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This is what an award-winning gingerbread house looks like

Need some gingerbread house decorating ideas? These are expert level

Awards Ceremony NGHC 2023- 279
Omni Grove Park Inn

When you think of gingerbread houses – depending on which camp you’re in – you either imagine making magical memories, Nat King Cole crooning in the background, well-behaved and tidy little ones carefully adorn their perfectly crafted gingerbread houses with sparkling gumdrops and sweet little giggles. Or, you’re a parent in the real world, and the thought of making gingerbread houses every year fills you with agony. You know that the Hallmark movie version of gingerbread house making and decorating is a lie. In reality, the holly jolly process is a frustratingly sticky, nerve-wrenchingly tricky, and candy-crumbling nightmare, resulting in a house that looks far less like the cover of the magazine and more like it was made by a team of blind, drunken elves. Either way, gingerbread houses are one of the most festive traditions of the season, and (when done by those who actually know what they’re doing) can be beyond impressive and absolutely beautiful.

On November 21st, The Omni Grove Park Inn of Asheville, North Carolina, hosted its highly anticipated Annual National Gingerbread House Competition. Enjoying its 31st year, the competition is a favorite of many holiday bakers, giving them not only a chance to showcase their talents but also take home some of the competition’s over $40,000 in cash and prizes.

Bakers, each with their own unique gingerbread house ideas, competed in groupings according to age, with five categories, including Adult, Teen (ages 13 – 17), Youth (ages 9 – 12), Child (ages 5 – 8), and People’s Choice: Best in Show Award. Each and every gingerbread house was required to be 100% edible and made of at least 75% gingerbread. Judges – including famed celebrity cake artist Yolanda Gampp – also looked closely at the overall appearance, originality, creativity, difficulty, precision, and consistency of the theme.

The winners featured below have absolutely blown us away with their talents and perhaps even given us some new gingerbread house decorating ideas to chew on this year. Or maybe we just leave it to these guys while we kick back with Home Alone.

Grand Prize Winner, Difficult Dessert Devotees
Omni Grove Park Inn

Grand Prize Winner, Adult

“Christmas at the Tongkonan”

Contestant(s): Difficult Dessert Devotees – Fuquay Varina, NC

Adult Second Place, Pat Ashley Howard
Omni Grove Park Inn

Adult Second Place

“Moving Day”

Contestant(s): Pat Ashley Howard – Orlando, FL

Adult Third Place, Bonnie Hardiman
Omni Grove Park Inn

Adult Third Place

“Home Delivery”

Contestant(s): Bonnie Hardiman – Hagerstown, MD

Teen First Place, Courtland High School German Program
Omni Grove Park Inn

Teen First Place

“Vintage Voyage”

Contestant(s): Courtland High School German Program – Spotsylvania, VA

Teen Second Place, Toccoa Titans
Omni Grove Park Inn

Teen Second Place

“Grove’s Miracle Tonic”

Contestant(s): Toccoa Titans – Blue Ridge, GA

Teen Third Place, Emma Rhinehart
Omni Grove Park Inn

Teen Third Place

“An Elegant Christmas”

Contestant(s): Emma Rhinehart – Columbia, TN

Youth First Place_Frost Girls
Omni Grove Park Inn

Youth First Place

“Fun in the Tub”

Contestant(s): Frost Girls – Woodbury, MN

Youth Second Place_Perry Reid
Omni Grove Park Inn

Youth Second Place

“Holiday Smackdown”

Contestant(s): Perry Reid – Travelers Rest, SC

Youth Third Place_The Fiddleheads
Omni Grove Park Inn

Youth Third Place

“Little Blue Truck’s Christmas”

Contestant(s): The Fiddleheads – Clyde, NC

Child First Place, Grace Webster
Omni Grove Park Inn

Child First Place

“The Night of Magical Memories”

Contestant(s): Grace Webster– Greenville, SC

Child Second Place, China Grove Cousins
Omni Grove Park Inn

Child Second Place

“Ready, Set, SNOOOOWWWW!!!!”

Contestant(s): China Grove Cousins – Mooresville, NC

Child Third Place, Paul Frahler
Omni Grove Park Inn

Child Third Place

“Bath Santa Takes Off!”

Contestant(s): Paul Frahler – Greenville, SC

Love at Frost Sight, Rockin at the Diner 2
Omni Grove Park Inn

People’s Choice: Best in Show Award

“Rockin’ at the Diner”

Contestant(s): Love at Frost Sight – Woodbury, MN

Editors' Recommendations

Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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