December is a time for traditions, from new and festive pajamas on Christmas Eve to cutting down your own Christmas tree fresh from the farm. Looking for an easy way to start a holiday tradition with friends and family? Then consider throwing a Gingerbread House Decorating Party. It’s fun, simple to prepare, and a delicious way to celebrate the Christmas season with those that matter most. Not sure where to start? Here are easy, straightforward ways to host a Gingerbread House Decorating Party.
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Condense Your Guest List
First off, realize that a gingerbread house can be fragile, so to minimize accidents that will lead to inevitable tears, keep your guest list to a minimum. My rule of thumb is four gingerbread houses per 8 foot long table.
Serve Up Some Holiday Spirit
One of the best things about a Gingerbread House Decorating Party is that guests will snack on candy while putting together their creations, so you don’t have to supply much else. But to keep the mood festive, try serving a Twig ‘n Berry cocktail for adults and a non-alcoholic version for the kiddos. My kids love “The Grinch”–Sprite with a dash of green food coloring with a candy cane garnish!
You can also provide some non-candy options for snacks (the healthier the better to combat all that sugar) such as a large charcuterie board or simple bruschetta recipes that look like you slaved in the kitchen all day when in reality you prepared for 20 minutes and then watched Hallmark Christmas movies all day long.
Clearly State the BYOH
Nowadays you can find tons of gingerbread house kits, whether you are looking for pre-built options or you wan to construct your gingerbread house yourself. I would recommend the pre-built options at Target and Costco (well made, sturdy, and just darn adorable) to your guests, or the DIY kit that World Market sells. And while most kits come with icing an other decorations, as the host you should provide the gingerbread house decorating details.
Get Creative With Your Toppings
The great thing about decorating a gingerbread house is that there is no wrong way to do it and anything goes. While you can spring for cute and unique gourmet options, you can also raid your pantry to see what you can find (it’s for decorating, not eating, after all!). So grab a large platter or tray, some small bowls or containers, and fill it with fun finds from your pantry or the grocery store. Some suggestions:
- chocolate chips
- hard candies
- pretzel rods
- shredded coconut
- jelly beans
- gum drops
- dried fruit
And of course…lots and lots of icing! The perfect icing recipe? Check this one out. The key? Stiff peaks! After mixing, divide the icing into bowls. Add a few drops of food coloring to each bowl, stir, and then scoop into clear, gallon sized plastic bags. Twist the bag so that all of the icing is by one of the bottom corners of the plastic bag. Snip off the corner of the bag with scissors (the smaller the hole the less amount of icing comes out) to make a piping bag.
Encourage Some Friendly Competition
To add a little competitive fun, choose unique winning categories for the Gingerbread House Decorating Party. Instead of a boring title like “Best,” think about categories such as “Most Creative,” “Highest Amount of Calories,” “Most Likely to Be Featured on the Food Network,” “Looks Like Something Buddy the Elf Would Eat”…and so on. Award prizes such as a Christmas ornament, box of gourmet chocolates, a family board game…or even just a small holiday themed trinket.
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