As the aunt of four boys and the “they call me aunt” of my best friends’ kids, I like to make time during the holiday season to spend an afternoon with these amazing kids doing something fun. First, it’s a great way to make special, cherished memories for them and for me! Second, it gives their parents a chance to run errands kid-free. And third, I like sharing what I know while we do something fun for both of us! My hands-down favorite activity to do with the kids this season: the gingerbread house project!
When my nephews were young, we built gingerbread houses (prebaked kits from Wilton for convenience) every year. They each decorated their designated section; their mission: “The more candy on the roof, the better!”
Recently I gathered the ‘boys’, now ranging in age from 14 to 21 along with the oldest’s girlfriend, and presented them with the Gingerbread Mini Village Kit, thinking it would be a great activity to reconnect us. I was greeted with cheers! They had a blast building and decorating their mini gingerbread houses and landscaping the yards. They were teasing about whose house was best, who had the coolest ideas for decorating, but their competitive gibes were all in fun. The boys (and Markie) will remember this afternoon for years to come and I love that I will forever be part of their gingerbread house building memories.
As for a house for me, I attend my cousin gingerbread making party each year. This party is no small undertaking. There are items to use for decorating: candy, cookies, pretzel, edible accents like sprinkles and nonpareils in addition to a gingerbread house and royal icing for every guest. Guests can make their own gingerbread house or couples or families can make one together. Imagine a room filled with adults answering deep, thought-provoking questions like: How did you make that Christmas tree for the backyard? Can I have a skating pond like that? What did you use for the sleigh?
While I can’t catalogue specific houses I’ve made there, what I remember most about every party is the laughter. All around the house, stories are being told, family and friends are reconnecting, ideas and inspiration are being shared, Christmas songs fill the air, and through it all, there is that blissful, unbridled laughter. The true source of the laughter: the joy of adults getting together to create and celebrate another year.
So what’s your gingerbread plan for the Christmas season? Do you plan to create a gingerbread house with your kids? The Wilton site certainly has some ideas to inspire your gingerbread house! From a sweet, simple gingerbread house or a rustic getaway gingerbread house to an adorable schoolhouse or a gingerbread house that seems to have come out of a Christmas cartoon, your creative options are limitless. There’s even a gingerbread church! Or maybe Dad would love to make some memories with the kids this year and build a gingerbread house with them! We’ve created some house plans and yard displays just for him.
Or take my preferred path, suggest it to your best friend, sister, brother or mom and let him or her build special gingerbread house making memories with the kids this year. You buy the kit; let them make the memory.