I’m tired. Actually, my feet are killing me. But it was worth it.
Last night (as of this writing), my library hosted 70 people in a holiday Gingerbread House decorating program. Obviously, our customers were excited.
A word of digression before I explain how we put on this fun—a concern about diversity. Our branch is in a very diverse area and, although the program had worked in the past, I was concerned. While we avoided religious symbols, Frosty, Rudolph, Santa, and the rest of the secular Christmas gang were represented in the candy used for decoration. We did have blue and white frosting available if anyone wanted to make a Hanukkah-themed house. Several members of our new-immigrant Southern Indian community did come and participate. I would think hard about your community, as there are ways to do a fun “house” program that could be inclusive.
We did a Halloween haunted house program this October. Last night, one girl decorated everything in pastels and used green icing to make grass. She said it was an “Easter” house, but I thought it could easily be a fairy garden. I could see a summer beach house as an option.
In other words, you can tailor this program to fit your community. And the kids—and families—love it!
The base of the house is an individual serving milk carton. A neighboring branch serves daily lunch, so we asked them to pull aside their cartons, washed them out with hot water, let them airdry, and then taped the tops closed with book tape. A local school may be willing to set aside cartons for you as well.
We then purchased graham crackers and divided up six squares into sandwich bags. Each child stuck four walls and two roof shingles on their milk carton with dollar store icing.
After the house was constructed, kids approached a table full of candy. Vanilla wafers and small round candies make great roof shingles. Square latticed pretzels make great doors and windows. I found gummies in the shapes of Frosty and Rudolph TV special characters at the dollar store, along with Santa and Frosty in chocolate form. Marshmallows and toothpicks make fun snowmen.
Then we purchased four 4-pound tubs of decorating icing for piping bags. We left one white and then dyed the others blue, green, and red. Each tub yielded four piping bags.
I think the pictures show some unique results. The families who attended had a great time. Clean-up was made easier by lining the tables with green butcher paper (put cleaning the piping bags was a chore). I look forward to decorating more houses of all kinds in the future!
This post covers the Core Competency of Programming Skills.