Nothing is quite as festive as making gingerbread cookies with the family at Christmas. But if you’re not careful, your gingerbread decorating party can turn into a nightmare. With a few simple tips and ideas, you can make the post of decorating your gingerbread so that they’re festive and fun!
Follow along with our gingerbread decorating party tips to make sure your gingerbread men cookie decorating goes off without a hitch!
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Gingerbread Decorating Party Tips that will save your sanity
The key to hosting a successful gingerbread decorating party (whether it’s just with your own family or a group of kids) is to have as many things done in advance as possible.
So, before the event, you’ll want to have your dough already pre-baked and ready to go before the decorating starts. If you want to skip making the cookies altogether (we don’t always have time to bake!), then we like to use these gingerbread cookie decorating kits.
Aside from your traditional gingerbread man shape, my kids also like the ninjabread men. Some years we use those cookie cutters instead of the traditional.
And no one says every gingerbread cookie has to look like a person. Use whatever cutters you like! (the key is to have fun and let the kids enjoy as well!)
Before inviting kids over to create, lay everything out in the kitchen (already opened), so that the kids can just get in there and go without waiting around. Waiting is the bane of cooking with kids.
What you’ll need for your gingerbread decorating party
Cookie frosting (we use the Wilton brand with built-in tips when we can find it)
Gingerbread recipe (we like this one)
Assorted candies (we used gumdrops and mini candy canes)
Gingerbread man cookie cutter (big ones like this are always fun for the kids)
Baking your gingerbread cookie dough
If you decide to make homemade dough, make it the night before you plan to bake it or decorate the cookies. Most gingerbread dough requires a few hours of refrigeration, and whipping it up the night before is usually the easiest way to make that happen.
Gingerbread dough always looks a bit too try before it’s wrapped and chilled, so keep that in mind. If your dough is too wet, your cookies will be soft and droopy, which is not the right texture for cookie decorating!
Make sure the gingerbread cookies have at least an hour to cool after baking as well, so they can harden to the correct texture.
If you try to decorate them too soon, all the frosting and decorations are just going to melt right off!
Hosting a Gingerbread Decorating Party
When everything is laid out, call the kids in to decorate.
The key to saving your sanity during this process is to have zero expectations.
If you can, get individual bags of frosting for each child, because they WILL put the frosting tip in their mouth (or is that just my kids?).
If you’re doing the gingerbread decorating party with older kids, you can show them how you can outline shapes on the cookie, then let it dry for a bit and fill in the shapes with additional icing. This is called “flooding” a cookie.
But, if you’re doing this with little kids, a blob of icing with a piece of candy or a dash of sprinkles is all you can hope for.
Let the cookies dry completely before stacking or storing. Nothing ruins a cookie party like sticky, smudgy cookies!
Last but not least, enjoy every single bite. You can sit down and learn all about the story of the gingerbread man or package up a plate of gingerbread cookies to share with your neighbors as well.
What are your favorite gingerbread decorating party tips?
More Christmas activities to enjoy: