The Gingerbread Disaster


Ever start one of those projects and silently cry “Why, oh why did we do this? If only we could go back in time 10 minutes ago when my kitchen was spotless and I’d just mopped…why???”


Then you remember “oh yeah, because my mom brought up gingerbread kits for my kids and started the mess while I was out shopping because she thought it would be fun.”


Every year we make these houses, trains, trees oh my! And EVERY year we vow to make the formation of the object and allow it to dry BEFORE letting the kids decorate.


And every year we forget to do that and end up with a house with a roof that slides off and a train that leans like the Tower of Pisa.DSC03695

This year we had the added pleasure of a small, okay large, icing snafu which resulted in white icing all over, and I mean ALL OVER my kitchen. I think at one point I decided we were going to have to throw out my kitchen table and bring in the big sander for the floor. (Which isn’t all bad, I’ve been wanting to re-stain my wood floor a lighter color anyway.)

I didn’t take pictures of the floor, it was too hard to see through the camera lens with the gluey mixture of tears and self-hardening icing.

Oh, and I have to remember that it wasn’t all a total failure, we did have the trees, the beloved flat stacking trees that my 4 year old was able to do virtually unattended!


So I chalk this one up to the failed craft heaven, and next year I vow to do graham cracker houses instead…or not.


  1. This is how gingerbread houses have always been for us. We even have trouble with those trees. That's why this year when I went to a gingerbread house workshop and the houses were already assembled, I wanted to throw myself on the floor, weeping tears of joy, and kiss the feet of whoever assembled the 200+ gingerbread houses! They should definitely be candidates for sainthood. I had to settle for leaving a gushing note of gratitude as the the assembly people had spent all night assembling the houses and were spending the day sleeping it off.

  2. Looks like they had a great time! And it all comes off with a little water ;)I'm sure you did the same for your mom, and when you're a grandma guess what you'll be bringing the grandkids 😉

  3. I can relate…. but at least you got a good post out of it! 😉 AND, your children have those precious memories.

  4. So funny! We actually hot glue ours together and then add icing behind them. Works like a charm, no sliding ever!

  5. My birthday falls before Christmas so every year my mom would put together graham cracker houses and set out all the candy and the icing and let us girls go to town. While she was redoing her dining room table(28 years later) she kept finding the icing on the bottom of our table where we had wiped it off of our hands. I have started this tradition with my own kids but we use a vinyl table cloth. Sigh… Memories.

  6. I switched to decorating a giant gingerbread man cookie. It is much less mess and we actually get to eat it afterwards. I may try the houses when my kids are a couple of years older. However, the fact that the train box said they had an online tutorial scared me off. I am crafty – but if I need an online tutorial to assemble, then that project might be one that causes more me stress instead of being fun. Merry Christmas Erica! Thank you for all you do. My little guy loved the Christmas pre-k pack!Liz

  7. I do graham cracker houses with my childcare kiddos every year. I buy Wilton frosting at Walmart because it dries like concrete. I assemble the houses at night (did 8 this past Sunday) using the bottle of frosting because it has a tip that makes assemby a breeze. I even "glue" it to a paper plate. The next day I use the tub of Wilton frosting and popsicle sticks as spreaders…the decorating makes hardly any mess at all!

  8. The same scenario has played out in our house for a few years. This year, I assembled the house the night before, and then threw away the frosting from the kit and used the nice cans of spreadable frosting. It hardens, but not as quickly. My three year old had lots of fun with it this year. You can see here luck next year and Merry Christmas!

  9. Ha! Ha! great pics though!This year we decorated our box..uh I mean 'Gingerbread House' with stickers and crayons…Still a mess but no sugar highs!

  10. Just found your blog by googling for preschool Christmas crafts – and I have to laugh because we tried our first gingerbread house yesterday, and…yeah…what an adventure. Lol! One thing I did learn from another blog great was to hot glue the gingerbread pieces together for added strength – worked great!

  11. I teach preschool to 10 lovely children and I assemble 10 little graham cracker houses for them to decorate. I, too, have moved past icing and onto hot glue. I've done it for 2 years now and it is so much better. No one likes to eat that hard gingerbread anyway- it's the candy that they are after. The other thing I did this year for my own children is buying the Wilton house that comes all put together right out of the box. I don't want to ever have to put one of those "easy to assemble" houses together again!

  12. We were planning to make our gingerbread train tonight but after seeing your mess…well I am just not so sure LOL. Cute pics 😉

  13. We do the kits too and this year I actually remembered to glue the sides together first. HOWEVER, much to my surprise, when I went to pull the pieces out THE HOUSE WAS ALREADY PUT TOGETHER!! The same box I get every year from Costco but the entire thing (except the tree) was put together ready to be decorated. Brilliant!!

  14. We only did it once, and everything turned out great. We decided it was a waste though, and haven't done them again. 🙁

  15. Yikes! =( At least the tree came out great! and you got something to blog about.

  16. Did the kids have fun? The trees look great :)I always prep the house the night before so it's hard as a rock. Although I only have 1 kiddo.

  17. Aaah HOT GLUE! YES!

  18. We had a gingerbread disaster last year so this year I used hot glue. Worked like a charm.

  19. Awww, they're adorable! I use white chocolate melted in a fondue pot instead of royal icing. Once the chocolate solidifies, you could throw it against the wall and it wouldn't break.

  20. ha, ha so sounds like a "fun" project my mom would start with the kiddos;-) We didn't do gingerbread houses this year though;-( Merry Christmas!

  21. LOVE! 🙂

  22. Haha! Great photos! That is how the cinnamon and appleasause ornaments went for us! Thanks for all you do with your blog! It is very appreciated. Happy New Year! Kerri

  23. I don't think the trees look that bad. LOL! The icing on the table, on the other hand… I know that's like cement. That must have taken a long time to clean up.

  24. How funny! I am so glad that our Grandma isn't the only one who does this in our family. Nana purchases a kit every year and starts it also and doesn't finish it and I wind up pulling the project together also! Although I start out with a grimace when I see the kit, the kids love it every year and it winds up being a wonderful family activity… and never, ever, ever comes close to the pictures on the box… but the kids think they look wonderful and are always so proud of their work!Kyle

  25. We have the same problem every year. So next year I have a new plan. I found the idea at ButterYum's blog. I am going to make actual mini gingerbread cake houses and decorate those and then we can eat them!

  26. this post made me laugh out loud! that's totally what would happen in my house if we tried making gingerbread houses. they would so not be pretty looking!

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