With the holidays looking a little different this year, the last thing you need is a gingerbread house disaster. With these houses as your inspiration and a little patience and precision, there’s no limit to what you and your kids can build together. Here, seven gingerbread house ideas to help you think outside the (candy-covered) box.

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no candy gingerbread house
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1. Build One That's Candy-Free

Proof icing can be just as impressive as row after row of sugary red and green.

gingerbread house on side of mug
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2. ...Or One That Sits on the Side of Your Hot Cocoa

Precision is a virtue, but if you have the patience—and motor skills—to assemble these teeny tiny houses, they’re especially tasty after you dunk them in your drink.

milk carton gingerbread house
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3. Construct One That's Modeled Around a Milk Carton

Use an empty (and rinsed out) carton—tall or small—as your base, then wrap it in foil and affix the gingerbread to every side using frosting. Voilà!

candy shop business gingerbread house
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4. Make One That's Ready for Business

It takes a village, so why not construct one? A candy shoppe is just the start of a series of buildings you can display in your dining room.

cottage gingerbread house
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5. ...Or One That Looks Like an English Cottage

Use shredded chocolate for the roof and powdered sugar for the sides.

gingerbread house with lights
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6. Build One That's Lit From Within

The trick: Leave one panel off the roof, then stuff the lights inside before finishing it off.

candy gingerbread house
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7. And of Course, One That Feels Like It Came Straight Out of Candy Land

Gingerbread genius.

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