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How to Avoid Gingerbread Disaster

Updated on December 02, 2016

You're Really Building Memories

I always set aside one night during the Christmas season to do Christmas crafts with my kids, and now my grand-kids. No matter how the craft turns out, it's something the kids will always remember. When they look back on it they forget about the frustration and just remember that you did it with them. It's become a family tradition that my daughter is carrying on with her family.

How to Build a Really Mediocre Gingerbread Village in Only 6 Hours

Tonight I helped my granddaughter put together and decorate a pre-fab gingerbread Christmas Village. What a freakin’ pain in the... oh, oops I mean what a wonderful memory we will share.

Maybe there are some really crafty people out there that this Christmas project would be a cinch for, but I’m not one of them. If you haven’t done this before and are thinking about building a gingerbread village, let me give you a few tips to smooth the way. Perhaps you can learn something from my mistakes.

Tips for Avoiding Gingerbread Disaster

  • If you are building gingerbread houses with kids under about 12, you'll be better off if you put the houses together yourself first. They won’t be able to help and it can be very frustrating for them. The decorating is really the fun part anyway.

  • The box says the gingerbread houses need to sit for an hour after assembly before you decorate them, I would say this is the bare minimum. I would recommend leaving them for at least 3 hours before you make any attempt at decorating them.

  • Do not attempt to move the gingerbread houses immediately after assembly, they tend to come apart if you move them too soon. Choose a cool place where the finished houses can sit safely for a while until the icing sets.

  • If you are building from a gingerbread village kit with more than one house, like I did, cut the pieces of one house out, then assemble it before cutting up the next one. Some of the pieces look pretty similar and you don’t want them to get mixed up.

  • If you have a pastry bag, that will make putting the gingerbread pieces together somewhat easier, those plastic icing bags that come in the kits really don’t work very well.

  • Don’t expect your gingerbread village to look like the picture on the box. Although, if you follow these tips it will probably come out looking considerably better than mine did.


Using box to hold pieces together
Using box to hold pieces together | Source
The roof tends to slide off the house.
The roof tends to slide off the house. | Source
That A-frame thing was looking pretty good until it fell apart on me. I'll probably try to fix these up a little more, we were pretty over it by this time.
That A-frame thing was looking pretty good until it fell apart on me. I'll probably try to fix these up a little more, we were pretty over it by this time. | Source

If this helps even one person be more successful with assembling their gingerbread village, my job is done. I’m posting pictures of the results, but I really wish I had taken one of the colossal mess we made.

Oh well, enjoy the holidays and don’t let the grinch get you!

Have you Built a Gingerbread House or Village from a Kit?

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More Gingerbread Follies

This is a hilarious video. I especially like her use of a soda can to keep the roof from sliding off. However, I don't think it's actually "impossible," as ItsJillStrif on YouTube says, to make a great looking gingerbread house. It just takes practice and patience.

A Nice Gingerbread Village

This is a high speed video of building a gingerbread village with a more positive result. It's the same kit I used; I'm guessing that Jarrod Davis from YouTube has done this before.

He was much neater during the process than we were, we had a huge mess to contend with when we were done (at about midnight). I noticed in the video that the kids were present, but did not really participate in the process.

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    • Adele Jeunette profile image

      Adele Jeunette 7 weeks ago

      I "built" one from a kit. As I remember, I glued some boxes of Jello to the inside to get the thing to stand up. I think my piece of advice would be--forget about making it edible and do what you have to so the thing will hold together.

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 7 weeks ago from Oklahoma

      This made me smile, Sherry...but not at you. I am just sympathizing from a distance. I remember one year we attempted the gingerbread house kit (and we were teens at the time!) It turned out to be such a messy disaster that we gave up and made a 3-D gingerbread house from plastic canvas instead. It was a REALLY elaborate plastic canvas pattern that involved making tons of tiny parts...and it was way less frustrating than the gingerbread kit! (It did take longer though.)

      SO, my heartfelt condolences on your crafting adventure. Still, those did turn out rather cute, and I'm sure in a couple of years this will become a fond memory to share. :)

    • Pat Mills 7 weeks ago from East Chicago, Indiana

      I hope that the house at least tasted good.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
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      Sherry Hewins 7 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Adele - that's great advice!

      Sharkeye11- It sounds like that plastic canvas one would last longer, and the gingerbread draws ants.

      Mills P - I don't think we will be eating it. It will be pretty dusty by Christmas. We ate some of the candy though.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 7 weeks ago from Brazil

      It was something I always wanted to make, but never did. I didn't even know they made kits.

      I may give it a pass now.

      In the first video when she panned to the house, I couldn't stop laughing, I think we have all had a disaster and tried to make the best of it.

      In the second one, you're right, the kids didn't help much so what kind of memories is that making.

      Sorry yours didn't turn out, but it sounds like you're in good company.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
      Author

      Sherry Hewins 6 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Blond Logic - At least we had fun.

    • teaches12345 6 weeks ago

      I have tried making them before but they did not turn out like the picture on the box. I may just give it another try some time. You posted such a creative and enjoyable topic post.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 weeks ago from Central Florida

      I definitely do not have the patience for a project like this. More power to you for trying, Sherry!

      This weekend on The Kitchen they built a completely edible holiday log cabin. They started with a huge block of cream cheese, then added bread sticks as the logs, lattice type pretzels for windows, rye crisps for the roof tiles, pepperoni for the shingles, a small block of cheese as the chimney and used canned cheese to hold each piece together. It was really pretty when they were done and it looked easy to do.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
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      Sherry Hewins 5 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      That sounds like a pretty intricate project, and not cheap either. Tasty though.

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