Growing up, the holidays were no joke in my family. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but my Mom would go all out, decking the halls and every single corner of the house with lights, figurines, books, candles, wreathes, berries…you name it, we probably had it. She would put up not one, not two, but three trees. There would be caroling and movies and Christmas stories, dozens upon dozens of Christmas cookies would be baked, holiday parties would be thrown and even the animals would get their own festive treats. It was always a magical time of year filled with family and love, and one that felt as if it had been plucked straight from a Christmas movie.
With so many holiday traditions, it’s hard to pick just one as a favorite. But if I really, really had to, I know it would be the gingerbread houses, without a doubt. Let me just preface it by saying these were no ordinary gingerbread houses. For starters, they were more like mansions. They had chimneys and windows with “glass”. There were miniature wreathes on the doors and “snow” covered trees and grounds outside the home. Oh, and did I mention that there were even lights? In other words, my Mom was some sort of gingerbread magician. I truly don’t know how she did it.
While she still tries to make a gingerbread house every year, they’ve been scaled back significantly in size and decoration. Well before I had ever left for college, we even started making HONEY MAID Graham houses instead of the mega ginger-mansion. The graham houses were so cute and easy to make, and with such a small size it meant everyone could easily be involved, making as many or as few as they like. We’d usually have an entire village by the end of the night, that is, if too much nibbling on supplies hadn’t been done in the process (Hey, at least HONEY MAID Grahams are a simple and pure, meaning they’re a pretty wholesome snack!).
Eventually I took these little houses on the road with me, making them with the kids I would babysit and even as a fun project with roommates in college. Now, my husband and I try to make them every year. I’m not nearly as dedicated or talented as my Mom when it came to her gingerbread houses, but being able to create graham houses is my much easier and more realistic way of keeping that family gingerbread tradition alive. Plus, isn’t it more fun to make something you can snack on in the process?!
For this year’s HONEY MAID Graham Houses, I was inspired by another family tradition from my childhood, Christmas in July, and a favorite summer treat, s’mores, to build this house using only things you would use for s’mores (aka graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows). Here are the things (all purchased at Walmart) that I used + a few tips on how I did it:
HONEY MAID Grahams S’mores Holiday House HONEY MAID Graham Crackers (I used a combo of vanilla, honey and cinnamon) Chocolate Frosting, used as the “glue”, window pane lines and buttons & eyes on the snowman Marshmallow Fluff, used as the snow on the ground Marshmallows (in a variety of sizes), used for a snowman, a pile of“snowballs” and windows Wilton Candy Melts in White, used for the snowy roof & icicles BelVita Bites in Chocolate, used for the brick path and the door Mini Teddy Grahams, used as the “people” Edible White Glitter, used to make the “snow” glisten
To make the houses, first decide the size and shape you’d like to have (miniature, double story, ranch-style, etc). I settled on ski-lodge style one.
Assemble your house using frosting (or melted chocolate) as “glue”. I recommend assembling it on a wax paper lined baking sheet (or whatever tray you’d like to use once you’re decorating the house). Then, put together the house 24 hours before you actually plan to decorate it, cover it very, very gently with wax paper or plastic wrap and every so carefully place it on an even surface in your refrigerator. Doing this ahead of time ensures everything will hold firmly in place and provide the perfect foundation for your decorations.
From there, it’s truly up to you how you decorate. Your house is a blank space. For me, I wanted to keep it relatively simple and, like I mentioned before, use only things that would be used in s’mores. Marshmallow Fluff provided the perfect blanket of snow, I used a toothpick to create “icicles” along the roofline using some of the melted white chocolate and the BelVita crackers looked exactly like the “bricks” I needed to create a pathway. I filled out the decorations and scene with marshmallows and Teddy Grahams and finished everything with a very generous sprinkling of edible glitter, because the s’more the better (Yup, that pun was totally intended! I just couldn’t resist!) when it comes to glitter, right?!
Have you ever made a graham cracker holiday house? If so, what do you like to decorate yours with? And if you’ve never made one before, be sure to hop on over to HolidayHoneymaid.com to learn all about the different varieties of HONEY MAID Graham Crackers available at Walmart that are perfect for both your holiday houses and baking projects alike.
Thank you to HONEY MAID Grahams for sponsoring this post.