Nothing says "Happy Holidays" like a festively decorated gingerbread house. Large or small, hand-crafted or pre-fab, gingerbread houses are fun to make and lovely to look at all season long. And they can be as easy, or as complex, as you want them to be. Here are a few versions to try:
The easy way. Want a gingerbread house that doesn't involve baking and snaps together in a jiffy? Use graham crackers. And make life even easier by using an empty pint-sized milk carton as the form to build around. Your house will be ready in about five minutes and you and the kids can concentrate on the fun part — decorating!
The middle ground. Want to put a little more effort in to it? Buy a kit. Gingerbread house can be found in every grocery store and big box window right now and most include everything you need to make a lovely, traditional looking gingerbread house, while still skipping the mixing/rolling/baking part. Be sure to take a good look at the materials that are included in the kit and if necessary, supplement with additional decorating supplies.
The traditional method. For the purists in the group, a homemade gingerbread house is the only way to go. Not only are these houses beautiful, but they also let you experiment with your creative side as you decide where each window and door will fall.
No matter which method you use to build your actual house, the most important thing to remember is to gather up an ample supply of decorations — because this is where the fun really happens! The only real "rule" to decorating a gingerbread house is that everything you use should be edible. But even this rule was made to be broken — it's your house after all — so use whatever you think would look cool.
Here are some decorating supply ideas to get you started: