This is a tradition on my husband's side of the family. Years ago his dad made these great re-usable wooden "gingerbread" houses. Each year, often on Christmas eve, they bring out a little box of little sheets of wood, line up the notches and slide them together, and then decorate them like you would a regular gingerbread house...only it's great because they don't fall apart. :)
I have to admit, when I first partook of this tradition, I was highly skeptical to say the least. It seemed quite un-holly jolly to use wood and not real gingerbread. But I am now completely on the wood gingerbread house bandwagon. It is so easy to get them out, slide them together and decorate. Gone are the days of trying to get your own homemade gingerbread to stick together properly! And once decorated, they look perfectly like real gingerbread--the right color and everything.
Last year my father-in-law decided that all of his kids' families needed their own set, so he surprised us with some. Yay!
The kit is cut from 1/8-inch tempered hardboard that can be purchased at any local home improvement store/hobby store. Each house consists of 6 pieces: a front and a back, two sides, and roof panels.
The wood for each house costs about $1-$2, so not only are they sturdy, convenient and always available, they are also less expensive than a kit and even cheaper than baking ingredients to make your own. Win-win.
Here is the FREE TEMPLATE. Just print, trace, and cut!
(remember not to resize before you print)
Once cut and notched, they slide together really easily like this.
We find it easiest to decorate the houses without the roof, then add the roof last and decorate it.
When the holiday season is over, we simply scrape off all the stale candy into the garbage and wash them in warm soapy water, dry them, and pack them away for next year. Easy peasy.
We have loved having them. The kids always get super excited when they see the little box we keep them in.
It is one of our most favorite Christmas traditions--some years we even do it twice.
When we decorate them, we always place them on a tinfoil-covered piece of cardboard so that we have room to add lawn ornamentation if we're feeling in the mood.
Sometimes, we even make healthy versions. :)
Thanks Papa for making us these great wooden gingerbread houses! We will be loving them for years to come.