crafts

I Decorated A Gingerbread House For The First Time In 20 Years And It Was A Wild Sleigh Ride

by Olivia Jakiel

If there’s one thing you should know about me (other than my title of Best Banana Bread Maker Both Sides of the Mississippi™️), it’s that I am obsessed with Christmas. There’s literally nothing about Christmas I don’t like. Christmas cookies, Christmas lights, gift giving, decorating, cheesy Lifetime and Hallmark holiday movies, elf culture, quoting classic Christmas movies, cooking holiday-themed dishes, Christmas music, even those pesky Christmas carolers — literally, the North Pole is the limit.

During a recent trip to the motherland (read: Target) with my mom, we were perusing the holiday aisles to see what else we could decorate my house with when we casually strolled into the candy and baking aisle. I love baking in general, so the cute holiday-themed cupcake liners first caught my eye, along with all the festive candy decor and cupcake toppers. I was debating on buying a bunch of cupcake supplies when I noticed an entire shelf of white boxes farther down the aisle.

Fun fact: Target has a plethora of gingerbread house kits. Like, not just your standard old boring gingerbread houses, either. I’m talkin’ mini villages, a house that literally looks like IHOP in cookie form, little cottages, and more! I almost bought the mini village set, but then I thought, Wait. I haven’t decorated a gingerbread house since I was, like, 10 years old. I should probably take some ginger-baby-steps here and start small.

So I decided to go with a whimsical-looking kit — an homage to the classic gingerbread house and a nod to the Keebler elves, aka Santa’s helpers’ less-skilled cousins. I wanted to buy more decorations than what came in the kit, but my mom assured me that there would be more than enough candy to go ’round. I wasn’t convinced, but whatever — I guess moms know best.

That being said, I was excited to have a new Christmas project to complete over the weekend. After all, no Christmas task is too much for me — so I thought.

The Supplies

The Supplies
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Oh, what’s that? you ask. It’s a premade gingerbread house, THAT’S WHAT. Yes, I took the easy route with this one. But hear me out: What if I bought one of the kits in which I had to “glue” the house together, and then the house wouldn’t stay up? What if it went the Big Bad Wolf route and blew down from a gust of air from my heater?

I couldn’t take that chance.

The box included:

  • 1 premade whimsical gingerbread house
  • 1 bag of small, colorful candy balls
  • 1 bag of sugar gumdrops
  • 1 bag of big, colorful candy balls
  • 4 large green gumdrops
  • 5 peppermint candies
  • 1 large tube of white icing
  • 1 small tube of red icing

Unpacking the Contents

Unpacking the Contents
Olivia Jakiel for LittleThings

When I unpacked the box, I was a little underwhelmed with the contents inside. I took out some other icing I had on hand, as well as some sprinkles — just in case I needed them.

A Few Last-Minute Additions

A Few Last-Minute Additions
Olivia Jakiel for LittleThings

It seemed like there definitely wouldn’t be enough candy to decorate the entire house, so I went into my cupboard and found some berry-flavored Skittles from Halloween for some extra “lighting” options and some white chocolate chips in case I wanted to do some type of snow decor.

Then I separated all the candy into different dishes (I used my measuring cups since using actual salad bowls would be wildly obnoxious, but to each their own). I got this idea after I shamelessly Googled “gingerbread house decorating tips.”

Olivia Jakiel for LittleThings

So I’m not an icing expert, but if you’re going to do this whole gingerbread house decorating thing, may I suggest using your own piping bag and tips? Because the icing that came with the house basically exploded after I put the bare minimum amount of pressure on the bag, and icing landed EVERYWHERE on my table — including on my rosemary “trees.”

Fixer Upper: Gingerbread House Edition

Fixer Upper: Gingerbread House Edition
Olivia Jakiel for LittleThings

Can I get an “LOL” up in here? This was my first attempt at icing the windows. The outline of the door came out OK, and the window on the right is acceptable, but the window on the left definitely looks like the Seven Dwarves’ lesser-known cousin, Droopy. Thankfully, I got another attempt at this on the other side of the house.

Olivia Jakiel for LittleThings

Ah, much better! Right? Right.

Olivia Jakiel for LittleThings

Look at me decorating the roof in a somewhat decent manner. Someone call the Food Network and get me on one of those Holiday Baking Championship shows, stat.

Olivia Jakiel for LittleThings

Please ignore the frosting clumps surrounding the house and focus on my amazing piping skills on the roof instead. Thanks.

At this point, I felt like I was finally getting the hang of piping the icing.

Olivia Jakiel for LittleThings

As soon as I piped the roof, I lined it with the tiny, colorful balls that came in the kit. They look just like lights, yeah? Yeah!

Olivia Jakiel for LittleThings

And because I couldn’t leave the back of the house blank, I did the same to the other side. I also attempted (keyword: attempted) to do some frosting design on the door, which you can see worked out very well.

I also added some sugar gumdrops to fill out the rest of the house. And to try and distract from Droopy’s window.

Olivia Jakiel for LittleThings

I took advantage of the mess I made with the frosting earlier and planted “trees” in front using the fresh rosemary I keep in my kitchen.

Olivia Jakiel for LittleThings

I added more candy and rosemary leaves to the side of the house to fill it out. To be honest, it was getting a little tedious at this point, and I kind of just wanted to get the house finished. I know; I — the Queen of Christmas — was getting tired of something Christmasy. Who am I? Where did my elf spirit go?

Olivia Jakiel for LittleThings

I was able to muster up the rest of my Christmas spirit, though, and carried on.

I used icing I had bought to decorate the gluten-free sugar cookies I plan on making this week to fill in the door, and it spilled beautifully down the front and created a “walkway” of sorts.

Olivia Jakiel for LittleThings

And voilà! After adding two candy cane hard candies to the “front yard,” I was finally finished. It blends right into my other little Christmas village houses!

To be honest, I’m probably going to go back to Target and get another kit or two, but next time, I’ll definitely pipe my own icing and frosting to make less of a mess. I’m happy to say that this whimsical little house is still on my kitchen table and will make a cute addition to my Christmas decor for the rest of the season!