Discovering Gingerbread Houses

by Sienna Wildfield

Hartsbrook Winter Fair 2007-8

Gingerbread houses at the Hartsbrook Fair in Hadley, MA. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Every year I send my parents a gingerbread house for their solstice dessert party, complete with their last name iced on the front door. The door with their name is left for the host and hostess, but by the end of the evening, their guests have demolished the rest of the house, leaving behind little red hots and coconut snow. It’s become a fun tradition. If you’re looking to make a gingerbread house for the holidays, check out A Charming Candy Cottage over at where Kari von Wening, the owner of Takes the Cake Bakery in Pasadena, CA, gives instruction on how to make your very own. Included in the instructions are a shopping list, template and an illustrated tutorial.

Gingerbread House Auctions at Hartsbrook (c) Hilltown Families

Gingerbread houses at the Hartsbrook Fair in Hadley, MA. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

At the Hartsbrook Winter Fair in Hadley, MA, they always have an auction of gingerbread houses (and libraries, castles, churches, windmills …) that the families have made (photos featured with this post are from the auction). Structures that can be made out of gingerbread are only limited by your imagination. Over at they give directions and a template on how to make a gingerbread sleigh. On they give instructions on how to make an A-Frame, Colonial, Saltbox, and Side Gable houses. And if you really want to get inspired, on there are over 400 photos posted to the Gingerbread House Showcase.


Another option to making a gingerbread house is to make a miniature graham cracker house. Every one in the family can make and decorate their very own. offers instructions on how to make this miniature version, as does with a few photo images.

Gingerbread houses at the Hartsbrook Fair in Hadley, MA. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)


If you or your kids have allergies and want to make a gingerbread house, check out Only Sometimes Clever’s gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and peanut-free gingerbread house recipe, or you can buy an allergy-free gingerbread kit from


I’ve put together a list of cookbooks for families interested in making their own gingerbread creations at home. If you do make one, take a photo and send it our way to share with our readers:


There are a number of variations on the Gingerbread Man story available to read with your kids. Here’s a list of suggested titles:


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