Gingerbread, it’s tradition!! Day 11

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Basically, ever since I was born… we have had a family tradition to decorate gingerbread houses.   My lovely mother would make about 14 gingerbread houses from scratch every year.  I think that practically makes her a saint.. have you tried it? I have, and just making 4 or 5, was HARD work!

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(My 12 year old self decorating gingerbread houses!)

 Since I’ve had little babies (crap, they aren’t really babies anymore…they grow TO fast), I’ve been a little more relaxed about homemade vrs store bought.  For example, last year we bought some at Ikea for about 2 bucks a pop. Worth every penny!  

This year I decided to buy them again.  Only I bought a little Wilton mini gingerbread town kits from wally world (2 of them).  It is amazing how much easier it is… next year, I think it would be fun to make them again from scratch, but I will tell you how I feel then!

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I’ve learned a few things, since I’ve become in charge of continuing on this gingerbread tradition in my own family. 

What I’ve Learned!

Making  stained glass candy windows is the coolest. thing. ever!

Building on heavy duty paper platters (larger than plates) are fast and cute!

Buying kits, can be a life saver!

You don’t need too much candy… ( I always buy too much!)

Giving them away is more fun than eating them! (I have never eaten a gingerbread house… They are for display to me, so I don’t get that!)

Let the kids eat some candy when you make them, it is much better then yelling at them the whole time, and it makes it fun for everyone.

 Gingerbread houses free template

Non candy alternatives:

Use Clean Cardboard for building your houses, just apply frosting and have a hay day!   just to display… (no baking, no eating, good holiday fun without the calories!)

Cereal: Wheat, Corn or Rice Chex make great roofs

Shredded Wheat (also great roofs)

Froot Loops are great for super little ones to decorate (and eat) as they decorate instead of TONS of candy!

Graham Crackers for building!

Pretzel sticks great for building!

(I really wanna hear your ideas!!! Leave me a comment with other less sugar ideas!!)

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Cool effects:

Sprinkle with powdered sugar

Buy some Cake Mate, Writing Icing for easy added color in ready made squeezable tubes

 Use hard candy like jolly ranchers, to make colorful stained glass windows.

Cut a hole in the center of the plate directly under your house, add a small light to illuminate the “stained glass windows”.

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Gingerbread House Recipe:

This recipe will make 4 large houses or 7-8 small houses.

1/2 c butter

1 cup crisco

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 c molasses

2 t baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1 1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp salt

4+ cups flour, (add more to knead and roll out dough)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger salt and 4 cups flour, mix with a whisk, and set asides.

Cream the butter, Crisco and sugar together.  Add the eggs and molasses, combine.  Now add the dry ingredients to the wet about a cup at a time till completely incorporated.  

On a clean counter surface, spread out about 1/2 cup flour, pour the dough onto the flour and knead in more flour until it is a good consistence for rolling.  Roll to a 1/4 inch thickness, and cut out the shapes.  Place with just a little room for each shape on the cookie sheet bake for 9 minutes, keep a close eye so they don’t burn, if you roll them out too thinly they can!)

After pulling them out, it is helpful to trim any skiwampus edges that some times occur when baking.   I just QUICKLY and carefully stick the template on the cookie and cut off any strange edges.  DON”T burn yourself!  Be careful!  This step will help your houses come together clean and straight!

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Gingerbread House Free Templates:

I had Justin draw up some free templates!  He is so awesome!  These are not to be used for sale, please do not repost these anywhere.

large cottage pattern top cabin pattern

a-frame pattern


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What great ideas to you have to share?

Be sure to have fun with it!   Creating with candy is so fun!!!

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Etta’s House

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Lydia’s House

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Daddy’s House

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Mommy’s House!


 Remember to check out the other great days!!   

Day 1: Santa and Reindeer Paper Garland Day 2:  Pipe Cleaner Ornaments, Kid Friendly
Day 3: Sugar Free Pumpkin Steamers Day 4:  Fudge Brownie S’mores Pie
Day 5: Joy String Art Tutorial Day 6; Snowman Wreath Tutorial
Day 7: Kids Advent Calendar  Day 8; Free Christmas Stocking Pattern and Tutorial 
Day 9: Faux Fur Tree Skirt Day 10: Kids Christmas Art Gallery

  And these other great projects from my lovely friends:

Thistlewood Farm


 Funky Junk Interiors 

Funky Junk

Inspired by Charm

inspired by charm

Songbird Blog


Shanty 2 Chic

Shanty 2 chic

Christmas Art Gallery

Merry and bright Art-7

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  1. What a lovely tradition. I believe it is one of the nicest ways to get the whole family together and keep the kids entertained while teaching them how important is to respect the holidays and the family traditions. God Bless!

  2. We build ours on silver trays (mostly the cheep fake ones from dollar tree), they make any house look fancy smancy and they are easier to move. We’ve had a wonderful time making them this year.

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