We have a new family Christmas tradition. We’ve always made a gingerbread house as a family. One year we even had a big competition among extended family to see who could come up with the best house concept (my team won ;D). Typically we buy the kits with the candy and icing included. But not anymore.

Recently I saw a pin for making your own gingerbread houses. I’ve always steered clear of these, thinking that cutting the pieces to fit just right would be super difficult, and it would just be too much work to mix, roll, bake and cut everything out. This time though, perhaps because of the appealing photos and the super cute mini gingerbread house results pictured, I decided to give it a shot.

I wasn’t going to go this alone. I pulled my sister-in-law, Amie, into the mess to help me. That way if it was going to be a failure, at least we’d have fun doing it together.

We each did our batches of gingerbread. And, of course, hours before I’m to leave the house the morning of, I discover I cut the pieces wrong, and I’m short a couple roof pieces. Have no fear, the recipe whips up, bakes and cools in NO TIME, so I had more than enough time to make another batch, along with a few extra pieces for, ahem, snacking.

It really was very easy to do – the pieces were super forgiving, and though they didn’t fit perfectly, everything stood solidly.

MAJOR TIP – buy a bag of the Wilton icing from Walmart or your grocery store, local Bulk Barn store, and use that to put your house together. We could not for the life of us get the icing to a consistency we felt confident would hold the house together. Fortunately, I had an extra bag leftover from last year’s gingerbread house, so we used that to set up the structure.

I think the best part of this was that each one got their own house to decorate as they liked. My eldest is a perfectionist – and very detailed! He even had icicles hanging down from the roof!

My other two are more about getting as much candy on there as possible, and less about design.

Though it was really neat to see their own creativity coming out in their designs.

And my nephew – well, being only 2 1/2, he just wanted to eat candy.

Amie had the brilliant idea to use Life cereal for the roof or fences, so he was happy (mostly :D) to eat that and put a few pieces on to decorate his house.

Going to town with the candy and icing.

Taking a break to feed Cousin Cody.

Another tip – put the icing in small sandwich bags, zip shut and squeeze the icing into a corner. Snip the corner, twist the bag and secure the top with an elastic so little hands have something to grab onto when applying the icing.

All in all, it was SUCH a blast. Total time to put the houses together (5 of them) – 1 hour. Total time for the kids to decorate and moms to clean up – 1 hour. Not bad if you ask me! I highly recommend making your own gingerbread houses, it’s not that difficult, and everyone has such a great time decorating their own!

This is going to be one of our new family Christmas traditions :0)