A tradition we have every year is that to close out our year we do an annual Gingerbread House Building and Decorating contest.

My husband and I are part of what is called a “life group” at our church.   Basically we meet every week for accountability, prayer and time to encourage and push each other to live according to the Bible.

Obviously you grow quite close with the people in your group and really experience doing “life” together.

When Did Gingerbread House Tradition start?

The tradition of building gingerbread houses is believed to have originated in the 16th century. It is believed that bakers in the city of Nuremberg, Germany, began creating elaborately decorated gingerbread houses as gifts for their friends and customers.

The gingerbread used to make these houses was typically made with honey, spices like cinnamon and ginger, and decorated with colorful candies and frosting.

Today, gingerbread houses remain a popular holiday tradition in many countries, including the United States. And we love it!


How To Organize a Gingerbread House Decor Contest

Step 1 – The supplies

Give each family, or group, or person if doing it individually, these same supplies:

  • A bag full of Royal Icing
  • Starlight mints (red & green)
  • M&M’s pretzel sticks
  • Pretzel squares
  • Gummy bears
  • Teddy grahams
  • 2 sleeves of graham crackers
  • Gummy rings
  • Mini candy canes
  • Hershey Kisses
  • Fruit Slices
  • Cardboard covered in tin foil

Step 2 – Set the Timer

Distribute all the supplies to the family and set the timer for 45 minutes.

The only rules are that you can’t use anything but what is on the table.

However, you can negotiate for more supplies with other families.

You also must include your family members in the process, that even means frosting covered 2 year olds!

gingerbread house building contest

Step 3 – Have Fun

Then we all talk smack about how each of us has the winning house while houses crumble, messes happen, and frosting and candy are everywhere.

gingerbread house decorating contest Some are in it to win it…

decorating gingerbread houses and some are just in it to eat the candy {giggle}.


Step 4 – The Winner is…

At the end, we give every family (5 families in ours) 5 slips of papers numbered 1-5.  

They then place a number next to each family’s house with 5 being the best (note: you can’t give your own family a “5”).

Then the family with the most points wins.

This year they happened to win a $25 gift certificate to Chick-Fil-A.

This is a tradition our family looks forward to every year…even if we tie for 2nd place Winking smilewith our “American Dream” house.


Gingerbread Ornament Ideas

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