She Gave It a Go

A Christmas Tradition Revisited: Gingerbread Houses

Holidays | December 15, 2020

Completed gingerbread house

I began decorating gingerbread houses as a Christmas tradition at a young age, and now my husband and I host a gingerbread house party every December for our children and our nieces/nephews.  This tradition continues but with a new version of houses this year!

Gingerbread houses complete

[This post contains sponsored links. The items featured and linked in this post were all provided by JOANN; all opinions and reviews are my own.]

A few years back, I wrote a three-part blog series on Christmas traditions, including our annual Gingerbread house decorating party.  You can begin the series here. (Included in this series is the DIY gingerbread house template that my grandparents used for us as children that we used for years.) We love hosting this party every year.  Andy typically cuts and glues the cardboard houses the Friday night before and finishes them up on Saturday.  While we’ve loved this method, we wanted to try a revised version this year. 

Gingerbread house party

We found these Wilton Gingerbread House 2020 kits at JOANN! They were a perfect size and looked wonderful, so much so that it encouraged us to try them out in place of the cardboard frames. They also come with some really fun items as part of the kit, including real gingerbread pieces, candies, icing, and fondant.

Up close of gingerbread houses completed

It was time to try out these kits this past Saturday morning.  We lined them all up, grabbed some coffee, and got started assembling them. 

Tip: Have extra cardboard on hand to set the house on for little “yards” for each house.

Assembling gingerbread house kits

Building Your Gingerbread Houses

One thing we didn’t change was using hot glue! While you can use icing to “build” the houses, we found that hot glue will reinforce the home’s structure, making it extra sturdy for adding icing and lots of candies.  We hot glued each house together and onto the cardboard piece.

Hot glue helps secure the gingerbread pieces together.


Want to try making a DIY cardboard gingerbread house? This was a tradition my grandparents did with us growing up for many years, and we’ve made them with our own children. They are simple to make and a lot of fun!

You can download my FREE How to Make a Gingerbread House Using Cardboard e-book here.

Next up, we set them around two different tables giving each participant plenty of room to build (TIP: You may want to be careful about making sure you’re socially distanced if you’re inviting guests. Our “circle” has included our extended family since the beginning of the pandemic so we aren’t socially distanced here. But for our other gatherings this Christmas, we’ve worn masks and been aware of spacing.)  Don’t they look so cute already?!

Houses ready for icing and decorating!

Decorating Your Gingerbread Houses

We love having tons of candy, and with the candy, lots of variety!

Here are the candies we used for our gingerbread houses:

  • Skittles
  • Twizzlers
  • Lifesaver Mints
  • Chocolate Santas and Frosty
  • Cadbury Chocolates
  • Peppermints
  • Red And Green Gum Drops
  • Mike and Ikes


Little kids table

We also had these non-candy items available for the gingerbread houses:

  • Vanilla wafers
  • Yogurt Covered Pretzels
  • Pretzel Sticks

Icing For The Gingerbread Houses

My mom makes the “Royal Icing” for the party.  She typically brings a large batch made and then continues to make more as the party is happening.  As adults, we all chip in and help spread the icing on various sides of the house so the children can decorate them one at a time.  We have the best time with our children and nieces and nephews!


The little kid’s table, having fun decorating their houses.

There are a total of 11 children making their houses. We love seeing how each one turns out so unique to them! Some love creating patterns, some love lots of colors, while others enjoy making Christmas themed items to add to their home’s yards.

Big kids table decorating their houses.

This Christmas tradition revisited was a huge success! Using the gingerbread house kits here from JOANN added ease but didn’t compromise the process or outcome.  We are huge fans of this new way of making homes. 

Houses complete!

Whether you DIY gingerbread houses from cardboard templates like we did for so many years or use these amazing gingerbread house kits, spending time with your loved ones making memories at Christmas is what is most important. 

Roof view of the gingerbread house

I hope you and yours will give it a go and adapt this special Christmas tradition to suit your family’s personality and make-up.

I love how they turned out!

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  1. This is such a sweet tradition Brendt!! I wish we had done this growing up, you are making great memories for them all!!

  2. stacy says:

    Brendt what a fun idea!!! I love this tradition – we do it too! Pinned!

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