I’m sure that I have mentioned it before, but I love gingerbread. It is one of my absolute favorite things about this time of year. I look forward to baking it, smelling it, eating it and my daughter and I have fun doing arts and crafts projects inspired by it. Here are some wonderful gingerbread inspired ideas to welcome in the holiday season.
Every year, we bake and make a gingerbread house. This year would be no different. We baked for two days straight, making batch after batch of gingerbread for our house.
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Our gingerbread house is going to be a replica of our house and ended up being a larger undertaking than we expected.
In between batches of gingerbread my daughter got antsy and made her own gingerbread out of construction paper. It came out so sweet and I loved her button accents.
I am a huge fan of gingerbread. Every year in November, I start gathering my supplies to build a big gingerbread house.
I know what you all are thinking. We have not even made it through Halloween yet, why are we already sharing Christmas crafts. Well, our first official snowfall just hit us in October. Our fireplace was lit for the first time this season and it was accompanied by hot cocoa with marshmallows.
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While digging out our marshmallows, I found an old bag of jumbo marshmallows which were just too big and soft to resist. Marshmallows make wonderful paint stamps and are just fun to paint with because of their soft, bouncy texture.
As you know, we are staying with my husband’s aunt as we await the completion of our home. There is a sweet 2-year-old that lives with her & my daughter & her have become two peas in a pod. My daughter has been taking on a big sister role. She has been trying to teach and at times gets a little bossy, but it is adorable to watch. They spend a lot of time drawing and reading together & I spend a lot of time doing both with them as well. Every time they draw together my little one always asks her friend “What are you drawing?” The answer is usually the same “a house”. She loves to draw houses.
Houses are fun & easy to make and with the holiday season approaching, when I think houses, I think gingerbread.
The idea was that I wanted the girls to make gingerbread house ornaments out of Popsicle sticks. My first design I liked, but it was more time-consuming than what I had wanted for a simple craft & I did not want to repeat it several times.
I made these simpler houses instead.
I asked the girls what color they wanted their houses.
I cut squares out of construction paper in the color of their choice & glued Popsicle sticks around them like shown.
I cut out a triangle for a roof & lined the sides with sticks as well.
I glued the square over the triangle as shown.
I glued a loop of yarn around the back of each for hanging. When all the glue was dry. I gave both children their houses & let them decorate. They used buttons & markers.
They both made lovely ornaments.
My daughter wanted to hang hers right away. We do have a tree yet, but we hung it on the door knob for her.
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“Run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me. I’m the Gingerbread Man.”
I know it is early & we have not even had Halloween yet, but always around this time of year my mind starts wandering to gingerbread. Why, you might ask? Because every year, I start getting ready to construct my annual holiday gingerbread house. Since it is usually a time consuming project, I typically start in the beginning of November.
Here is a gingerbread version of our old house from a few Christmases ago.
This year has been hectic with moving out of our house & waiting for the construction on our new home to finish. With all of this going on, a gingerbread house is not in the cards, but that can’t stop us from making some gingerbread crafts.
We are staying with relatives during our construction. We just so happen to be sharing a roof with a little girl, a little younger than Mai, who also enjoys crafts as much as we do. Last night the three of us worked on a couple simple crafts together.
Build a gingerbread man
This was a quick & easy craft for both children. The skill level will be different depending on age. I did this craft with a 2 & 3 year old.
What you will need:
Construction paper (brown & white)
Glue sticks or school glue
Draw & cut out a few gingerbread man shapes.
Cut wavy lines out of white construction paper for the icing for the arms & legs. Put those, googly eyes, buttons & pom poms on a plate to be used for decoration.
Give your child or children some glue & let them go…
Here was Mai’s original craft. She then decided that she wanted to draw in a tutu, ballet shoes and some hair as well.
Our other tiny crafter did a great job on hers as well.
And of course, mommy did one as well. I stole the rosy cheek idea from my daughter.
They both did great on their crafts, but before we picked up we squeezed in one more.
Footprint Gingerbread Men
I painted both children’s cute little tootsies in brown paint & pressed them onto a piece of paper one at a time.
I dipped a finger into the same paint & formed the arms on either side of each foot. With white paint, I added the icing to the arms & across the bottom of the feet.
We finished them off by drawing in the face, bow & buttons using magic marker. This will make a lovely holiday keepsake & a great memory for the kids of this time that they are sharing together.
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I realize that it is not even Thanksgiving yet. It’s not that I have anything against Thanksgiving because I have a lot to be thankful for, but I am overjoyed for this upcoming Christmas season. I understand that most do not like how early the holidays seem to come more & more each year, but for me I can’t wait, especially after having our daughter. Christmas is magical. The Christmas carols, the twinkling lights & the smells are all divine.
I am one of those people that have gotten into the spirit a little bit early, but I don’t care. My daughter doesn’t know any different. To her it is Christmas time already. This weekend we put on some Christmas carols & filled our house with the delicious smell of gingerbread. My daughter loves baking with mommy & she loves eating it too. One of the great things about gingerbread is it has the same consistency as Play-Doh. This of course made my Play-Doh obsessed daughter happy.
Gingerbread Christmas Trees
Bake your gingerbread. Here is the recipe that we used. Gingerbread Recipe
You will need star cookie cutters. Using different sized cookie cutters, cut out about 10 cookies. If you do not have 10 different cutters, you can improvise.
I had 5 cutters in various sizes. I cut two of each size, cutting one a little thicker than the other. I worked the thicker star out carefully using my fingers to make it a little bit larger than the first star.
On the smallest star I added a small point for the top of the tree.
Bake your cookies according to the recipe.
Make your icing while the cookies bake.
1 cup of confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp of milk
1/2 Tsp vanilla
Stir your ingredients together until smooth.
Stack the cookies from biggest to smallest. Use the icing to hold the pieces together. Stagger the star points so that they lined up every other cookie.
Drizzle icing over the top of the tree & add M&M minis or another candy of your choice.
As I said already the gingerbread dough has a similar consistency to Play-Doh. I let my daughter use the leftover dough to craft her own cookies.
She crafted these as birthday cakes for me & her. The birthday cakes looked a bit like a pile of something else that I don’t want to say, but otherwise they still tasted delicious. Mai iced up her cookies and they passed her taste test. The only problem was trying to wrestle away all of her cookie creations from her so that she didn’t eat them all.
We also made these cute little trees imparting the same concept of stacking the stars as with the cookie tree.
We cut out 10 different sized stars using foam sheets & cut out a hole in the middle of each big enough to fit around a toilet paper roll. Cut only a small hole in your top star & loop a pipe cleaner through it to for the peak of the tree. Attach 2 small foam stars to either end of the pipe cleaner. Paint a toilet paper roll & a Dixie cup (The Dixie cup will be used for your base. Let dry. Glue the toilet paper roll into the cup. Stack the stars from biggest to smallest over the toilet paper tube & glue the top star over the top of the toilet paper roll. Let dry & let your child decorate the tree with craft pom poms, yarn, cotton snow etc.
My child has very little concept of time. It is hilarious because she knows the names of the days of the week and she will use them with no real understanding of when that day actually is. She will reminisce about a something that happened weeks ago & retell it saying that it just happened yesterday. It is no surprise then that she does not have much of a grasp on the seasons or when the holidays fall. Most of the summer Mai had been asking me to make a gingerbread house. Trying to explain to my daughter that we were in the wrong season for gingerbread is pointless. Last week she was especially insistent, so what is a mommy to do? I promised her that we would make gingerbread houses. To keep with the theme of the season, we made haunted houses. I found this great recipe for pumpkin gingerbread online.
We doubled the recipe for our house.
I measured out the ingredients & handed them to Mai. She sang Patty Cake as she mixed & rolled out her dough. My girl loves to cook.
We drew out templates earlier in the day, stocked up on candy & made our icing.
2 eggs whites
1 box of confectioners sugar
Beat eggs until frothy & mix in the sugar until smooth. Add the icing to your piping bag.
As we were working with raw egg, I also used store bought icing for Mai to use when she decorated.
With the leftover gingerbread I rolled out a haunted tree.
After you have baked your gingerbread, be sure to trim and straighten edges. Cut out any windows or doors.
Generously apply icing & assemble your house. Use items around your house to hold your pieces upright and pushed together.
Once your house is assembled, you can start decorating. We used After 5 thin mints for our roof eaves
Mai helped out by decorating the tree with some M & Ms.
We added orange gum drop slices, gummy worms, candy corns, licorice whips, Hershey kisses, pumpkin Peeps, M&Ms & mini Kit Kats to our house.
While mommy was in charge of decorating the front, Mai got to do the sides. She hid M&M’s & gummy worms in the house through the windows. We gave her a bowl of icing to dip her candy in to make it easier. She dipped the candy in the icing & then decorated her face more than the house.
It was a lot of work, but it was a fun project for me & the munchkin. I can’t wait for Christmas now to do it again.