The other day, Owen and 10 of some of his best buds and their mommas gathered at our house for a gingerbread house decorating party. Think Christmas party for adults but instead of booze, you put oodles of candy and sugary cereal at their fingertips. And after they’re all juiced up on simple carbohydrates, their moms drive them home, and then they sleep it off for a couple hours.
I cooked up this crazy idea a month or so ago, when I clearly had a lapse in sanity. But the party was a lot of fun, everyone had a great time, and their was very minimal crying.
Totally unrelated– yes, I got a new chrome light fixture for above the dining table. It sat in a box in our entryway for nearly 3 months (after I waited months for it to come back in stock) because I’m obviously winning at life right now. But more on it (and the table and chairs later).
Child-Sized Monogrammed Aprons
Because I’m a masochist, I decided to monogram red, child-sized aprons for all the kids. It was a tedious process, but the cuteness outweighed the quality time spent with my Xacto knife weeding iron-on vinyl and ironing the monograms onto the aprons.
I decorated the table and windows with leftover decorations from the gingerbread birthday party I helped throw for my friend’s daughter’s birthday last December. I also picked up two pre-built gingerbread houses from Target for $5 each and decorated them.
While I decorated my gingerbread houses the other day, Owen decorated this little one– spending an hour meticulously placing all of those candy beads. The only time he made a peep was to ask me for more “glue”.
I added two undecorated houses to the cake plate in case a kid broke their house mid-decorating. The red and white trees are ornaments I used in our kitchen last year for Christmas.
Assembling the Gingerbread Houses
I went with mini gingerbread houses because most of the attendees were 3 years old. And I think most 3 year olds only have the attention span to decorate a mini house. This theory proved to be true at the party. The kids did great but I think they would’ve really struggled to decorate full-size houses.
I bought a few different mini gingerbread house kits and assembled the houses with hot glue. Then, I piped white icing over the seams where any glue might be showing. I glued the houses to 8″ cake boards that came in a cookie plate set. When I placed the houses, I made sure to glue them toward the back of the board so the kids had room to decorate the front yard.
The Gingerbread House Decorations
Each mom brought a candy or cereal for the kids to use for decorations. We had Dots, Fruity Loops, star brite mints, Crunch Berries, snowflake candy decorations, marshmallows, jelly beans, M&Ms, gum drops, Smarties, Nilla wafers, and Peep Christmas trees. I didn’t want sprinkles bouncing all over my floors so those were banned.
When it came to decorating the houses, I handed the mom’s bags of icing and they went around and added icing to the gingerbread houses. Then, the kids would add the candies of their choice.
I set up a ‘candy processing station’ on one end of our island so moms could open up their candy and place the candy in little cups.
Here’s Owen’s masterpiece:
Qdoba graciously reached out and offered to cater the gingerbread house decorating party, which was a lifesaver. It took all the stress of menu planning, shopping for food, and cooking away– especially after Owen got sick on Monday morning and I ended up postponing the party a day. And when I called my Qdoba store and asked if we could push things back a day they were very accommodating.
They even delivered AND set it up everything (for additional fee, but well worth it).
The chips and queso were a big hit.
I’ll definitely use Qdoba catering again because the food was delicious, and it was a seamless process.
The drink station wasn’t too frilly– lemonade, grape juice boxes, and bottled water.
Apologies mom friends– if I can’t day drink in my home, neither can you. It’s called ‘fairness’.
I didn’t really decorate the kitchen for Christmas. But I did manage to hang a preserved boxwood wreath, set out a couple red and black buffalo plaid cutting boards, candy cane trees, and my incomplete letterboard. (I’ve given up searching for the Y.)
Taking the Gingerbread Houses Home
I purposely went with the cookie trays so the gingerbread houses could be bagged up and easily carried to/from cars.
The afternoon ended with the kids playing throughout the house. Later that night, when we got back from the Christmas at the Zoo, I heard the alarm clock in the guest bedroom going off. I can only conclude that a pint-sized party goer snuck in there and activated it.
My kid managed to end up sitting inside a basket while snacking on Nilla wafers with his buddy. These kids party hard.
Thanks again to Qdoba for providing all the delicious food!