Fancy decor isn't just for regular-size homes.
Give your house a focal point by adding a bright, holiday wreath. Use a ring-shaped cookie cutter to create one out of gingerbread, and then decorate with small candies you can apply with icing. Here, we used gumdrop slices, but you can also use M&Ms or colored sprinkles for a different look.
Pretzel rods line this house to give it extra rustic flair; use a serrated knife to "saw" them into the length you need. Then, pipe on frosting icicles with a pastry bag, and glue down to create a silver walkway.
Baking your masterpiece from scratch? Cut a star out of the cookie wall before popping it into the oven. Ten minutes before it's done, put crushed hard candies (like Jolly Ranchers) in the cutout and return it to the oven until candy bubbles and melts. Then, let cool.
Striped mints of all shapes adorn this house, but the standout is the shimmery green fruit leather, cut with a zigzag edge (use pinking shears to recreate the look). Little elves can choose their favorite color — or more than one!
1. Use a kit. The GH Test Kitchens recommend preassembled and unassembled ones from ; find similar houses at Walmart and Michaels. If you'd like to make a house from scratch, try this recipe.
2. Build ahead.The walls and roof can take hours to set. Preassembly will help appease eager junior decorators.
3. Make "mistakes." Encourage kids' creativity. The finished product shouldn't look like the too-perfect picture on the box.
4. Get handy. Broken or cracked gingerbread happens. Premixed icing, which comes with a piping bag, makes repairs easy.