5 gingerbread cookie activities for the holidays

The delicious aroma of gingerbread cookies is a favorite during the holidays. Here are five tips for decorating your home with gingerbread cookies. Add the finishing touches yourself or let the kids go to town with icing, candy and powdered sugar.

Grab the icing and decorate your home with gingerbread cookies.
Grab the icing and decorate your home with gingerbread cookies.
Photo: Ida Köhler

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – gingerbread cookie arts and crafts for the holidays

Place cards

For guests with long names, just use their initials. Not sure you can write neatly with icing? Never mind the name, just decorate imaginatively and use the cookie as decoration for the napkin instead.

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – gingerbread cookie arts and crafts for the holidays

Wrapping paper decoration

Cut out mini gingerbread cookies using a small cookie cutter, the neck of a bottle or a screw-top lid, or cut shapes by hand with a knife. Thread them as decoration on the ribbon you use to wrap your presents and everyone will want to open your presents.

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – gingerbread cookie arts and crafts for the holidays

Candlesticks

Roll out the gingerbread dough and cut out cookies with a hole in the middle. Bake and check that the hole hasn’t shrunk. If it has, widen the hole a bit while the cookies are still soft. Stack the gingerbread cookies (as many as you want) to make a candlestick, and hold them together with icing or glue.

Icing can hide a multitude of sins.

Once you’ve assembled your candlestick, decorate it any way you choose. Then insert the candle – you can trim the base with a knife for a better fit. A mini muffin liner at the base will help hold the candle steady. Please note! Do not allow the candle to burn below the level of the top gingerbread cookie and never leave a lit candle unattended.

christmas-ornaments-gingerbread

Tree ornaments

Gingerbread cookies with colorful ‘windows’ look very impressive. Crush different colored hard candies in a mortar and use to fill in holes in the gingerbread cookies. The crushed candy melts in the oven and becomes candy windows.

Impress with colorful windows.

It’s best to bake the cookies 1–2 minutes first and then take them out of the oven and pile on the crushed candy so that the holes are completely covered.  Then return them to the oven for the remaining amount of time. This will prevent the dough from expanding into the windows. Decorate with icing, dust with powdered sugar or leave them plain. Tie some ribbon through the top and hang them on your tree.

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – gingerbread cookie arts and crafts for the holidays

Garland

You can get as creative as you like here: oversized or miniature gingerbread cookies, wide, silk ribbon or classic string, plain cookies or lots of icing. Let your imagination run wild and hang a garland in every room!

Text and photo: Ida Köhler

Tips before you start

  • Buy ready-made gingerbread cookie dough. If you’re not going to eat the biscuits, there’s no point spending the time and energy to make your own dough.
  • Roll out the dough directly on the waxed paper, so you won’t have to lift the biscuits and potentially break them. Place a damp tea towel under the waxed paper to hold it steady while you roll out the dough.
  • If you want to hang the gingerbread cookies, use a drinking straw to poke a hole in them before baking.
  • The gingerbread cookies will be soft when you take them out of the oven, which means you can fix any holes that closed or trim uneven edges with a knife.
  • Icing can hide a multitude of sins. Let out your inner maximalist!
  • For snow-white icing that sets really hard, whisk an egg white with an electric mixer, add a capful of vinegar (24%) and gradually add about 8 oz/240 g of powdered sugar until the consistency feels right. Spoon the icing into a freezer bag and cut a small hole in one corner to create a simple piping bag.