Gingerbread houses are about as Christmassy as you can get. Of course, despite what Pinterest would like us to believe, few of us will achieve Architectural Digest-worthy abodes; most of us will employ a child or six to decorate the place and it’ll end up looking more like Dr. Seuss’ weekend cabin, and that’s OK.
The fun of creating gingerbread houses is that there are no rules. A chocolate sprinkle roof? Sure. Jelly bean landscaping? Absolutely. It all makes sense at a gingerbread-house decorating party.
So put your guest list together and we’ll help you with the invites, menu, decorations and music. You just bring the gumdrops. If you’re short on decorating ideas—head over to our complete guide to all things gingerbread.
1 / 20Country Woman
Life on the farm is super sweet—when you live in this amazing gingerbread barn! Our cookie creation features animal treats, a pretzel stick fence and a silo made from shredded wheat.Go to Recipe Check out our complete guide to gingerbread for house-building tips, cookie decorating advice and more.
With a little effort, a basic A-frame gingerbread house kit becomes this snowy ski lodge. We used candy rocks for the exterior, rolled wafer cookies for exposed beams and a heaping helping of royal icing and coarse sugar for the snow-kissed rooftop. Learn how to build a gingerbread house here.
Who wouldn’t want to curl up in this cozy gingerbread cabin? A basic A-frame kit gets dressed up with shredded wheat cereal, pretzel rods and candy rocks. Our favorite embellishment is the mounted candy “antlers” on the front door, made from a chocolate disc and broken pretzel pieces.Taste of Home
This charming gingerbread cottage tastes as good as it looks, thanks to the subtle molasses flavor in this easy dough. —Linda Railey, Des Moines, IowaGo to Recipe
Gingerbread House with Chimney
Santa will be happy to land on the rooftop of this cute gingerbread house made from an A-frame kit. The impressive chimney made from graham crackers, icing and red chewy candy is just big enough for him to slide down.Taste of Home
Gingerbread Christmas Cottage
Have a magical afternoon with your family creating this sweet little cottage. It is a fun kid-made surprise to bring to Grandma’s house, too! —Blanche Comiskey, Franklin, WisconsinGo to RecipeTaste of Home
To put a simple spin on the traditional gingerbread houses, we used purchased chocolate graham crackers. Make the “houses” ahead as an edible centerpiece, or let little elves assemble their own during your Christmas party. —Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Christmas Village Houses
Bring some holiday magic to your home with these cute gingerbread creations. The edible establishments are so easy to assemble and decorate with candies that your little elves can join in the fun. Serve them as a sweet snack or use to decorate a buffet table. —Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Christmas Graham Houses
Bring some holiday magic to your home with these cute creations. They’re so easy to build and decorate with candies that your little elves can join in the fun. Serve them as a sweet snack or use to decorate.—Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to Recipe
Winter Wonderland Gingerbread Cottage
Constructing a gingerbread cottage will become a tradition for your family during the holiday season with this easy recipe and instructions.—Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to Recipe
‘Home Sweet Home’ Gingerbread Cottage
I love to see the end of a project, like this Christmas cottage—but my favorite part is the process. It’s fun to watch the gingerbread, icing and candy decorations come together creatively. —Johanna Rosson, Fort Hood, TexasGo to Recipe
Gingerbread Country Church
This gingerbread house is a fun and tasty Christmas craft the whole family will enjoy putting together! —Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Cape Cod Gingerbread Cottage
Complete your winter wonderland scene with a beautiful gingerbread house. You don’t have to be an expert baker—or architect—to create this cozy cottage. Just follow the plans to make holiday magic for all to enjoy. —Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to Recipe
The A-frame design on this pretty country chalet is easy enough for even first-timers to make. So gather the kids or grandkids and have a blast creating this fun holiday project. —Peggy Anderson, Haughton, LouisianaGo to Recipe
Making a gingerbread house is a favorite tradition for my family during the holidays. We look forward to it every year. —A. Ruth Witmer, Stevens, PennsylvaniaGo to Recipe
Gingerbread Ranch House
This colorful ranch house extends “Merry Christmas” wishes in true Southwest style. Constructed of sweet gingerbread, roofed in chewing gum tiles and decked with peppermint stick trims, icing and sprinkles, this adorable adobe “fixer-upper” comes with complete easy-to-follow directions. —Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Mini Gingerbread House
We show just one way to decorate this cute little gingerbread house. Prepare several batches of dough (one batch at a time) and decorate a number of houses in different ways to create a gingerbread village. —Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to Recipe
We came up with the plans for this Christmas gingerbread barn—then stocked it with farmyard friends. The country-as-can-be project will add a cheerful rustic touch to your holiday decor—and it’s so easy to assemble, you can start raising the roof right away! —Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Ellen’s Edible Gingerbread House
We adapted this pretty gingerbread house from Ellen Wages in Vancleave, Mississippi…and came up with this petite version. Unlike Ellen’s larger classroom house, it doesn’t need to be constructed around a cardboard shell. —Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Here’s a set of tasty house plans! You’re sure to have a delectable gingerbread house using my recipe and building tips. —Christa Currie, Milwaukie, OregonGo to Recipe
Spread the Word
How do you invite someone to your epic gingerbread house party? An e-vite like this “Party in the House” one would do, but so would these cute ones from Etsy, which you can either send as a digital invite or on printed card stock.
Want to make the invites really match the theme? Why not make invitation gingerbread cookies and print the date and time in frosting on top?
Plan a Warm-Your-Soul Menu
Think comfort food appetizers that make guests feel cozy and warm. Our suggestions: Start with Warm Spiced Nuts for a toasty snack with just a hint of spice. A Garlic-Parmesan Cheese Ball is always a hit—covered in crushed walnuts and served with your favorite crackers, it’ll go great alongside Mulled Grape Cider, an all-ages drink that will make your house smell wonderful.
With kiddos in mind, whip up these Festive Guacamole Appetizers shaped like Christmas trees, and some fun Chocolate-Dipped Phyllo Sticks. Serve them alongside Fluffy Hot Chocolate.
And let’s not forget dessert—keeping with the holiday spirit, these Holiday Cornflake Cookies shaped like little wreaths will put everyone in the merry decorating mood.
Create a Sweet Soundtrack
In order to get in the cookie house decorating mood, one requires the perfect playlist. A mix of classic holiday tunes—Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Run Rudolph Run (name that movie!)—and more updated tunes like Snowman by Sia, and Gwen Stefani’s take on Jingle Bells.
Assemble the Building Materials
To prep for the gingerbread houses, you can make sheets of gingerbread ahead of time and let guests cut them as desired to their preferred shape. (You never know, some may prefer a gable roof whereas others insist on a gambrel.)
Is your house more of a manger? Are your inhabitants wise men and an expectant mom? Then make sure to also grab these nativity scene cookie cutters to add the proper guests outside your house.
Here’s a starter list of supplies:
- Gingerbread house kits, or pre-baked gingerbread house components or graham crackers, so partiers can build them there
- Icing “glue”: Mix 4 Tbsp. water with 4¼ cups powdered sugar. Stir in cold water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until the consistency is like glue.
- Cereal like Frosted Mini Wheats and Golden Grahams
- Pretzel rods and sticks
- Shredded coconut
- Candies like gumdrops and jelly beans
- Rainbow candy belts
- Chocolate-covered sunflower seeds
- Cinnamon chewing gum
- Licorice whips
- Meringue cookies
- Waffle cones
- Assorted colors of frosting
…and the Landscaping Supplies
Don’t forget, snow families are excellent builders. To decorate your frosting yard with a few of these cuties, stack some extra-large white marshmallows on kebab sticks. Use a frosting pen to add eyes, a mouth and a nose, and either paint on frosting hands or use pretzel sticks to create some arms. Chocolate Santa Hats would top off these guys (or gals) nicely!
Care to get a bit more advanced with your decorating? These candy-coated river stones would make an excellent exterior for your abode. Beyond candy, consider coconut for snow and meringue swirls for snow piles, and wrap cookie sticks in strips of licorice or gum for lamp or fence posts.
Set up Decoration Stations
For easy cleanup, cover your tables with butcher paper. Then use muffin tins and tall glasses to hold a bevy of colorful decorating options—a variety of candies, sprinkles, pretzel rods, cereal and frosting tubes is a good start. Place one grouping of supplies for about every three seats.
Ensure a Safe Sendoff
When your gingerbread land is complete (and plenty of photos have been snapped!), it’s time to say goodbye. Guests will want to take their houses home—extra-tall cake boxes will do the trick. And since nobody will want to eat their creations, send home a gingerbread cookie or two.
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Gingerbread Men Cookies
No holiday treat platter would be complete without gingerbread man cookies! This is a tried-and-true recipe I’m happy to share with you. —Mitzi Sentiff, Annapolis, MarylandGo to Recipe
JoJo’s Ginger Cookies
It’s so much fun to decorate cookies with children’s help. We created gingery moose-shaped cookies to go with a book made especially for my niece’s third-grade class. The crispy golden brown cookies stole the show.—Jenet Cattar, Neptune Beach, FloridaGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Gingerbread Snow Globe
I make a big batch of these gingerbread cookies every Christmas to give to co-workers and family. For a festive decoration, arrange cutouts in a large clear jar to look like a snow globe. —Kelly Kirby, Mill Bay, British ColumbiaGo to Recipe
Cream Cheese Frosted Gingerbread Men
Every Christmas, my family would visit a display of the most amazing gingerbread houses. Of course, we’d get to munch on gingerbread cookies along the way! I created my recipe with fresh grated ginger and cream cheese icing—it’s the perfect mix of sweet and spicy. —Rebekah Jackson, San Jose, CaliforniaGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Jolly Ginger Reindeer Cookies
I made gingerbread cookies for years before realizing my gingerbread-man cutter becomes a reindeer when turned upside down. They’re super crispy and fun! —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, WisconsinGo to Recipe
Gingerbread Cutout Christmas Cookies
Turn your cookie platter into a winter wonderland. One classic gingerbread boy cookie cutter can make a big batch of Christmas characters. —Donna Sasser Hinds, Milwaukie, OregonGo to Recipe
Easy Chocolate Gingerbread Cutouts
I have many wonderful memories making these chocolaty cookies with my family during the Christmas season. —Debbie Rowe, Lexington, KentuckyGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Christmas Gingerbread Trifle
Trifle desserts make eye-catching centerpieces. I garnish mine using candy canes and red and green M&M’s. Think of the merry possibilities as a kid-friendly project. —Cheryl Tompkins, Kingsville, MissouriGo to Recipe
Swedish Gingerbread Cookies
Making Swedish pepparkakor—or gingerbread cookies—is a holiday tradition in our family. I entered these at the Iowa State Fair and took home a blue ribbon.—Kathleen Olesen, Des Moines, IAGo to Recipe
Gingerbread Ice Cream Sandwiches
When it comes to making an ice cream sandwich, not all gingerbread men are created equal. Some are too crispy; others too soft, but these thin yet sturdy boys hold up nice in the freezer and make for a whimsical make-ahead dessert. —Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to Recipe
These soft, chewy cookies are favorites of my grandchildren. They love helping me decorate them. —Joan Truax, Pittsboro, IndianaGo to Recipe
Gingerbread Cutout Cookies
Our two boys linger around the kitchen when these homemade gingerbread cookies are baking. I make this gingerbread cookie recipe throughout the year using a variety of cookie cutters. —Christy Thelan, Kellogg, IowaGo to Recipe
Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
My mother Esther created this recipe, and I’ve been making the cookies in her honor every Christmas since then. People can’t get enough of the molasses and chocolate flavor combination.—Karen Sue Garback-Pristera, Albany, New YorkGo to RecipeTaste of Home
These cookies were ideal for a winter get-together I hosted. I like to share these crunchy treats on the way home from cutting our fresh Christmas tree.—Shelly Rynearson, Oconomowoc, WisconsinGo to RecipeTaste of Home
These homemade gingerbread cookies are inspired by the antics in the Gingerbread Baby story by Jan Brett. —Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to Recipe
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