* Prices may differ from that shown
To me - fairy tales and bedtime stories are as essential to a healthy childhood as nourishing food and sunlight. I can't imagine growing up without hearing about Hansel and Gretel or the Gingerbread man, and gingerbread has worked its way into our Christmas tradition. It wouldn't be Christmas without the smell of gingerbread cooking, and gingerbread men to eat on Christmas Eve. But despite the fact that my sons always want a gingerbread house - no one ever eats it. It sits on the table for Christmas dinner, and then gets moved about the kitchen for a week as the walls get soggy from steam and eventually gets thrown out. I hate wasting food - so I got the bright idea of buying a house we could make and keep year after year.
I bought this kit from amazon for only £4.45 which I feel is very good bargain. It had been more expensive but dropped as it got closer to Christmas. According to Amazon you get all the accessories, glue and instructions as well as the foam pieces to build the house. My set however did not have instructions or glue - but I do always have craft glue in the house anyway. I also really thought I was getting wee penguin decorations as shown in the picture and these were not included either.
Even without instructions, making the house was pretty simple except for the roof. You just slot the walls together and start gluing on bits It isn't going to look exactly like the picture when made by a 7 and 4 year old, but that isn't the point, it is meant to be fun. We did have a few parts slide down and need to be reglued, but overall set up was fairly quick and easy, not terribly messy, and a lot of fun. My son did ask for the penguins though, as you can see them on the box, and I did wish these had been included. The icicle strips were cut the wrong size, but this was easily fixed with a pair of scissors, cutting excess off and patching in where needed.
The roof did take a considerable amount of time as I had assumed that since it was made as part of this set there must be some way of lining up the slots so it would fit. I spent an hour trying to figure this out, while the children wandered off to do something else. I finally realised this was cut incorrectly and there was no way this would fit properly. You could slot the roof in lopsided so it was flush with walls on one side and with a huge overhang on the other, or as we did, just leave the roof unattached and set it over the top of the house.
Having made this set - I can only determine that it was faulty, and this is likely the reason for the low price. But faulty or not, we did have fun making it, and the finished product is really a nice centerpiece - even if it never made it to our Christmas table, it looked lovely on top of the fish tank and was even taken down to play with a few times. Once built it is reasonably sturdy. It was a fun holiday craft project, and even if I had known the faults, I would still have been happy enough to buy it at this price. It is much larger than expected to - it has already been put away, but this is large enough for 4" action figures to go inside and I would guess about 10" long. I do feel that I must deduct 1 star as this doesn't really have all the parts it lists, and it does have faults. But I would still recommend it if you happen to like to shop the sales after Christmas and put things away for next year, as this is still only £4.45 with free delivery, and at this price I am willing to overlook a few faults.
However, as much as my sons enjoyed making this, my oldest did insist it wasn't a real gingerbread house - so we had to make one of those as well. Once again the real gingerbread house sat on the Christmas table, and once again it sat about for a week before being thrown out. The gingerbread men do get eaten - but they never seem to want to eat the house. Oh well - I suppose it is a Christmas tradition so while this makes a lovely decoration - it doesn't replace the real thing in our house and for some reason. I do think Christmas traditions are important as they contribute to the overall mood of the season and create warm memories of childhood - so if this important to my son - I will certainly continue the tradition. They do love mixing, rolling, cutting and eating cookie dough as well, and decorating the finished cookies - and it does make the kitchen into a wonderful place with the heat from the oven and the smell of baking filling up the tiny room and drifting through the house.
* My title is stolen from Grimm's Fairy Tales, but I don't think the Brothers Grimm will be lodging any complaints.