One of my favorite scents of the holiday season is gingerbread. There’s nothing better than walking into the kitchen and smelling this delicious aroma. Something about those spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger – all mixed together. It is heavenly.
We love gingerbread around here. Every year, we host an annual gingerbread house decorating party for friends and neighbors. We gather together to decorate gingerbread houses, devour gingerbread cupcakes and munch on gingerbread cookies. Oh, and lick royal icing from between our fingers.
My favorite part of this event is that the whole house smells of gingerbread afterwards. It lingers in our home for days – a constant reminder of the holiday season.
But I always wondered if there is a way to bottle it up for even longer. A way that I could let it out when I want a quick reminder of its amazing wonders.
One solution is to get a gingerbread scented candle (affiliate). This could sit on top of the kitchen counter and fill our home with good cheer whenever it is lit. An idea. But sometimes I misplace the matches.
Another idea is to diffuse essential oils in the gingerbread scent (affiliate). The problem is that I don’t own a diffuser. I did discover, though, that you can add the essential oils scent to your own soaps, potpourri, bath bombs and even slime (the kids would love that). Everything can smell of gingerbread then.
You can even rub the gingerbread scent on your hands. Then, you could take gingerbread wherever you go. I do wonder how long it would take to wear off, though. With all of these options, there is the possibility that I might actually get tired of gingerbread before the holiday season is over.
My favorite idea, though, is to make gingerbread playdough. Although you can’t exactly keep the scent stored forever, it can stick around a little longer and is fun to play with. The best part is that this gingerbread playdough recipe mixes together all of my favorite gingerbread spices into a delicious smelling ball of dough. The only difference is that you don’t bake it. Or eat it.
The smells are so wonderful, every time we hold it someone announces “It smells just like Christmas!” Exactly my goal.
And playdough is so much fun to play with. Even as adults. We love having family playdough nights. Everyone enjoys shaping, smooshing and building. It’s amazing to see all of the fun things that you can create.
The best part is that this is the easiest gingerbread playdough recipe ever. And after it’s made, you can store the gingerbread playdough in an air tight container to use again and again.
You Will Need:
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups of water
Ground Spices (or you can use a gingerbread spice mix (affiliate)):
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, oil, salt, cream of tartar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
2. Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to boil. Carefully, pour the boiling water into the mixing bowl. (VERY carefully… this step can be very hot!). Stir continuously with a spoon until the dough comes together.
The dough might be very sticky. If it is too sticky, add some more flour until you get a consistency that is easy to play with.
3. Once the dough mixture has cooled, turn onto a board and knead it together by hand. Just make sure that it’s not too hot to the touch.
After you have created a well formed playdough ball, let it cool for a couple of hours. Once cool, it is ready for play.
Set up your gingerbread playdough for the kids to play with. They can make play gingerbread cookies for a make believe bakery. Or craft some decorations for a pretend Christmas tree. Another idea is to make gingerbread cupcakes to decorate and place on a dessert stand. You can use these Christmas themed playdough mats for more inspiration.
Another idea is to use the gingerbread playdough for a playdough station at your gingerbread party. Make 2 or 3 batches of gingerbread playdough (depending on how many kids will be participating). Add playdough mats, plastic Christmas cookie cutters (affiliate), silicone cupcake holders (affiliate) and other fun clay tools (affiliate). Don’t forget a couple of kids sized rolling pins (affiliate) for easy smoothing of the dough.
You can also put out little craft decorations for kids to use. Some craft decoration ideas include colorful pom poms, buttons, googly eyes and pipe cleaners. Decorating playdough creations is so much fun.
Another idea is to package the gingerbread playdough as a Christmas party favor. It’s a fun way to thank guests for coming to your gingerbread party or other Christmas celebration.
To package your gingerbread playdough, place a medium sized ball of dough into a 8.5 ounce clear round plastic container. Add a gingerbread playdough label to the top or attach a gingerbread man favor tag. Tie with ribbon or baker’s twine (affiliate). Add a medium plastic gingerbread man or other Christmas cookie cutter (affiliate) so the gingerbread playdough is ready for play.
And as a quick side note, I wanted to share some of our favorite gingerbread themed stories that I like to read to the littles when we make gingerbread playdough. Our two favorites are Gingerbread Mouse by Katy Bratun (affiliate) and Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett (affiliate). These stories have inspiration for creative playdough ideas and would be the perfect addition to a gingerbread play date or birthday.