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The holidays are all fun and games until your slab of just-hardened gingerbread cracks. But with a little patience and precision, there’s no limit to what you and your kids can build together. Here, nine gingerbread house ideas to help you think outside the (candy-covered) box.

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Build One That’s Candy-Free

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


...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.


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!


...Or One That Looks a Lot Like a Brooklyn Brownstone

Beautiful bay windows are attached separately—and ever so carefully, too.


Make One That’s Ready for Business

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


...Or One That Looks Like an English Cottage

Use shredded wheat for the roof and white kidney beans for the sides. (White chocolate-covered raisins are another—more edible—option.)


Build One That’s Lit From Within

The trick: Leave one panel off the roof, then stuff a 50-count strand of lights inside. (No candy or icing required.)


...And One That’s Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright

Blueprints required, but the end result is an architectural—but still edible—feat.


And of Course, One That Feels Kinda Like a She Shed

Gingerbread genius, right this way.

RELATED: Gingerbread Lattice Cookies

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