Holiday House Happenings

PORTER FAMILY GINGERBREAD HOUSE DECORATING CONTEST

7.5 Gingerbread House Decorating Ideas / 7thhouseontheleft.com

Greetings! Greg and I hope everyone had a great week filled with Christmas fun and holiday cheer! We’ve been a little MIA over the holiday because we’ve been down in Florida with my side of the family. We can’t even begin to say how much fun we’ve had and how nice it has been to take a break. We so needed this. Since we took time off, we have some catching up to do in the post department – but all of that will come in due time. Later, we thought we’d do a quick post a little more on the “life” side of things with a rundown of our Christmas break. For now, we’re talking gingerbread houses! As I mentioned in this post, this year our family had a gingerbread house decorating contest. I’m not going to divulge whose house is whose, but I will tell you mine didn’t turn out quite as expected… there was an “earthquake” involved (hint, hint!).

7.5 Gingerbread House Decorating Ideas / 7thhouseontheleft.com

We started out with eight pre-made gingerbread houses from Target and laid a plastic table cloth on my grandparent’s dining table. We put all of our candy in clear plastic cups and bowls down the center of the table. Once everything was set up, it was time to decorate! Eight ladies of our family each had their own house and we spent nearly 3 hours decorating away and having a blast. It was so. much. fun. Once the houses were decorated, we lined them up on the bar in my grandparent’s kitchen. They were such a hit and surprisingly so widely talked about in this little part of Tampa, that we even had a few groups of people from my grandparents’ church stop by just to check them out. For more photos of our little gingerbread decorating party, check out our Instagram. Without further ado, our houses…

7.5 Gingerbread House Decorating Ideas / 7thhouseontheleft.com

So, that’s the tour of our 8 gingerbread houses – well, 7.5 if you count mine (still hanging my head in shame). Other than my house, it’s so funny how our family can see everyone’s personality in their houses. If you know my family, I think it’s safe to say you’ll be able to figure out whose gingerbread house is whose. So, now it’s time for the anticipated point of the process… the voting! We aren’t awarding an official prize other than “bragging rights”, but if you come from a big family, you know that “bragging rights” go a long way, haha.

[poll id=”2″]

My family had an incredibly fun time doing this and we’re already getting excited about next year’s gingerbread house decorating festivities. We went as far as to make a few notes about things we would do differently next year. 1) We’re planning on making our own icing and using icing bags. In the middle of decorating, we ran out of icing and had my dad and our cousin, David, run to Walgreen’s for a icing run. We also have an inkling that homemade icing will firm up faster and we’ll be able to make it as firm or runny as we need. 2) Lazy susans! Over the next year, we’re going to be on the hunt for inexpensive lazy susans (maybe these) to sit our houses on while we’re working on them. This will make the decorating process a lot more convenient. 3) Another thing we want to do is have everyone bring a pair of scissors. My mom also said she was going to bring tweezers next time to do more detailed features. 4) Next year, I’m buying a lot less candy. I ended up spending around $100 on candy, tools and icing. (Yeah, I know.) We had gobs and gobs of candy left over and I learned my lesson.

This is definitely a Christmas tradition that’s here to stay. It’s so neat to take a tradition that started in college and carry it on with the rest of the family. We’ll be back later with a rundown of our break!

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    lesley
    December 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    This is such a fun idea! I love it and it was so hard to choose just one! Lesley

  • Reply
    Lisa C
    December 30, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Since I assume no one will actually eat their house, is it possible to buy candy throughout the year on sale? You might end up with a wider assortment for less money. Although the downside would be not as much munching during the decorating! Great job!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      December 30, 2013 at 8:23 pm

      That’s a great idea!

  • Reply
    Emily
    December 30, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    I was so looking forward to this post! It was hard to pick just one for the best cottage… I really liked 3 of them!

  • Reply
    Mary
    December 30, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    I love these!!! I have to bookmark this post; we have an annual party with a gingerbread decorating contest!

    We actually had to change the rules this year to rein in some of the insanity that was happening (last years winner was a detailed nativity built by an architect). People always think it’s crazy, but the first year they come they understand.

    • Reply
      Mary
      December 30, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      Oh, and I use meringue powder, powdered sugar and water for my frosting. My sister was here (and, um, trying to eat the houses for snack) and was annoyed everything stuck so well!

      • Reply
        Ashley
        December 30, 2013 at 8:25 pm

        Oooh, Must remember that for next year 🙂

    • Reply
      Ashley
      December 30, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      That sounds amazing!

  • Reply
    K.K. Holmes
    December 30, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    What a fun post! I’ve always wanted to make a gingerbread house but have never been bold enough to step out and try it. Your family has bviously been doing this for awhile. Impressive:)

  • Reply
    Amanda
    December 30, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    This is such a fun family tradition! I really like #2 & #3 for very different reasons. I ended up voting for #2 (as it seems most people are)! I love your portico! So sad it crashed but it looked good while it was still alive. I love the chimney in #8, it’s so creative. I’m going to try and get this going with my family! Would love to know whose is who’s when you announce the winner! So jealous you’re in WDW. Would love to have done that!

  • Reply
    Melanie
    December 30, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    I love how different each one is!

  • Reply
    Hollie @ I'm Busy Procrastinating
    December 30, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    I’ve never made a gingerbread house, but I just know my bunco group would have a fun time of it. I’ll have to suggest it for next year!

  • Reply
    Michelle Collazo
    December 31, 2013 at 1:26 am

    IKEA has really cute lazy susans…wooden, large surface area…probably around $10 each? I bought one for my dining room table. Love it for company:)

    The houses are so cute! ALL so very creative!

  • Reply
    Melanie
    December 31, 2013 at 4:24 am

    Looks like so much fun! You’re so blessed to be able to visit grandparents. I’m 26 but my grandparents have all passed away. 🙁 Hope you made some sweet memories together! So thankful for the family that I do have!

  • Reply
    Valerie
    December 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Hi Ashley! I follow your blog and couldn’t help but notice the name and location that you mentioned. My grandparents were Porters and I live in the Tampa area, like Durant, Dover, Seffner, etc. Curious to know if we might be remotely from the same family tree. I know my Papa had a LOT of brothers and sisters. Would love to hear from you, but if you would rather not disclose family names I understand. Hope you and yours have a very Happy New Year!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      December 31, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      Haha! Very cool : ) Our Porters came from Phenix City, Alabama and migrated to Indianapolis then to Florida.

  • Reply
    Tina
    January 1, 2014 at 12:49 am

    cool houses! try thrift stores for the lazy susans, and meringue powder for the icing/

  • Reply
    Pam
    January 1, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    I really love this idea. Maybe I can do this with family and friends next year.

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