A Sweet Celebration

In honor of my older sister’s birthday and to celebrate her new home and soon-to-be new family, I attended a very sweet, very creative holiday celebration. This celebration was my oldest sister (Katie) and her fiance’s (Joe) first official “dinner party” and they rocked it out of the park!

She and Joe invited my family and Joe’s family over to eat, drink, and…. build gingerbread houses! It was a brilliant concept that allowed new families to bond over a sweet task while gossiping about all things wedding. How could she go wrong?

Katie would never admit that she enjoys anything that involves crafts, home decor, or being creative, but if you ask me, I think she’s scamming us because she has definitely become quite the undercover Martha Stewart lately. Check out this creative set-up we were welcomed with…

Maybe it was just me, but I was super excited to roll up my sleeves and get sticky in the name of decorating! Family, holiday tunes and a craft…. what more could a girl ask for on a Saturday night?!

We mingled, explored the holiday changes to their brand new home, and ate a delicious meal prepared by our fabulous future brother-in-law.
Here’s a new addition to Katie’s holiday decor compliments of her favorite little sister (sorry, Maggie). It’s a Wonderful Life is Katie’s all time favorite movie, so it was a no-brainer that I had to think of some way to incorporate this classic into her holiday decor.
Here’s a picture of my dad and the hostess checking out Katie’s first Christmas Village in her new house. The village has always been Dad and Katie’s Christmas “thing”. They spent countless hours setting up this same village (on a much larger scale) in our parent’s house so it was fun watching my dad have a wow-you’re-on-your-own-and-I’m-so-proud-of-you moment.
DIY Village
After the sentimental train left the station, we sat down for dinner. The group’s My anticipation for the gingerbread decorating was mounting, but dinner was the perfect distraction.
 
And after a delicious dinner, the time had come! We partnered up, got our supplies and got to work. Because we were instructed to wear ugly sweaters, we didn’t need aprons. But I would recommend providing your guests with aprons if they are wearing anything but an ugly sweater.
Wilton gingerbread Kit
Each partnership received a pizza tray to build on (compliments of a local pizza parlor), a Wilton Gingerbread Kit, and extra frosting for construction purposes.  I would highly recommend the Wilton Kit because it provided enough frosting. Plus the frosting did what it was supposed to: hold the house together. The kit also came with a piping bag, a decorating tip, and plenty of candy. You can pick up these kits at any local JoAnn Fabric Store.
Gingerbread decorating
Our organized hosts provided even more candy for us all to share, which was the perfect touch! With all these supplies ready… we had no choice but to get to work.
Wilton Gingerbread
Gingerbread decorating Party
We built and decorated the houses all in one step. If you wanted more reliable construction, I would recommend pre-building the houses to ensure the icing is nice and dry.
My mom had an unfair advantage that she failed to tell the soon-to-be in laws. As a former bake shop manager, her piping skills were far beyond rookie status.
Decorating Party
I think Ms. Martha Stewart did a little research/practicing before hosting this party. Her house was far from beginner level decorating and ironically, her house was the only one pre-built. Hmmm… 
Wilton Decorating Party
Our little sister is a full time culinary teacher, so I think she also had quite an advantage. I’m suspicious that she reviewed Gingerbread decorating techniques this week in Baking 101. Check out her master piece… 
DIY Gingerbread
I love this little photo-op. The future Mr. and Mrs. Smith getting some valuable advice from the more experienced Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Newlywed Gingerbread
Overall, the night was a blast! Although we don’t have any little ones running around, we all still loved the childish tradition. Here are some close-ups of the final products… you be the judge.
Decorating Party
Candy Decorating
Here’s a model of the “barn” Joe and Katie will be getting married in this summer. See what I mean about the bake shop piping skills?
Gingerbread Wedding
Candy Decorating
And here is why it may be important to build and let dry before decorating…
What not to do when decorating gingerbread houses
Wilton Decorating Party
I think Gingerbread Decorating Parties can be perfect for any age group and any holiday party! Whether it be a birthday party, new home celebration, family get together, date night, couples challenge, or just the icing on top of an ugly sweater extravaganza… you can’t go wrong with gingerbread. All ages, skill levels, and creative minds welcome.
If you are participating in a “sweet celebration” like this, I will leave you with a few key tips that I learned…
1. Plan ahead – I think I would be far more proud of my little house if I had an idea of what I wanted to do before I started decorating. On the other hand, the randomness of this project makes it fun too!
2. Be different – between the green frosting and the wedding tribute, the unique touches are what made these houses a success.
3. Don’t be afraid to get sticky! (And if you’re hosting… don’t be afraid if your kitchen gets sticky)
4. Mix up your teams. We partnered up with our +1’s, but for a party like this, I think it could be fun to mix up the couples and draw random partners. This would spice up the crowd and allow each of you to learn a little bit more about someone else in the crowd.
5. Have fun – take advantage of the time you have crafting with people that may not love crafts as much as you do. You may be able to recruit a few new DIY-ers along the way!
Based on the outcome of my little house, I still have a lot to learn about DIY Gingerbread between now and next Christmas. Thank goodness I have a lot of time to research and practice! How do you perfect your Gingerbread house? What tips do you have for me? What are your gingerbread traditions?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone

Leave a Comment