Yesterday the girls and I spent from 8:30 AM-5:30 PM making graham cracker gingerbread houses. We do this each year with homeschooling friends…one of our favorite Christmas traditions!
This is a craft that can be as detailed and intricate as you want it to be. Using graham crackers instead of gingerbread takes a lot of the headache out of the process, making it very “mom” friendly!
Over the years I’ve made these fun little houses in many sizes and themes. If you want a fun and easy version go here or here. For this version, you can use as few as 3 full graham crackers per child. Here’s another cute site with several to look at.
For a more impressive version, you’d have to get Traditional Christmas Cooking, Crafts & Gifts by Cy DeCosse. There’s a several page spread in there with diagrams to help you make a fancy town…
We start by combining our efforts with another family or two. We decide which candies each family will buy, and then we pool all of them together for the maximum effect!
Here are some of our favorites:
- miniature candy canes (for stair rails up into churches or for “props” to hold up a 1/4 graham cracker door overhang)
- normal sized candy canes (these are cute stuck in snow icing with a gumdrop stuck to the curved end–ta-da: a lamp-post!)
- wafer cookies–the rectangular kind (we make benches out of them–to put under the lamp-posts. Use sugar cubes for the bench “feet”. You can also use wafers to make shutters for your windows, or to line the roof of store-front type buildings such as the General Store in the the book I linked above)
- Gumdrops (flattened and cut to fit, these make great window panes. Cut them in different shapes/sizes and make stained glass windows for your town’s church)
- Sugar cones (steeple for the church, or frost with green icing and decorate for Christmas trees)
- Red and Green M&M’s
- Red hot cinnamon candies
- Peppermint hard candies (great stepping stones to your bench)
- Hershey Kisses
- Cereals: Grape nuts for gravel pathways, Shredded Wheat for hay bales, Chex for shutters
- Pretzels–straight ones for porch railings, miniature rounded ones for fences around the yard, simply stick them in snow frosting
- Marshmallows–use toothpicks to make snowmen out of these, or cut them into small pieces and pile in the yard for snowballs
- Red and Green sugar, or candy sprinkles to shake on snowy rooftops
You get the idea…
Each family also needs to bring cardboard bases to be covered with tin foil. We like to use Cinnamon Graham Crackers because the darker cracker looks more authentic for buildings. Plan on one box per house, if you’re tackling a large one.
For icing, you can buy meringue powder at any cake decorating store or in that section at Wal-Mart and follow the instructions inside for Royal Icing. Or, an easier and quicker way, is to use white Almond Bark. Melt it in the microwave and pipe it, or spread it with a knife to “caulk” your house seams together.
Yesterday we made the house w/yard, the church and the general store pictured above. On Saturday we’ll be taking them to our local rest home for their visual enjoyment!
And yes, I’ll try to find a pic of last years to post here sometime soon!