You've probably made gingerbread houses in all shapes and sizes through the years, but have you ever considered creating one that looks like your own home? Gather a group of friends, family, and kids for a gingerbread house-making party, and use a photograph of your home as inspiration for your gingerbread facade!
When you're done, upload your gorgeous creations into our gingerbread gallery.
If you're planning to make a 3-D gingerbread house rather than a facade, learn our foolproof method for assembly.
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Set your gingerbread house amidst a winter wonderland inhabited by gumdrop mushrooms and sugar creatures such as peppermint-candy snails.
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Place these candy Christmas carolers by the front door of your gingerbread house to add a jolly touch to the surroundings.
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These merry fondant snowmen will stand guard outside your cottage no matter how warm it gets in your kitchen!
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Add a few evergreen cookies -- or an entire forest -- to your wintry tableau. Extra cookie trees make a delicious snack for hungry home-builders.
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Martha's Holiday Tip: Make-Ahead Foods
Eliminate some holiday stress by making a few preparations ahead of time. Slice-and-bake cookies will keep in the freezer for up to three months and the logs of dough won't take too much space. When you need them, just thaw, slice, bake, and serve.
If you're making drop cookies, whether oatmeal or chocolate chip, you can freeze individual scoops on a cookie sheet and then transfer them to a freezer bag; they'll keep for up to three months as well.
There are also plenty of side dishes you can make ahead for holiday dinners. Several types of relish, including cranberry sauce, can be prepared a couple of days in advance; many actually get better after their flavors have had a chance to meld in the refrigerator. Gratins often can be assembled a day before baking; if you're using potatoes, make sure to cover them completely with cheese or other toppings to avoid browning. Even mashed potatoes can be prepared up to two hours before mealtime. The trick is to hold them in a heatproof bowl, covered with a lid or foil. Set the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water to keep them warm until serving time.
Have a simple cookie dough in your repertoire. With the arrival of each holiday, you can make new treats by changing the mix-ins, using such ingredients as zest, dried cherries, spices, or white chocolate and macadamia nuts.
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This Week's To-Dos
2. Make gingerbread house.
4. Buy stamps and mail Christmas cards.
5. Send online or print invitations for cookie swaps or holiday parties.
6. Make or buy candles for holiday table.
8. Make and freeze cookie dough.
9. Bake cookies if you're participating in a cookie swap.