Build a Gingerbread House This Weekend

Filed under: Holidays

Nothing says family time like a great craft or cooking project, and a gingerbread house is just that. It's the perfect Saturday activity to keep antsy kids busy while they wait for Santa to come.

Historically, it's not clear how the gingerbread house became a Christmas tradition. Crusaders brought ginger back to Europe, and originally it was a treat only for those who could afford it. But as travel and exploring became more widespread, soon everyone could afford this tasty spice. Hansel and Gretel may have popularized the idea of building a candy house.

However the gingerbread house came to be, it's now a tasty tradition that many families participate in during the holiday season. Here are some DIY houses that you can create yourself at home.

Simple

If you're like me (in that you don't like to make things complicated and/or you have small children), then simple is the way to go. And you can't get much simpler than graham crackers and icing. The supplies are inexpensive and the technique is so easy, even the youngest builders can participate.

Just because you choose simple building materials doesn't mean that you can't have a house with style, however. Check out the video from My Recipes below for step-by-step instructions on getting started.



Reusable


This adorable felt gingerbread house won't slowly disappear as Christmas approaches. Instead, you can pull it out to enjoy year after year. (Added bonus: You won't be tempted by all the extra candy in the house.) Since this requires cutting out several dozen small pieces and hand sewing, it's a more appropriate project for older children, who also may be less likely to complain about the missing candy.

From Scratch

Love to bake? Then it is possible to build a gingerbread house from scratch. But unlike the graham cracker cookies above, this is no simple task. The beauty of this project, though, is a beautiful, one of a kind gingerbread house that's a true masterpiece.

Healthy

Every party needs a ... well .... you know how the saying goes. But seriously, some parents don't want to give up on good nutrition, even for the holidays. But that doesn't mean kids have to miss out on gingerbread fun. Try building a healthier gingerbread house. Substitute peanut butter for icing, then decorate with dried fruit, nuts, raisins, granola, or other healthier alternatives.

Do you build a gingerbread house every year? Share some of your favorite designs or recipes with us!

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.