I invited Serenity's class over to decorate gingerbread houses. I realized as I was making the bases that I’d never decorated a gingerbread house before! And just like my mother, the very first time I made ten of them. Yay for mass production! Here’s how I set it up:
I built the bases for the gingerbread houses by cheating, as my friend Andrew would say. Hooray for hot glue! I figure no one really wants to eat graham crackers that sit out for days anyway =) I bought cardboard cake rectangles and cut them in half to make 7 by 10 inch boards. Then I hot glued graham crackers to make the base. I read a tip from here at One Charming Party about microwaving the graham cracker wrapped in a wet paper towel for 15 seconds, and it definitely made it easier to cut it without breaking the cracker. I got too lazy for it after a while, so it can be done both ways. I cut the pattern for my roofline on a piece of cardstock so that I got the angles the same on the front and back. I cut about a fifth of the graham cracker off the side pieces so that the roof had a nice overhang.
The special details that everyone loved included getting sugar cones and green icing for Christmas trees. Serenity especially loved this and covered her tree with mini M&M and Skittles ornaments. And she used mini gummy fruit slices for presents under the tree. Next, I got supplies to make snowmen out of marshmallows. Big marshmallows, toothpicks, and edible markers. Finally, I found little gingerbread cookie people! Pepperidge farm makes a set of these, and the kids loved adding them to their little houses.
In addition to all that, I bought a ton of candy! I think next year I’ll buy different candy knowing what I know now. With the graham crackers especially, the houses are pretty small. So the big gumdrop bells, Butterfinger bells, ribbon candy, nougats, and even the hershey’s kisses were a bit too big. We used a couple maybe each, but they weren’t the most fun.
The best candies were the mini M&Ms, and someone brought little tiny candy balls in all different colors. They looked just like lights! Next year I’ll totally buy the M&Ms not in a Christmas mix, they’re cuter with more colors. The mini fruit slices were awesome, and tiny gumdrops. The mini candy canes were cool too, but since they came in a box of 60 I imagine I’ll still have some for next year. Oh, and I nearly forgot the Christmas Crunch. The cereal made cute decorations, and was lightweight and just the right size =) I also got Cinnamon Toast Crunch, which I forgot to use but I still think would be cute.
I had the icing ready in Ziploc baggies for piping, and that worked great just like at our Cookie Party. And green icing in a bowl with popsicle sticks to spread it.
And that was it! I had some cardboard boxes for people to take home their creations. Next year I might buy cellophane so they can wrap it and tie it closed with curly ribbon. I could only make so many trips to Target for things I’d forgotten this year =) Next year I’ll have a list to work from!