Creating Gingerbread Houses and Memories

December 29th, 2010 by Heidi Whelan

Our holiday tradition of building and decorating those tasty gingerbread houses with friends continues. If memory serves, this is our 5th year.

Gingerbread HouseHere is a photo of my daughter’s first Wilton Gingerbread House, created when she was just 10 years old. I’m sure that I helped a little bit, but for the most part it was her project. She’s a chip off the old block, that girl!

This season we opted to use Wilton’s pre-assembled houses in an attempt to keep the kids working with us from start to finish. Gone are the days when the lure of candy and icing was sufficient to hold their interest. *Sigh* Three of our group of five decorators are now teenagers – enough said?

We have always drawn inspiration from Wilton’s colorful packaging, complete with numerous decorating options. This year we added technology as another source for great ideas. “Well, duh, Mom. We totally should have done this last year!” All of the gingerbread info and gorgeous photos that are available on the website were incredibly helpful to both the adults and my snotty the teens. Thanks, Wilton.com! So many links, so little time.

***Not sure where the inspiration for my son’s creation (front and center in this photo) was found back in 2007… can you say ‘sugar-induced decorating frenzy’?

Decorating Gingerbread Houses

Even though there is always plenty of candy included in Wilton’s Gingerbread House Kits, the kids have insisted we have piles of extra candy on hand. Wilton has helped out with that also. Here are some of the new additions to our decorating table this year: the Gingerbread House Holiday Candies Assortment, which includes one of my must-have items – candy lightbulbs, Metallic Sprinkles for a shimmering touch, and my new favorite thing relating to Gingerbread décor (drum roll please) – the Gingerbread Candy Accent Molds 2 Pack! These sweet little add-ons are perfect for upping the ‘cute factor’ of our houses (and they make me wonder why I never thought to use Wilton’s Candy Melts® and molds before now…)!

The final piece to our Gingerbread house holiday tradition is this; when the season wraps up and we are putting away the holiday decorations, rather than eat our houses (Yes, these beauties are completely edible as packaged, but after a month of sitting around collecting dust at my house? No, thank you.) they go out in the backyard for the critters to nibble on. I think this year we’ll add a note:

Dear Mr. Grey Squirrel,
Happy New Year.
Better you chew on
our gingerbread houses,
than the big wooden one
we actually live in!
Please enjoy the
‘Tootsie Roll logs’
stacked next to the
smallest house.
Hope your teeth rot.
Signed –
The Whelan Family

Heidi Whelan Heidi Whelan is a member of the Wilton Training Team, an active Wilton Method Instructor and a long-time gingerbread enthusiast! She lives in suburban Minnesota with her husband of twenty years, their two teenage children and a few too many grey squirrels.

2 Replies

  1. Margo Osti says:

    The first gingerbread house I ever made was during a gingerbread house making party. A friend and I hosted the party. My friend got the inspiration from a Pacific Bell television commerical she called, “Home for the Holidays” circa 1980. Because I had discovered the existence of Wilton and all its supplies, I brought the bags and tips. She supplied the gingerbread and candy and hot spiced wine. Needless to say, there wasn’t many children at this party. The party was great fun, but very little success with the gingerbread. We used the wrong recipe and the wrong icing and we tried to assemble and decorate the house all at one time.
    Not to settle with failure, I made it my obession to discover how to make a gingerbread house (remember this was all before the Internet). During this quest, I visited a craft store to discover Wilton’s Celebrate! Christmas. Oh my gosh, what a wonderful book! I couldn’t ask for a better “How To” manual. It contained all the information I needed to make anything gingerbread. Thank you Wilton for the book. I hope you have reprinted and re-released the book. It is the “go to” book for gingerbread.
    The next year, we hosted the party correctly. We made and assembled the houses ahead of time, so our guests only decorated during the party. We also asked our guests to bring the candy and share with each other. The party has continue ever since. My role during the party has become that of the supplier. I keep the Royal icing flowing and at the end, trim the houses.
    After all these years, the faces have changed, but the fun and the tradition remains the same. The party starts the holiday season. We have made sleighs, houses, trees, turkeys and haunted houses.
    Thank you Wilton for helping to make this tradition and holiday memories. We couldn’t have done it without your help and Celebrate! Christmas.

  2. Justine says:

    It was the worst product I have ever boughten and will never waste my money on one again. My granddaughter thought it was a joke the gingerbread house fell apart and it was the messyed thing I have ever worked with. LOUSY product and will never recommened it to anyone. I have talked to many others who said the same thing WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY.

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