Bonding Over Sugar

Gingerbread kids have invaded our home. My daughter’s first grade class has adopted Gingerbread Fred as its holiday mascot, and for four days straight she begged me to make him a brother, and a sister, and a dog.

I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to fit baking a band of brothers and sisters for a cookie kid into my already tight pre-Christmas schedule. However, thanks to some creative reconfiguring I was able to grant my daughter’s wish. Not only did we bake some sweet siblings for Fred, but we also were able to construct him a gingerbread and candy castle.

If you are looking for a fun and festive project to work on with your kids as you countdown to Christmas, I would highly recommend making a gingerbread house. Bonding over chocolate and cookies, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Here’s what we used to decorate Fred’s house:




*Chocolate chips

*Jelly beans

*Candy canes



*Colored mini marshmallows


*Gummy bears

*Frosted animal crackers



*Coconut flakes

*Chex cereal


We used simple vanilla frosting as “glue,” though you could use powdered sugar mixed with some milk to adhere the candies and other treats to the house. In addition, I made sure to keep the house on a cookie sheet during the decorating process to cut down on the mess.

If you live in a very humid climate, you might consider adding some supplemental supports to the inside of the house to keep it upright while you are decorating it. Ideally, you should let your gingerbread house sit overnight before embellishing it, though that may be very hard to do if you have young children who are dying to get their hands on the cookie creation.

Another tip: Don’t use large or heavy pieces of candy to decorate the roof of your gingerbread house. We made this mistake and had to add a bunch of “snow” to cover up the hole in Fred’s roof. Mini chocolate chips work best on delicate rooftops. Popcorn and colored marshmallows are other great alternatives to heavier peppermints and jelly beans.

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Rich Parents Doing Away with Expensive Holiday Gifts

Parents and Christmas Firsts

What Do You Do With Pictures of Other People’s Kids?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.