I have had some crazy experiences trying to build gingerbread houses. The one that most sticks out in my mind was in high school when my best friend and I decide to make houses from scratch. We wanted to do it alone so we went out to her grandparents lake house, in the middle of winter, and tried to tackle the project. Needless to say, after hours of work and problems like no running water, we ended up with disasters for houses. After that I shied away from that particular part of Christmas for a long time. I think the next time I did it was at a party with my kids and they had graham crackers for easy house building. Last year,more than 10 years since the great gingerbread fiasco, I got brave and decided to give the homemade thing a try again.
My husband and I did most of the work for this but we let the kids get involved some too. We had decided that a Gingerbread Nativity would be a fun spin on the typical house idea so I found a basic gingerbread recipe, a royal icing recipe by Martha Stewart (royal icing is the key because it dries rock hard), and some marshmallows and spaghetti noodles for the rest. It was a lot of fun and the nativity turned out great!