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Mini Holiday House | Christmas Display Ideas

Mini Holiday House

Total Time Needed: 1-2 Hours

Ages: 18 months and up

Forget exorbitant gingerbread real estate. We've scaled back the usual candy-covered mansion to something a little more humble: a make-and-eat cottage built from graham crackers, lightly sweetened cream cheese, and nutritious decorations.

Materials

  1. 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar
  3. 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. Ziplock bag and scissors
  5. 3 whole graham crackers, carefully broken into 6 halves
  6. Edible decorations, such as dry cereals, pretzels, raisins, dried sweetened cranberries (depending on your child's age)

Instructions

  1. Use a wooden spoon to blend the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl until the mixture is creamy. Spoon the frosting into a ziplock bag, then use scissors to snip off a tiny corner of the plastic.
  2. To assemble the cottage, first pipe a line of frosting along one edge of a graham cracker square and stick it to a plate to make a wall. Add three more walls, piping lines of frosting on three sides of each square to attach it to the plate and the cracker next to it. Use two more squares to form a peaked roof, attaching them to the cottage and each other with frosting.
  3. Now squeeze lines of frosting all over the walls and roof -- let an older tot do this herself -- and show your child how to gently press on the decorations. When she's done decorating, she can devour her treat.

Variations:

Advanced Architecture

Toddlers will be free-form with their decorating techniques, but older siblings may want to try the following tips and techniques:

  • Arrange rows of square cereal on the roof for shingles. Or trim the roof with golden-raisin and red-cranberry holiday lights.
  • Frame windows and doors with pretzel sticks and add a pretzel-rod chimney. You can also use pretzels for log cabin?style siding.
  • Lay a cobblestone walkway with pumpkin or sunflower seeds (again, depending on the ages of your children).

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