Family Pitches In to Turn Home Into Real-Life Gingerbread House for the Holidays

From twinkling lights to merry wreaths, decorating for the holiday season is in full swing, and one family in Salt Lake City, Utah, took things to the next level by turning a house into a real-life gingerbread house.

Fox13 reported that Virginia Hoffman's Tudor home transformed into a full-size candy palace.

"It's all homemade, and it's all been kind of 'figure it out as you go,'" Hoffman told the outlet.

Photos of the house were also published on Reddit by Hoffman's daughter. Colorful candies lined the roof and were perched on the railings, while candy canes were mounted over the front door. A gingerbread man stands tall in the front lawn and vanilla wafers served as window shutters.

According to Fox13, Hoffman noticed her red brick home could resemble a gingerbread house with the right decorations.

"I told my family about it and luckily they didn't think I was crazy," she said. "And so we painted these gumballs in the kitchen over Thanksgiving of 2019, and then my daughter and son-in-law helped me figure out how to attach them to the house."

Her background in interior design served Hoffman well as she brought her ideas to life.

Her husband, a professional artist, and her grandchildren all found ways they could pitch in and bring the holiday house together.

Gingerbread House
A homeowner took inspiration from gingerbread houses to decorate her home for the holidays. Above, a stock image of a gingerbread house. BrandlMichaela/Getty Images

Hoffman told Newsweek that as the years went on, new decorations were imagined, crafted and added to the house. Her first year of decorating featured gumdrop candies, and the fudge-striped cookie wreath was created last year. The vanilla wafer window shutters were new this year.

It's a major undertaking, and with the help of her daughter and son-in-law, can take two days lasting between 10 and 12 hours of work.

Hoffman's daughter, Emily Hansen, told Newsweek she was intrigued when her mother first presented the idea but wasn't surprised. She said Hoffman frequently comes up with big projects.

"She has tried and excelled at many, many things because of her creativity, imagination and a 'won't give up' attitude," Hansen said.

The two have discussed specific candy or cookie ideas and spent time working on a plan to make it a reality. Materials like spray foam insulation, paint, pool noodles and drainage pipes are just some of the parts of making the decorations.

Viewers of the Reddit post that featured photos of the house applauded the efforts.

"That's really magical and I'm sure kids in the neighborhood love it," a commenter wrote.

Another commented: "I'm obsessed with this. Please tell your mom that she's incredibly talented at crafting too!"

Hoffman said the vanilla wafter window shutters were created by using foam and insulation. Her husband melted the squares out of it with a soldering irony and she painted them.

She said it can be tricky to think about what materials may work best for each sweet treat, but she managed to nail some of those designs. Her fudge-striped cookie wreath, for example, took some time to get right, but she discovered using brown window caulk looked like chocolate.

As for any potential future projects, Hoffman told Newsweek she wants to find a way to create a realistic-looking ribbon candy. She said she has yet to capture the semi-translucency of the candy that can withstand the outdoors.

Many people traveled to appreciate the full-scale gingerbread house.

"We had a lot of people come by and they'll bring their kids," Hoffman told Newsweek.

Some joked on the Reddit post that it looked similar to the witch's house in the fairy tale "Hansel and Gretel."

"For the sake of the neighborhood kids I gotta ask, how big is her oven?" one Reddit user wrote.

This ongoing project serves as a creative outlet for Hoffman.

"I like to create things, it brings me happiness," she said.

Other people have shown off their creativity around the holiday season with their own decorations. Newsweek recently reported on a TikToker whose holiday light display on his house went viral.

The Tiktoker, @htown_frankie, posted a video that shows one of the light displays he put together set to DMX's Ruff Ryders' Anthem. The video has gone viral and earned more than one million views.

Green, red, blue and white lights are part of the display, along with Christmas trees, light projections on the garage door and a light fixture in the yard.

Updated 12/17/2021, 5:22 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with comments from Virginia Hoffman, Emily Hansen and additional information.