Ever wondered where the Christmas gingerbread house tradition originated? To be honest – I’ve never decorated one, so I’ve never really given it much thought. My mother-in-law recently bought us one (from Target & they still have some available!), so I thought my toddler and I would attempt the tradition & take you along for the ride!
Before we get crafty – let’s talk a little bit about where the tradition actually came from. According to Kat Eschner with Smithsonian Magazine, the tradition dates back to the story of Hansel and Gretel. You can read her full story here:
Although brothers Grimm did not invent the gingerbread house, their folktale did, however, help popularize it. They date all the way back to the 1600s, which is a few centuries after gingerbread itself emerged. The gingerbread house, or “lebkuchenhaeusle,” was brought to the Americas by early German settlers, with the gingerbread-house building contests in the US resembling the gingerbread fairs hosted during the Middle Ages.
Now that you have a little background, let’s get decorating! Everyone who has a toddler knows that crafts of any kind can get – uh- a little messy. So, to help aid in clean up when it’s all said and done, I taped a trash bag to the top of our toddler’s table.
The kit we had was already pre-built & came with a big piping bag of extra icing, so all I had to do was purchase some candy to decorate. When buying, make sure you only get candy that your toddler can eat or that you don’t mind them eating. I also recommend grabbing candy from the dollar store – minus what they’ll be shoving in their little mouths, it’s just going to get stale in the end, so why pay extra? The dollar store had gingerbread man cookies which look so cute “standing” outside of their house! I set the house and “decorations” on the table and helped where needed, but basically, let her loose!
This was such a fun activity and didn’t take too long to do – attention spans are short around here, so our house looks a little barren – but nonetheless, cute!
Have fun a make sure you tag us on social if you make one – we’d love to see it!