Deliciously Awesome Ideas For Gingerbread House Decorating

dried fruit gingerbread house decorNeed deliciously fun ideas for gingerbread house decorating? You’ve come to the right place! These incredibly awesome gingerbread house decorating ideas come from a newspaper article featuring Lorena Mariani decades ago, and they are fabulous!  We think you’ll enjoy creating this fun holiday house too. Plus, you can do some snacking while you build!


Our friend James Collier created a modern-day version of the Mariani family classic, so you can create this fun gingerbread house at home.


Lorena Mariani building a Mariani Dried Fruit HouseThe Mariani Family has been an innovator in agriculture for generations, preserving family traditions alongside a wide variety of fresh fruit. Lorena Mariani created her own take on a holiday gingerbread house, building hers out of dried apricots, raisins, pears, and prunes. We’ve created our own nod to Lorena’s tradition, and set it as the centerpiece of a delicious charcuterie spread.


How We Made It: 

The base for our holiday chateau is a store-bought gingerbread house kit. Sizes vary by kit, so the measurements here are rough, but follow these steps to create your own. If your kit doesn’t include royal icing, it’s worth an extra 10 minutes to make your own!


gingerbread house pro tipPro Tip:

Decorate the walls of your gingerbread house – and let them dry – BEFORE you assemble. That makes decorating and placing special design ideas way easier!

Servings: 1 house
Prep Time:


store-bought gingerbread kit, or your own

1-2 batches of royal icing (and food coloring if desired)

20-30 California prunes

20-30 California pitted dates

dried apricots or pears

Nuts: walnuts, pistachios and/or pecans

sliced almonds for shingles

pomegranate arils or dried cranberries for Christmas lights

fresh rosemary or lavender for trees/landscaping

cinnamon sticks for logs

powdered sugar for snow

homemade truffles or sugar plums for snow people

your favorite charcuterie ingredients for around the house



sliced almonds for gingerbread house roof shinglesFor the gingerbread house roof:

Sliced almonds make great shingles. We toasted 1 cup of them at 400°F for 8-10 minutes. Spread yours in a single layer for even coloring, or leave small piles to create varying shades of color, then let cool. A small dab of royal icing on the back of each will glue them to gingerbread roof. Top the chimney stack with more of the icing, then cut slices from a whole prune to create smoke stacks. Line the roof ridge with whole prunes.


For the walls of your holiday house:

Ideas For Gingerbread House Decorating : log cabin wallsStart with 20 pitted dates, sliced into quarters, lengthwise. Run a small line of royal icing along the back of each to adhere it to a wall, creating horizontal rows of date “logs.” Slice more dates as needed to cover all walls.


Alternatively, you can spread a thin layer of icing over the entire wall, then press the dates into that. Decorate with small drizzles of icing to create a buildup of snow. 


best Gingerbread house chimneyFor the gingerbread house chimney:

We drew the outline of ours first, then filled it in with the royal icing. We used walnuts, pistachios, pepitas, and sunflower seeds to create the stonework, but you can use any mix of dried nuts and seeds here. 


For an extra touch, sprinkle a little of the ground pistachio (see landscaping below).


gingerbread house landscaping ideasFor the gingerbread house landscaping:

Grind 1 cup of roasted pistachios in a food processor, creating a course dust. Use this as the base of the landscaping around the house and walkway. Line the walkway with slices of prunes and dried apricots, and scatter whole prunes as landscape stones, and as a base for rosemary twig trees.


Crush any remaining toasted almonds in your hand and sprinkle in piles to create mulched areas. Halve two more dates, then use those as planters to hold the stems of a dried lavender garden. 


Ideas For Gingerbread House DecoratingExtra touches for your gingerbread house:

For the snowman, we rolled prune and cocoa balls in coconut and powdered sugar, then decorated with cinnamon stick arms and a dried apricot nose. 

Dried apricots also added a little warmth to our windows. We sliced ours thin, then cut the edges to square them, and layered icing on them to create panes. 

Ideas For Gingerbread House Decorating : cinnamon stick logsPomegranate arils make bright and festive lights around the outside of the house–we simply spread a little icing onto the eaves, then pressed them into place.

Cut a few cinnamon sticks in half and tie together to create a cute firewood bundle. 


For the snow:

Gently pour ½ a cup of powdered sugar into a small flour sifter, then tap the sifter to dust the entire scene. 

Step back, and enjoy your creation!

To make a Gingerbread House Centerpiece:

Surround it with charcuterie or treats for an impressive holiday display.

holiday charcuterie display