It’s Christmas time and you know what that means – celebration after celebration that is filled to the brim with food, festivities and family!
When it comes to hosting a Christmas ‘do a lot of the celebrations tend to be the same, so why not do something a little bit different but a whole lot festive and host a gingerbread house making party? It’s guaranteed to be fun for the whole family (from nana to children and everyone in between) and can turn into a Christmas tradition that will get your creative juices going.
I’ve been making gingerbread houses with our family’s master gingerbread maker (Nana) for a few years now and it’s a tradition that is well supported. Here are some top tips on how to host a gingerbread making event for your own family.
Get inspiration for your creation
What kind of gingerbread house are you going to make? Is it going to be a classic four walls and a roof style house, or a simpler tepee? Are you creative enough to make an intricate house like Christine McConnell’s amazing creations, or are you more of a gingerbread man type of baker? Are you each going to make smaller gingerbread houses, or one big gingerbread house to be the centrepiece for your Christmas table?
Before you even get your lollies out, you need to decide what you are going to make and research some ideas on how to both make and decorate it. Watch some gingerbread making videos on Youtube so that you know how to make the gingerbread house, and then scroll Pinterest for decorating ideas. Choose a colour theme or style that you want to go with and get inspiration for your house to get you excited and into the Christmas spirit!
Top Tip: If you can, print out the inspiration so that you will have them handy for the party or make a more environmentally friendly Pinterest board with everyone’s favourite ideas and have it ready to go on a tablet or iPad.
Prepping isn’t just for doomsday
Prepping is your best friend when putting gingerbread houses together because it can literally take hours! Go out and buy all of the lollies, decorations and ingredients beforehand so that everything is on hand and make sure you have absolutely everything you need before people arrive.
It may sound strange but unless you specifically want to make the gingerbread together, bake the cookie sheets and have them cooling for cutting when guests arrive. It will take a while to cut the cookie into appropriate sizes and shapes so have the gingerbread cooling as close to the party start time as possible. By being a prepper this will keep the party in full swing, and will be a big time saver at the end of the day!
Top Tip: If you want to save time, have the icing made and ready to go as well. This way as soon as your guests come in they can cut the cookies and piece together the gingerbread house using the icing available.
Set up your station accordingly
Setting up your station is key to a good gingerbread house making party. For the cookie cutting and icing together this is usually best done in the kitchen or on a clean surface, and then spread tablecloths and bowls of lollies on your table for the decorating part.
And seeing as this is a Christmas event you need to decorate accordingly. You don’t have to go too overboard on the table and the centrepieces because the bowls of lollies and the activity itself will serve as all the decorations you need, but at least make sure your Christmas tree is up!
Top Tip: A top tip I’ve picked up is to ice your gingerbread house directly onto a foil wrapped cardboard square, and then use a rotating cake board or Lazy Susan to place your gingerbread house on to when it’s ready for decorating. That way, you can easily move from one section to the other without having to constantly be moving your gingerbread house!
Remember to have fun with it!
It’s great fun to have your friends and family over to build gingerbread houses, so play music, drink eggnog (or wine if you would like) and fill your house with conversation and laughter.
Try not to take this too seriously, because some houses don’t end up being structurally sound, and some decorations just don’t end up working out. I’ve had times where I’ve destroyed a gingerbread house by decorating roof first (always work your way up from the bottom!) and it was embarrassing to have my disastrous gingerbread house as the Christmas table centrepiece.
Roll with it because mistakes happen and it will taste delicious anyway!
This article was previously published on HerCanberra.