In spite of some good intentions, I did NOT bake any gingerbread this year. I kept forgetting to get molasses at the store. And really - I just decided to simplify a bit. So we tried out two store-bought house kits and they were both really fun.
The kit from Costco had more pieces, more candy and one additional color of icing compared to a different kit purchased from Macey's grocery store. That either amounts to more fun, or more assembly for mom and dad while the kids consume more sugar. You'll have to decide.
This is the house from the grocery store. Minnie and her friend put it together - and they needed more candy. The only complaint I have with the kits is that they don't use real Royal Icing. So instead of drying with the cement-quality hardness and structural stability of homemade gingerbread houses, the icing stayed a little wet and pliable for a long time. Consequently the roof kept sliding off due to the extreme candy weight. On the other hand, the house pieces in the kits are actually straight and I can never get mine to bake up quite right. So it's a give and take. Maybe we'll make our own icing next year.
I cleverly gave this house to Jenny so that her kids could admire it and my kids could not eat it. Hahahaha.