Decorating Gingerbread Houses with Your Kids! - Pretty Real

Decorating Gingerbread Houses with Your Kids!

10:53 AM

Decorating gingerbread houses is one of my absolute favorite traditions! So much so that I often put pressure on it to make it perfect which I've learned is the fastest way to kill a fun tradition. ha. The funny thing is, when I share photos of the kids decorating gingerbread houses, the comments and questions I get assures me that I'm not alone! Some of you have literally given up. We can't have that! I thought I'd share how we tackle this fun tradition. Here are my top tips for decorating gingerbread houses with kids!

I started this tradition while the kids were toddlers and let me tell you- watching your toddlers wield various colors of icing (for us, it's always in the living room or 3 steps away from it- hashtag smallspaceliving) isn't for the faint of heart. Here are some things I've learned along the way.

First, early on I had the kids wear pajamas for a few reasons. 1) it's cute IRL and in photos. 2) it feels special to tell them to put on Christmas pajamas as part of the "get dressed" instruction and 3) They tend to be red/colorful and wash well so you can worry a little less about stains.

Secondly, get each kiddo their own house. For years I had them decorate a shared house. Um what was I thinking?  This tradition isn't the right time to force lessons about sharing. ha! One house per kid is so much easier. Sure, I'm having to help 3 of them separately and it costs a bit more but it's worth no melt downs (primarily mine). 

Third, if you really want to be fancy, buy premade houses like we did last year. GAME CHANGER. In fact, as I type this I'm realizing I meant to do that this year too but already picked up these! oops. Aside from red and green candy all over the place, assembling the houses is the hard part so when that's done? easy peasy! If you choose to buy the kits, I prefer these over these! I'd love to hear which kits you prefer though!

Fourth, get everything all set up before inviting the kids to join. Get all your toppings out, get your kits as much as you can before getting started. That way there's less "no wait!" "Not yet!" "No, not like that!" Man I'm sounding extra but I know I'm not alone. Plus getting it all set up is what makes it cute!

Fifth: consider timing. At the end of a busy, sugar filled day may not be ideal. I do it in the late morning once the kids are home from school for break. Then I feel like I can take my time. 

Sixth and final tip? Realize the joy is in the traditions. You're bound to get one cute photo of them even if you don't try so hard (probably especially if you're not trying so hard). And it should be fun so if it's not feeling fun it's probably our attitude and expectations. Just relax, put on some Christmas music, assume there will be a mess when it's over, and realize they'll cherish this tradition for years to come. Any frustration or hiccups along the way will only make the stories funnier and the memories fonder. 

Bonus Tip: speaking of photos, I try to get good pictures. While it can add to the pressure, I love that we can look back on these and the kids literally pour over our Chatbooks weekly- especially the holiday editions. So, now that your kids are lookin all cute in their Christmas pjs, set up your gingerbread house table by a window, and make sure you're between the light (window) and the kiddos. Basically the light should be falling on the kids. Try to turn off yellow overhead light and just use light from the window. This is another pro for doing it during the day. Evening photos can look fun too bit they're just a bit harder to pull off. If you're photo has portrait mode, use that. Oh, and make the kids stand as close together as you can- heads together is the cutest! 
PS- Some people recommend gluing them but the kids actually eat theirs. But if you don't, gluing them together seems to be the most frustration free method!

Sources (affiliate links included)
Light up trees- green and white
Our Christmas PJs are usually from here, here, or here

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