your frosted gumdrop windows. You can also split the whip into a thinner size, use a tad of hot glue on the gumdrop and secure the whip to divide the window into panes.
* Ice cream cones. Great for a church steeple if your house wants to be a chapel instead. Make sure you coat it with icing to make snow. They can also be tall fir trees in the front yard. Turn them into outdoor Christmas trees with tiny Pez balls pushed into the “snow”.
* Teddy grahams. Let your gingerbread house be a home for the three bears, or have one left by Santa on the front porch. They can be standing around your outdoor Christmas tree, or wherever.
As you finish decorating one gingerbread house, you may find that your imagination has fired up and you want to do another. Keep going! Christmas is the time for trying new and whimsical crafts. This is one that the whole family can do together.
You may end up with not only a gingerbread house, but a whole gingerbread village!