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It’s a well know fact that I love gingerbread houses… and candy.
It’s in my blood, passed down for generations. The women of my family have gotten together to create with sugar, sprinkles, and royal icing for years and it is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. I talk more about our sweet tradition HERE and also give you the deets on how to build a house of your own.
So now that you have the pattern and the recipe, where do you get all the candy?
Well, you’re in luck because I happen to a plenty of candy buying experience.
Sorry 21 Day Fix, you lost my attention in November. Oopsies.
Before you ever hit the candy aisles, you are going to want to decide on a theme.
How would you like to decorate your gingerbread house?
You could do a monochromatic color scheme, a barnyard, a cabin, Rapunzel’s tower, assorted rainbow candies, or even the colors of your alma mater. I like to do an old fashioned, vintage style gingerbread house with old-timey candies because it’s nostalgic to me. It reminds me of the gingerbread houses we made when I was a little girl and I love sharing that little part of my childhood with my kids. Ribbon candy is the bomb, people. The fun thing about creating your own house is there are no rules! The sky is the limit when it comes to your design and decoration, so have fun with it!
Ok, now that you’ve got some ideas in your head, it’s time to start shopping.
Here are 7 of my favorite places to buy candy for gingerbread houses
Day’s Market, Winco, Harmon’s, and Smith’s all have great selections of candy especially around Christmas time. If you are out of Utah you likely have different names and chains so just picture your favorite grocer. I always hit Day’s Market first because they are my go to grocery store. They always have a ton of great old fashioned candies on sale in December.
You can also pick up M&M’s, Pirouette cookies, Animal Crackers, Nilla Wafers, and any of that kind of goodness. After I support my hometown store, I head to the bulk sections at Winco, Harmon’s, and Smith’s. You can find everything from yogurt covered pretzels for sweet little fences to coconut shavings for a snowy roof. There are tons of options in the grocery store bulk section. Sometimes it just takes a brief walk through the aisle to get hit with an awesome idea using something you never would have thought of.
Oh, and don’t forget to grab your eggs, cream of tartar, and powdered sugar for your royal icing while you are there!
Dollar Stores: Dollar Stores have the most random things and you never know what you will find there! Hit your local dollar store and see what fun stuff pops up. This is a great place to buy figurines and fun little items to compliment your candy scheme.
I’m kinda partial to this cute little Santa…
The Wilton Section of the Craft Store: Most craft stores have at least a small Wilton section where you can find fun colored gels, nonpareils, crystallized sprinkles, candy melts, and more. I might just have an sprinkle addiction.
You just never know when you’ll need a few green jimmies or a sky blue tree shaped sprinkle, do you? And, who could ever have enough dragees anyway? Don’t forget to use the store coupon on your purchase (Like Michaels!) those little bottles can add up pretty darn fast.
Take it from someone who knows.
Big Box Stores: Target, Walmart, and other big box stores have great selections of candy. Watch for sales and grab them up. Make sure to check the Christmas candy aisle AND the regular candy aisle, too. Many candies that aren’t Christmas themed work great for gingerbread houses. This is also a great place to pic up your cake board. We bought a pack of fun round ones this year at Walmart and I am in love with the scalloped detail.
Party Stores: Partyland, Zurchers, and other party stores are great places to pick up candy to fit your theme. They have lots of fun colored candy and if you are going with a specific color scheme, these stores are your best bet. They have so many options in a rainbow of colors. Gumballs, Lemon Heads, mints, you name it. I just found out this year that they also carry my beloved silver dragees, so if that’s on your list grab them there.
Amazon: If you are searching for a specific kind of candy and just can’t find it in stores, head online. My first stop online is always Amazon. That’s where we picked up some gold and silver dragees in multiple sizes. They also carry rock candy which is becoming harder and harder to find in brick and mortar stores. I like that they have free 2 day shipping so I tend to shop there a lot.
Ebay: If you can’t find what you are looking for on Amazon, give Ebay a try. They have a HUGE selection of old fashioned candies like crystal rock candy, peppermint sticks in every color imaginable, rainbow swirl pops, sanded cinnamon balls, and so much more! You have to pay shipping, but if there is something really special you are after it might just be worth it.
Peppermint Place: For my Utah peeps, you have to try out the Peppermint Place in American Fork. If you plan ahead and go BEFORE the holiday season starts, you can pick up some really fun stuff. They tend to sell out fast so keep that in mind.
Old time candy stores: If you are lucky enough to live near an old time candy store, I am so jealous. When we were in Savannah last February, my husband and I had a blast in the little candy shop on the river. There was stuff in there I didn’t even know existed! I wanted to fill my whole suitcase but how do you explain that to TSA?
Etsy: I’ve never shopped Etsy for candy but I have had a blast searching all the little handmade and vintage shops for trinkets and figurines. My mama has the most beautiful set of deer she inherited from her mother that she uses every year in her gingerbread house yard. There are some really fun things you can place around your house to customize it to your liking and Etsy is a great place to find them or even just dream and get ideas.
Cal-Ranch: I know, who knew right? I couldn’t afford the $63.00 deer I had my heart set on so my aunt picked me up a cute little herd from the toy section in Cal-Ranch for $3.00. Yahoo! Which reminds me, I owe her money. I’m sure you could find similar critters at Tractor Supply or IFA, also. Now, I’m certainly not saying they come even remotely close to my mother’s vintage buck and doe, but until I inherit her inheritance they’ll have to do. I noticed the other day that they have a fun selection of hard candies there too, so there you go!
Here’s some pics of the gingerbread house I made last week.
I hope you got some shopping ideas, maybe a little inspiration, and are excited about your gingerbread house!
Hey by the way, don’t forget to shop the after Christmas candy sales for next year’s house.
What, it’s not like you are actually eating it… well, unless you are and then uh, fun for you?
To each her own, I guess.
Happy candy hunting and gingerbread house decorating, my friends!
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