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We’re only just getting into the thick of December, but I’m already deep in the holiday madness. Freelance writing gigs and planning the Sugar x Spice Holiday Makers Market (next weekend in Brooklyn! RSVP there) have been taking time and energy, but you know me… I must make space for frivolity.

It’s non-negotiable. 😉

Since I didn’t have time to plan a full-blown Rose Gold Dinner Club gathering, I hosted an informal hang involving festive drinks, gingerbread houses, and antlers. Because of course I did.

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As we constructed little houses and got royal icing all over the place, I realized a whimsical party was just what I needed to start the season on a jolly note. I mean, when was the last time you genuinely felt jolly?

As we laughed hysterically, belted out x-mas karaoke songs, and reenacted childhood Christmas traditions, I realized “jolly” was the only word for it. 

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My favorite snaps from the gathering, as well as tips for putting one together, are below.

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To put a shindig like this together, you need a few simple things:

  • Gingerbread house-making kits
  • Colorful candy (and more colorful candy)
  • Royal icing
  • Festive drinks (wine, cocktails, eggnog, champs)
  • Enough table space to make a mess
  • A handful of DIY-loving friends

Easy, right?

But wait—there’s more.

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Grab extra candy, apart from what comes in the gingerbread house kits. They come with a few small bags of dollar-store grade stuff, which I also like to use—but you’ll want more.

I bought a few bags of candy from Duane Reade that doubled as snacks and house decor.

Ask friends to each bring one bag of candy and their preferred drink to make sure you don’t run out of either resource!

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This one is important: Buy the gingerbread kits with smaller houses.

You’ll usually have a few cracked pieces, but you’ll have more to work with. A large single-house kit with a cracked wall is useless. I picked up two boxes that produced five mini-houses each, which was perfect for five people.

We had some broken pieces, but everyone made a house (or two) and I still had one house to put together with my morning coffee!

Think I’m kidding?

Ha-ha-haaaa.

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You’ll definitely want to make your own icing. The package will come with (low quality) icing that can be mixed in a pinch, but it won’t hold as well. Here’s a royal icing recipe we tried. It includes ingredients and instructions on getting the texture right.

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The kits come with icing bags, but you can use a clipped sandwich bag if you need extra. Close off the top of your icing bag! Rebel against this rule and you’ll end up too focused on your masterpiece to notice it’s oozing over the top.

By the way, royal icing dries as hard as a rock, so wipe it up quick if it lands somewhere unsightly.

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Place your candy out on the table in small dishes that can be passed around easily.

You’ll also need plates to anchor the houses on. We used my glass plates and the girls left their houses behind, but you can also use paper plates or a sheet of paper.

In my case, I actually wanted a gingerbread village living on my table for a week. 😍

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As the decorating—and the wine-drinking—gets underway, don’t forget the entertainment! YouTube has a wealth of festive karaoke videos, and if there’s one thing I know, it’s that childhood pastimes, wine, and karaoke can’t go wrong.

We cast songs to the TV from my phone and within minutes, the entire table was belting out tunes! There were moments where it was both jolly and alarming (“All I want for Chriiiistmaaa~aa~aaa~aaaaaa~s iiiii~iii~ssss…“) and you just can’t put a price on Christmas memories like that.

Pro tip: Take videos to blackmail your friends with later.

Kidding.

Kind of.

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I baked impromptu cookies for everyone after I finished my house. As if you’ll need any additional sugar at this point… 

My favorite choco-chip cookie recipe is from a vintage Good Housekeeping cookbook. I’m working out a few adjustments to make them a liiittle bit healthier, and then I’ll share that recipe with you, so stay tuned!

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One final tip: My friends and I are grown-up kids, so it wasn’t hard to convince them to build cookie houses with me… but if your friends need some convincing? Link ’em to this post. 😉 They can see first-hand how much fun it can be.

And, that’s it! This is a low-stress, minimal-planning kind of gathering. In the end, I was glad I did this instead of a sit-down dinner. It saved me my sanity and gave everyone a chance to do something silly and creative.

If/when you have your own gingerbread house shindig, make sure you focus on the fun. 😉

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…and obviously, take a gratuitous amount of antler selfies. Life is too short not to take antler selfies.

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Spoiler alert: I’m thinking of turning this into a tradition and really upping my game next time around. What if we post everyone’s house on Insta and let people vote, and then the winning house creator with win something fun?

Yes, this is me getting hyped about gingerbread and planning next year’s holiday gatherings.

Welcome to Mishka-world.

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I have to continue prepping for my holiday market, so I’m about to make a cup of coffee and dash!

If you plan on having one of these as well, I want to hear about it—and obviously, I want to see your creations. Come visit me on Instagram or drop a comment below.

Here’s to a very jolly holiday season ahead…

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Written by Mishka
Michelle Christina Larsen (a.k.a. Mishka) founded heymishka.com in 2008, and has since documented her love of DIY, vintage, and creative living here. She curates and sells vintage fashion at Hey Mishka Vintage and runs the annual Sugar x Spice Holiday Makers Market in Brooklyn each holiday season. When she's not blogging, hunting for vintage, or doing DIY projects, Michelle Christina writes marketing copy for fashion brands and helps freelance writers grow their careers at Day Job Optional.