My sister has started a tradition of making graham cracker gingerbread houses with our kids on New Year's Eve. She gives them each a box of assorted candy to decorate the houses.
She and I do the assembling and the kids do the decorating. After two years we think we've come up with the easiest way to make them.
For each house you need:
6 graham crackers
Royal icing (We add 1-2 tablespoons of water to this recipe because we put it in squeeze bottles.)
For the sides of the house you'll need two graham crackers. Trim a small amount from the short end of each cracker so the bottom half is a square. They should be the same height as the short end of the graham crackers so that they line up with the front and back of the house. Trim these two side pieces to a point at the top. The angle doesn't matter as long as both sides match. Use a serrated knife and rock it back and forth gently to cut the crackers.
Use icing to glue the two sides of the house to the front and back of the house. The side pieces should be tucked into the front and back pieces.
It looks best if the bottom of the cracker (the side without the holes) is facing out, which I often forget to do. The kids haven't noticed.
Attach two whole graham crackers for the roof. Again, it looks best if the side without the holes is facing out. Run a line of icing along the top and fill any gaps you can see with more frosting.
The houses should sit for 15 minutes to a half hour before decorating so the icing can harden, making the houses sturdier.
We give everybody their own gingerbread house and a squeeze bottle full of royal icing that they use to attach the decorations. They get very creative.
Their finished houses:
Our favorite gingerbread book is Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett. Matti opens the oven door on his gingerbread man too soon and out pops a gingerbread baby who runs off. Clever Matti constructs a house that's just right to catch him.