decorating

Making a Christmas Gingerbread house

Yes, it is July but why should that stop us making a gingerbread house?

Our completed Gingerbread House!

I actually have had this kit for a while as we just didn’t get time to try it before Christmas and it seemed like a good way to spend a cold Sunday afternoon with my children. I have to say that the icing was a little stiff and difficult to manipulate but I am assuming it is because the kit was sitting around for so long.

Although there has been some debate about whether the house can be eaten now or if it must wait until Christmas Day… Do you have a tradition about when to eat gingerbread houses?

Gingerbread house kit

I know you can make a house from scratch, and there are dough cutter sets in appropriate shapes, but we used a kit this time to keep it fun and simple – and to learn some techniques!

This kit had everything we needed except for a tray to work on and scissors to cut the bags open, so it is definitely quick and easy to get going on the house.

Inside and outside of the gingerbread house kit

The gingerbread house kit we used.

Decorating the house

Most of the decorating happens before putting the actual house together. This is much easier as the pieces can lie flat on a tray or board as you work – and are much easier for little fingers to access.

In some instances, the kids tried to mimic the instructions exactly, and then other bits they were more creative over (like adding a back door on a side panel).

COllage of images where children's hands are putting icing onto the gingerbread pieces

The kids loved decorating the house…

Constructing the gingerbread house

I did most of the work constructing the house as it takes a little coordination and patience to hold the pieces in place as the icing dries enough to hold them together. Having said that, only adding the roof was particularly tricky and it didn’t take very long to constructs our Christmas Gingerbread House 🙂

Collage os photos showing stages of the gingerbread house being put together

Constructing the house didn’t take long…

Once the house was standing, some additional lollies and candy canes were arranged as well.

The results…

We ended up with a cute Christmas house which the kids were very proud of. They also enjoyed the consumption of the house over time, too!

In the packet, the amount of icing and lollies provided looked pretty good. But I think there were too many lollies for the size of the house in the end. Once the candy canes and other large lollies were added, it seemed a bit overdone to my eye.

back wall of the decorated gingerbread house

The back wall was decorated simply.

Other gingerbread house ideas

If you like the look of a gingerbread house or want to make one without feeling you have to eat them all, here are some other gingerbread house ideas to try:

images of the completed Christmas gingerbread house

7 tips for a beautiful Christmas tree

Beautiful Christmas tree and lights in St Petersburg

An elegant Christmas tree in St Petersburg

Decorating a Christmas tree is a once-a-year activity that gives pleasure to many, and is worth spending a bit of time on.

I think there are two techniques or models for Christmas tree decorating – the throw on as much as possible model (often experienced when children are involved!) and the classy or stylish model. That is, some people just want colour and glitter while others want it looking a certain way.

Personally, I think both approaches look good and have a special place. However, today’s tips are for the more deliberate Christmas tree approach – although adding them to a more chaotic tree is good, too!

Creating a stylish Christmas tree

  1. put larger ornaments and thicker tinsel lower on the tree, leaving the top half for smaller and finer ornaments
  2. hang things towards the centre of the tree as well as on the outer edges – it gives more depth and interest (and gives you more hanging space overall!)
  3. hanging lights first makes it easier to hide the cords and get them evenly distributed. It’s just easier to do, too. Again, remember to put lights towards the centre of the tree as well as on the outside – twinkling lights behind the tinsel and decorations adds some magic
  4. work with one colour at a time when hanging ornaments to get them evenly distributed – for example, hang all the green balls then the red bells to spread red and green across the entire tree.
  5. no matter how stylish you want it to be, remember Christmas is about family, magic and memories so don’t hide away your treasured mementoes just because they are not your theme colour or style. Put one or two as a centrepiece or off to the side where you will see them when sitting in your favourite chair. As well as the sentimental value, they will make your tree unique and interesting – and could serve as a nice conversation starter, too
  6. stand back occasionally and look at the tree as you go – if you get each stage looking good, the whole will be balanced and effective
  7. avoid fragile ornaments on the bottom branches as they are likely to get knocked around when presents are put under the tree.

If you are serious about a colour theme for your tree, you can even choose wrapping paper so the pile of presents under the tree will match 🙂

So, how do you achieve a ‘perfect’ look for your Christmas tree?

Do you have other tips for decorating Christmas trees?

* Image courtesy of 123rf
Share your Christmas story
Instagram