My kids wait all year long for the last quarter of the year. It seems like every time we turn around there is another holiday and event we have to prepare for. Halloween parties, Halloween night, Thanksgiving meal, Christmas shopping, Christmas parties, Christmas Day, and New Year parties!My kids love to be so hands on so this is my drive to put the decorations up, hustle to get everyone out the door to attend the parties AND make the gingerbread house. Here are a few tips that helped me this year with building a gingerbread house and keeping your sanity at the same time.
Disclaimer: There will be a mess but save the hovering and frustration for another day.
Tip #1- Preparations and Multiple Decorators
First things first, there isn’t a way we can prevent the mess from happening but we can take it upon ourselves to make it easier to clean. I usually like to lay down a plastic disposable tablecloth so that everything goes with the cloth in the trash when we are done.
If you have multiple decorators like I do, It can be a battle of who gets the first turn to decorate, who decorates the door, etc. This year I purchased a Gingerbread Village. It comes with 4 mini houses and everyone has their own house to decorate! No arguments over here this year and less stress for me….
Tip #2- Extra Icing
I find that the one tube of frosting that comes with the kit is enough but it can be too thick for little hands to work with. I suggest putting your houses together with the thick kit frosting for maximum staying power and purchasing extra frosting for all of the decorating. Your candy and decor will also stick better with the store bought cake frosting. If you dare go the extra mile, don’t forget the food coloring for an extra splash of color on your gingerbread house!
More houses and more hands mean you will need more piping tubes. I filled sandwich bags with the extra frosting to make extra piping bags.
Tip #3- Super Glue
Believe it or not, one of these houses is held up by super glue! Our kit told us to wait 10-15 for the frosting to dry before decorating and my 1 and a half year old couldn’t wait. We also knew that he would be a little rough during the process and it would just crumble so we did use super glue to hold the structure together and to make it look like everyone else’s we covered our tracks with frosting once dried. (Of course, only do this if you don’t plan on eating it) I’d say I earned myself some cool mom bonus points for this one!
Tip #4- Extra Decor
Just to take the fun up a notch I purchased our favorite candies and extra sprinkles to decorate with. Most of which didn’t make it on the house but I tried and lots of memorable photos were taken.
Tip #5- Have Fun
It’s true- I’m a Hoverer. I stand over my kids and micromanage to try to catch the messes before they happen. Building gingerbread houses and opening gifts at Christmas are the exceptions. To experience the pure joy on their faces as they figure out how to make shapes, experiment using the candy, decide how much frosting is too much, and sneak bites of the gingerbread is priceless. Take this time and encourage them to express their creativity with anything on the table and watch their masterpieces come to fruition. Be sure to have your camera ready because the funniest moments happen when we least expect them!
This is your reminder to take a breather and have fun. All of the mess is temporary and their childhood will fly by in the blink of an eye. Now go capture those core memories! Happy Holidays!