I thought I would take the time to share with you one of my favorite Christmas traditions (other than the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service).
Every year for the past 4 years in our Indiana town, our three neighbor girls come over (even now, and they’ve moved away) to decorate graham cracker houses. Our first year we used a gingerbread house kit and each kid took a side of the house (and yard) to decorate (Kid #2 was only a baby).
Each year it has morphed and changed to become what it is today. We ditched the kit for a more hands-on approach that allows us to add our own touches that much easier (and cheaper). My husband, Jeremy, spends a bit of time designing and putting together simple graham cracker houses complete with plenty of yard space. We use the gingerbread house glue, recipe below, to attach the houses to cardboard.
Make Your Own Graham Cracker House and Frosting
We raid the leftover Halloween candy. Somehow, we end up with a large amount. I guess we just aren’t big candy eater. We make good use of stale marshmallows and pretzels and purchase anything else we may need. For the few months before the holiday, I save it all. Then? I break out the muffin tins and we put each decorative element into its own cup.
It makes it easy for the kids to see what we’ve got at a glance–and we can easily see if we need to do any refills. It’s so much fun. We play Christmas music and chatter and just have a super good time.
Afterward, I like to break out the sugar cookies and let everyone decorate. It’s a decorating extravaganza in our house. Since these sugar cookies are meant for eating, I set out tinted buttercream frosting, sprinkles, and plenty of cooling racks so there’s room for the creations to set. We let the kids bring some home with them, too. If you love to bake, do make some of my favorite Christmas cookies. They are fantastic. Playing, eating, laughing, talking–now that’s a great holiday memory.
Graham Cracker House or Gingerbread House Glue or Royal Icing
Not any icing will do–and this recipe for Royal Icing, otherwise known as graham cracker house glue, is tough. It dries quickly and makes a ton–so your house and yard can be decorated with ease.
I tint a few bags of icing in whatever colors received the most votes. I pick out a few fun tips from my grandfather’s decorator tips (he was a baker) and let the kids go to town. The table ends up coated in colors. Sprinkles fly everywhere. I think even the cat ends up tinted and sprinkle-coated by the end of it.
But it’s so much fun and a highly anticipated holiday tradition–for all of us.
Here’s the graham cracker house glue recipe we used last year. We have tried something different every year but this one is a keeper. It holds so well you will think it really was glue. Source unknown.
Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is Little Indiana.
Just don’t forget to tell them that Little Indiana sent you.