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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gingerbread House Activities in the Bay Area - 2014

My kids are begging me for a gingerbread house kit again this year, but every year they start and don't finish it. And then they don't clean up. So I'm looking into other options. Fortunately the Bay Area has many.


The Mandarin Oriental is hosting "ho-ho-ho homes for the holiday" on Saturday, December 7, which includes gingerbread house making from 2-4. Kids get their own aprons and chef hats, decorating gingerbread houses and sugar cookies. For drinking, there's a hot chocolate bar (parents can hit the adult bar and get small plates on their own dime). Cost is $60/kid. RSVP at or call (415) 276-9784.
St. Francisco sugar tree. Photo by Peter Medilek

Not for your own making (okay, and not gingerbread), but check out the Westin St. Francis' 12 foot tall sugar tree. It has 1,000 pieces of hand-crafted candies and ornaments, including handmade snowmen, sugar ribbons, gift boxes, Christmas trees, candy canes, elves and stars in the rotating tree. It's in the lobby November 26-January 2, at 335 Powell in SF.

Check out Fairmont San Francisco's life size gingerbread house. You can walk through it! This enormous Gingerbread House will be equal in size to last year’s two-story-high Victorian. Once complete, the house will stand more than 22 feet high and 23 feet wide and include thousands of home-baked gingerbread bricks and more than a ton of royal icing and candy d├ęcor. It opens November 29. 

Take the kid/s for the Gingerbread Holiday Tea at the Fairmont San Francisco. It's available November 29-30, and December 6-31, 2014. A Christmas fairy and balloon elf will entertain the younger guests. Plus, on weekends there's live piano during tea service. Kids receive a Nutcracker Ornament and a gingerbread cookie to decorate. More info here.


The Ritz-Carlton's 11th annual gingerbread competition is December 1-7, 2014. Winners are be announced Sunday, December 7 at their annual tree lighting. Some houses will be up for silent auction, with proceeds going to Coastside Children's programs. 

Make your own gingerbread house. Cost is $35 per house ($25 for members), which includes admission for one child and one adult. Dates are Friday, December 5 and 12 from noon to 1 p.m., or Saturday December 6 and 13 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Preregistration is recommended, emailing or calling (510) 647-1111 x 14.  Details here at 
On Saturday, December 22, you can help decorate a giant gingerbread house from 9:30-4:30, which will be donated to a homeless shelter.

Gingerbread Builders sells Gingerbread supplies. Make one on site (and you don't have to clean up), or they can make one for you. The Greenbrae site is open for the season. Houses start at $31 including icing and some candy. You can buy additional candy as well. Go with your kids, or make it a party. They start on November 21. For more info call them at (415) 720-2193.

Bay Area Kids Museum in Sausalito hosts a Gingerbread Architecture Extravaganza on November 29-30, 2014, for the general public. The cost is $20/kit, not including admission. There are 5 seatings per day (9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 2 and 3).

Enter your gingerbread house in the Westin Verasa Napa's Gingerbread House Contest, on Sunday, December 14. They'll have separate student, amateur and professional contests. You can win a variety of prizes, most of which include a dinner at their French restaurant BANK Cafe and Bar, La Toque and/or a stay at the hotel.


Look at these amazing gingerbread houses on Cake Wrecks (they are not wrecks, though!)

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