How to Host a Gingerbread House Party
A party that combines candy, cookies, cocktails, and creativity — is there a better recipe for holiday fun?
You might think gingerbread parties are for kids, but I asked a group of grown-up friends to get together for a sugar-fueled afternoon of house-building, and it was a blast — laughing, getting messy, and snacking on candy are definitely not kids-only activities! Throw in some appropriately themed cocktails, and it’s definitely an adult celebration. Here’s how to throw a Gingerbread House Party of your own.
How it Works
Who: Limit your invitation list to four to eight friends — two people can share the decorating of one gingerbread house if they can play nicely together. This activity requires some room to spread out, so don’t invite more people than you have space for at the table. I had a total of eight, and we fit cozily around my dining table, with two to a house.
When: In a busy holiday season full of dinners and late night celebrations, this is a party that works well on a winter afternoon. I scheduled mine on a Sunday, making it easier to fit into hectic social schedules.
Stock up on the party necessities:
I started with Gingerbread Chalet Kits for each guest or couple. Each one comes with a plastic tray in which the house pieces are assembled, a very generous tube of icing, and a colorful assortment of candy.
Although the kits include everything you need to make a pretty gingerbread house, I wanted to give my guests more options so they could really let their imaginations run wild, so I added an assortment of candy, pretzels, marshmallows, and other treats.
Setting up the Space:
Candy is surprisingly beautiful and festive when grouped together decoratively. Put the decorations in small serving dishes, bowls, and glasses, as if setting up a buffet.
I used a “Lazy Susan” in the center of the table, filled with assorted candies, and miniature glasses held other candies on tiered trays.
Add a few seasonal touches, such as holiday greenery and flameless candles for sparkle, but let the candies and treats serve as the primary table decoration.
You’ll need plenty of space on a large table to build and decorate your gingerbread houses. I covered my table with a spill-proof microfiber tablecloth. For extra protection, set out lengths of wax paper at each place setting under the gingerbread house kit.
Don’t forget to pick a playlist of upbeat holiday music to accompany the festivities!
Food and drink
Gingerbread Man Martinis were perfect for the party’s theme and helped set the mood. As the day turned to evening, we tried a batch of Candy Cane Cocktails, which are minty, chocolaty, and even more delicious than they sound.
Although I’m sure some people would be happy eating nothing but the candy that is set out for the decorating, it’s a good idea to serve something savory to nibble on while the houses are under construction. Choose a few finger-friendly appetizers that can be easily managed while wielding a tube of frosting and a fistful of M&Ms, like Mixed Olives with Orange & Fennel, Crabmeat Stuffed Mushrooms, or easy make-ahead Sweet & Sour Meatballs.
Once you get rolling with the decorating, not much else in the way of entertainment is required — it’s tremendous fun! The kits turned out to be even easier to use than I expected, so we were able to devote ourselves to playing decorator. It didn’t take long to discover that perfection wasn’t the point — whimsy, humor, and messy fun were.
I loved seeing how my friends chose such different decorations and themes. We had everything from a beach house to a log cabin, and one that looked like Willy Wonka built it!
Make sure you take lots of photos along the way, but especially of the finished masterpieces, and share them on Facebook and Instagram. And when you do, tag @bedbathandbeyond so we can see what you’ve created! #gingerbreadhouseparty
Free Gingerbread House Party Printables!