Learn how to host a gingerbread house party the easy way! Get tips for decorating, candy, invitations, food and the best gingerbread houses to buy. A gingerbread house decorating party is perfect for the holiday season!
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Every year, we host a gingerbread house decorating party for my daughter and her friends. We've been throwing this fun holiday party for kids for the past 5 years or so, and it's so much fun!
And after the guest leave, my kids decorate their own houses. It's a family tradition and one of our favorite holiday traditions!
Needless to say, we've got a lot of experience with decorating these cute holiday houses. So, I'm sharing tips for throwing the perfect gingerbread house decorating party the easy way!
How to Host a Gingerbread House Decorating Party
First, you'll have to pick a date and form a guest list. We usually try to keep the guest list fairly small -- under 10 people. This keeps the cost down and makes it easier get everyone around the table.
I strongly recommend sending out party invitations early and asking guests to RSVP. You'll want to know how many houses to buy, and you'll have to make sure you have enough for everyone.
We keep invitations informal. You can print out your own invitations, order some online or keep it simple and email a digital invite to your friends.
If your kids are teens, they can invite their own friends, but make sure they keep you updated on who is coming!
Buy Premade Gingerbread Houses
If you can, go with premade gingerbread houses. It makes life so much easier! We usually buy ours from Target, Walmart or Costco. These are pricier, but doable if your guest list is small enough.
You can also find gingerbread house kits online or at many craft stores or your grocery store. Personally, I would assemble the houses in advance.
You have to give them time to dry before you start decorating. Plus, younger kids have a shorter attention span. But if your guests are older, they may want to assemble their own gingerbread house.
No matter what houses you get, I would pick up some extra icing, because what comes in the kits is usually just white. We usually get Wilton's cookie icing in at least red, green, and blue.
You could also get regular canned frosting and use food coloring to make whatever colors you like. This doesn't usually come in squeeze bottles or bags like cookie icing does, though. If you're feeling adventurous, try following a royal icing recipe!
Best Candy for Decorating
Many gingerbread house kits come with some candy, but we like to buy extra candy for decorating. Check the holiday candy aisles at your local store for the best selection of seasonal candies.
Some of our favorites are:
- Christmas/red and green M&Ms (mini M&Ms are super cute!)
- Dots, gum drops
- Teddy Grams, graham crackers
- Airheads Xtremes (ribbons or bites)
- Twizzlers, licorice ropes
- Colorful hard candies, such as Sprees, Skittles, SweeTarts
- Specialty gummy candies shaped as snowmen, Christmas trees, gingerbread men
- Peppermint candies, mini candy canes (if the kit doesn't already come with these)
Set the Table
We always buy plastic table covers in holiday colors. Trust me -- decorating the houses is messy, and these disposable tablecloths make for a super easy cleanup!
I like to set everything up at the kitchen table, but you can do this on your dining table if you have one.
Gingerbread kits often come with cake boards. If your does not, you can buy cake boards or use baking sheets. You'll want to use the gingerbread homes for your place settings.
Note - If your party is for little kids, you may want to set out separate candy and extra frosting for each guest.
That way, everyone has their own supplies to work with. No fighting, and it's easier and more sanitary for little hands to handle candy this way.
Since the kids are older, we set the candy out in small bowls. Paper bowls are fine!
Don't forget to play some of your favorite Christmas music to set the mood!
Set up a Food and Drink Station
We like to set up some of our favorite holiday party food on the kitchen island. You can make a food and drink station on a separate table if you need to.
We like to set up a decorating station, food and drink stations, and a hot chocolate bar complete with hot cocoa, whipped cream, and marshmallows--something for party guests and kids of all ages!
If you want to try a hot chocolate bar, you can make a large batch of Instant Pot hot chocolate or make it in your slow cooker or insulated coffee pot.
Of course, the teens love munching on chips, pretzels and soda pop! You can also keep it healthy with fresh veggies or this cute veggie Christmas wreath!
How to Transport
Your guests will want to take their beautiful houses home, right?
We think the best way to transport decorated gingerbread houses is to place them into small square aluminum trays.
This keeps the base of the gingerbread masterpiece protected, and it's very easy to carry. And if any candy falls off, it falls right into the tray!
Gingerbread decorating parties are always a lot of fun, and are a perfect way to get kids into the holiday spirit while indulging their creative side!
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