It’s gingerbread house decorating and devouring time! This candy-laden Christmas tradition is a festive favorite among little elves. What could be cooler than doing a craft that’s as sweet to look at as it is to eat? We’ve found several gingerbread house making workshops to create your own abodes as well as both small and massive gingerbread displays to ooh and aah over! Read on to see where to build and behold gingerbread houses all over town.

photo: Mint Studio

Kids Night Out Gingerbread House Making at Mint Studio
Join Mint Studio for a sweet gingerbread house night! Parents can drop off kids ages 5-10 and get some holiday shopping done in peace while the kids build their gingerbread house and have pizza! Note: space is limited so register in advance. If you can’t make it for this event, you can also drop by Mint Studio to work on a DIY gingerbread house or schedule a private group to do either gingerbread houses or a cookie exchange.

Cost: $35/kid
When: Dec. 8th, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: 5965 Village Way, Unit 105, San Diego, Ca
Online: mintstudiosd.com

Candy Pros and Standlee’s Gingerbread House Workshop
Start a family tradition as you fashion a gingerbread house! Each kiddo age 4 and up receives an assembled gingerbread house and will decorate under guidance by Standlee’s pastry expert Jose Barajas, of MMM…Cakes.
Each gingerbread house will come alive with Candy Pro’s colorful candies, gumdrops, peppermints, sprinkles and more. Workshop includes a gingerbread house, decorating materials, snacks, and a holiday beverage. There will be festive music, photo-booth and more! Reserve your spot by Dec 7th, at either Standlee’s, Candy Pro’s Store or Candy Pro’s Warehouse. Note: Parents must be present.

Bonus: Each Gingerbread House Workshop ticket comes with a sample card to enjoy all the yummy treats. During the event, there will be sample cards available for $5 so parents who aren’t partaking in decorating can enjoy yummy treats and beverages, too! 100% of the proceeds from the sample cards will being going towards a local organization in need.

Cost: $30/kid
When: Dec. 16th, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Where: 2626 Southport Way, Suite A., National City, Ca
Online: candypros.com

Cute Cakes: Christmas Gingerbread Cottage Building Workshop
This cute bakery and café provides all the required materials for budding gingerbread architects and designers. Plan a day with your kids and learn the best decorating tips! Their workshop consists of a 2-hour session and is suitable for both adults and children. The first half hour of the workshop consists of guided instruction of your house with Natalie Travis of “Stampin Up!. The next hour and a half you’ll get to visit the Festive Candy Buffet to create and personalize your masterpiece. This workshop also includes a yummy cupcake or muffin from the Cute Cakes Bakery & Café. Kiddos ages 12 and up may attend the workshop, but little builders are also welcome with a parent assistant.

Cost: $35/person; $50/couple
When: Dec. 16th sessions are 9-11 a.m.; 12:30-2:30 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. Dec. 18th session is 6-8 p.m.
Where: 3455 West Grand Ave., Escondido, Ca
Online: cutecakes-sd.com

photo: Queenstown Public House

Queenstown Public House
This popular restaurant in Little Italy is literally transforming into a real life gingerbread house for the month of December! Check out the charming exterior, with frosting around the windows as well as chocolate kisses, lollipops, lights, candy canes and frosting around the windows. The interior is a dreamy Christmas wonderland that’s sure to bring out the holiday cheer in your kiddos. Kids who bring a new, unwrapped toy for donation from now through Dec. 21 will receive a gingerbread house kit to decorate at home!

Additionally, the restaurant will have a “Kid at Heart”  gingerbread house decorating contest––because grown-ups love gingerbread abodes too! This contest/party will be held at Queenstown on Weds., Dec. 13 from 7-10 p.m. and prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place. Queenstown is also hosting a kid’s gingerbread decorating contest until Dec. 13th. Kids will be able to submit a photo of their decorated house by emailing kiora@queenstownpublichouse.com. One winner will be chosen for the grand prize of two tickets to LEGOLAND California. Specific contest rules will be posted on Queenstown’s website, queenstownpublichouse.com, on Nov 27th.

When: See specific event dates above
Where: 1557 Columbia St., San Diego, Ca, 619-546-0444
Online: queenstownpublichouse.com

photo: Montage

Family Gingerbread Decorating at Montage Laguna Beach
The entire family can show off their creativity during Montage’s gingerbread house decorating class led by the resort’s pastry team. Attendees will leave with their own gingerbread houses, a Montage apron and cookie recipe to relive the magic in their kitchens at home. Beverages, hot chocolate, cider and light bites will be provided.

Cost: $45/adult; $35/kid; reservations are required by calling 949-715-6420.
When: Dec. 16th, 1-3 p.m.
Where: Gallery Ballroom at Montage Laguna Beach, 30801 Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, Ca
Online: montagehotels.com/lagunabeach

Make Your Own Gingerbread House at L’Auberge Del Mar
Each parent-child team receives handmade gingerbread pieces to assemble and decorate under the expert guidance of the resort’s pastry team. The family decorates their own special house with colorful gumdrops, marshmallows and an array of festive candies. Gingerbread house building can be a tall order, so while builders are working, they’ll be able to enjoy a hot cocoa bar with house made marshmallows and an assortment of toppings, yummy holiday cookies, decadent mini tarts and cheesecakes, satisfying breakfast pastries and festive bubbles for the grownups.

Cost: $125/each parent-child team; $50 for additional team member (includes additional house). Parent must accompany children under 16.
When: Dec. 23rd, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: L’Auberge Del Mar, 1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, Ca, 858-259-1515
Online: laubergedelmar.com

photo: Rancho Bernardo Inn

Rancho Bernardo Inn’s December Days & Nights
This super fun event is full of festivities. Ticket price includes one photo with Santa per family and one gingerbread cookie decorating kit per kiddo, caroling, storytelling, holiday train ride and treats including burgers, hot dogs, pizza, chicken fingers, desserts and seasonal adult beverages for an additional fee.

The tour de force of the event is the gigantic gingerbread house that your whole family will go gaga over. The cute casa is dripping in sweet treats and will no doubt inspire your little elves to try their hand at making their own edible masterpiece this season. Wondering what the magic recipe is for 1 life-size gingerbread house? Executive Pastry Chef Margaret Nolan Carvallo and her team construct this marvel by using a mind-boggling combination of the following:

1 Ton of Powdered Sugar
750 lbs of Granulated Sugar
750 lbs of Cake Flour
750 lbs of Bread Flour
½ Ton of Brown Sugar
282 lbs of Molasses
24 lbs Baking Soda
20 lbs of Cinnamon
12 lbs of Vanilla Extract
4 lbs of Ginger
2,160 Eggs

Note: The gingerbread house will be on display through Christmas. You don’t need tickets to view it unless you plan on visiting during the December Days & Nights event.

Cost: Advance purchase online: $20/person (adults & kids ages 3 and up); $30 day of entrance
When: Dec. 21-23, 5-8 p.m.
Where: 17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr., Rancho Bernardo, Ca
Online: ranchobernardoinn.com/play/december-days/

photo: courtesy of Island Hotel Newport Beach

Fantastical Holiday Gingerbread and Confection Journey of Oz’s Emerald City at Island Hotel Newport Beach
This year’s magical hand-built gingerbread house plus colorful sweets presentation will bring life to the classic, The Wizard of Oz. Families will love visiting the main gingerbread house where Dorothy lived as it “falls” on Munchkin Land and then following the sugar cookie Yellow Brick Road. Visitors to Oz of all ages will be amazed by the vibrant colors – a magical experience the pastry team is creating in a 100-square-foot space in the lobby. The fantasy will be fabricated from 400 pounds of gingerbread dough, 300 pounds of fondant, 100 pounds of chocolate, 200 pounds of various candies – jelly beans, lollipops, gum paste flowers – representing all the colors of the rainbow and 200 pounds of powdered sugar!

Good to know: the hotel will be a drop-off spot for Toys for Tots – to add cheer to the homes of deserving children.

When: Now through Dec.
Where: Island Hotel Newport Beach, 690 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, Ca, 949-759-0808
Online: islandhotel.com

Your Local San Diego Library
Don’t forget about your local library! Many branches will host low-key gingerbread house making workshops which offer a convenient way  to introduce young kids to the festive craft. Best for children ages 3 and up to attend with an adult, these events require advance registration (read: they’re super popular!). Most ask you to please bring an unopened bag of candy per child attending to share with the entire group for decorating. Additionally, some workshops limit each family to one gingerbread house. Holiday bonus: most of the events are free of charge!

Click here: sandiego.gov/public-library to see if your local library branch is hosting a gingerbread house making event.

Where do you make gingerbread houses or ooh and aah over gingerbread displays? Let us know in the comments!

––Beth Shea