How-To Guide to Hanukkah Gingerbread House

There's Blue M&M's, Sno-Caps and a Vanilla Taffy Mezuzah

By Liz Alpern

Published December 04, 2012, issue of December 07, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

As a finishing touch to my gingerbread house this year, I pressed a tiny white mezuza made out of vanilla taffy onto the doorpost and couldn’t help but smirk. My love of the holiday season and of Jewish tradition had reached new and very sugary peaks as my fingers stuck to the royal icing.

During the month of December, I spend hours staring, jaw agape and sweet tooth poised, at beautifully decorated gingerbread homes made with candy canes, red and green M&M’s and liquorish shoestrings. The tradition of making gingerbread houses is 200 years old, and its roots come from a secular German folktale told to nearly every American child.

In 1812, the Brothers Grimm recorded the story of Hansel and Gretel, in which two children fall prisoner to an evil witch who lives in a cottage made of sweets. In the story, the cottage, with windows of clear sugar, serves as a symbol of temptation and even as a place of salvation for the children after they are exiled from their father’s home. German families made miniature versions of the house as a holiday activity and ultimately brought the custom to North America.

This year, while countless Christian families make their gingerbread houses with red and green candies for Christmas, Manischewitz is getting in on the action, with a Jewish twist: The company has put out a blue and white Chanukah House Decorating Kit. The kit comes complete with pre-cut cookie pieces, three colors of frosting and Hanukkah decorations (including a mini mezuza — yes, I borrowed the idea). Manischewitz is even holding a Chanukah House Decorating Contest, which can be entered through its Facebook page.

For those excited to incorporate the gingerbread house into their Hanukkah tradition but aren’t so sure about committing to the kit, see the easy step-by-step, no-bake directions below. This is a perfect project for kids of all ages, and a great item to admire over the course of Hanukkah’s eight long nights.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.