These 9 Latino-Themed Gingerbread Houses Are The Nochebuena Inspo You Need This Year
Us Latinos have so many holiday traditions it’s hard to keep track: some of us dine on crispy puerco entero from a Cuban-style slow-cooking caja china, others always open presents on Nochebuena instead of Christmas day, while a few even run around the neighborhood with suitcases on New Year’s Eve for travel luck.
No matter if you’re from Venezuela, Puerto Rico, or Ecuador, you probably eat some kind of leaf-wrapped, filled dough, whether you call them hallacas, tamales, or pasteles — and know there’s nothing better than a warmed-up one the day after Navidad. You also probably have an eggnog-style drink, called either coquito, ponche crema, rompope, or crema de vie, and might even set up a pesebre with baby Jesús to celebrate Los Reyes Magos. One thing that isn’t exactly a tradicion navideña for us Latinos? Gingerbread houses — but we’ve found examples that will change that fact altogether.
Making gingerbread houses is a classic U.S. Christmas tradition that recalls yule logs, hanging stockings, the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and caroling to all those songs we learned in school chorus like “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Yeah, just a bit different from our Nochebuena, but José Feliciano did pull off that “Feliz Navidad”/ “I want to wish you a Merry Christmas” mash-up, so why can’t we? We’ve found Latino-themed gingerbread houses that are equal parts impressive, hilarious and delicious, and we’re already figuring out how to recreate them ourselves. Now excuse us while we plan out our Navidad party around our galleta-de-jengibre creation, all the while we try to refrain from playing Bad Bunny’s “Safaera” in front of abuelita.
First up, we have this “casita de campo” gingerbread house, a truly impressive feat that symbolizes traditional Latin American culture to a tee. A stone-paved walkway leads up to the kind of farm house our bisabuela always talked about growing up in, surrounded by lush candy foliage shaped like palm trees, shrubs, and even un huerto with fruits and vegetables. The best part? The outdoor chiminea for cozy fireside cantos and stories.
Some of us are on the fence when it comes to anything sweet or dessert-like: sure, cheesecake is cool, but have you tried a tequeño or ensaladilla de pollo? If this sounds like you, may we present your perfect “gingerbread” house: made out of rolled-up tacos and cheese to make the most appetizing roof ever, this “Chicos Tacos”-themed creation is perfect. Extra points for the shredded cheese “snow,” and the sprinkled Nerds as colorful Christmas lights (via El Paso Times).
Another idea that immediately makes any gingerbread house a representation of your cultura and identity? Sticking your country’s flag on it and showing off your bandera to all your house guests. We love this very-Boricua casita de gengibre, set-up with classic gumdrops, cookies, royal icing, the Puerto Rican flag, a photo of merengue singer Jossie Esteban in the window, and “Llegó Navidad” playing in the background. Does it get better? We don’t think so.
We love any kind of gingerbread house, but have to say we prefer it when it says “El Taco” on the front and features a mix of spicy Mexican candy and shredded cheese. While the combination of bright-green Christmas tree Peeps, Reese’s cups, spicy-sweet goodies, what looks to be hot sauce, and a tortilla door might be off-putting to some, that’s not us. Bring on all of it: especially the triangular tortilla “icicles.”
A more classic version of a Latino-themed gingerbread casita, this rainbow-bright one is just the thing you need to recreate for a Nochebuena surprise your family will love. With “Feliz Navidad” written neatly at the top, this one includes icing-drawn technicolor floral designs, a Christmas star, una parejita de jengibre (couple goals), and cacti at the front in mariachi-style sombreros. Only problem? Now we want to live in that house.
We love this extremely thought-out paved-roof gingerbread house, complete with hacienda-style terracotta shingles, rounded windows, and tons of shrubs and flowers. We can’t get over the adorable eight cats prowling on top of the house, or the structure that recalls traditional arquitectura Latinoamericana. Another idea? Paint it bright blue and say it’s Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul.
Even if you haven’t seen the Disney film just yet, we can all get behind this “Encanto”-themed gingerbread house, inspired by the Madrigals’ magical home. Gingerbread, icing, and food coloring come together to make an adobe-style casita, which would fit right into the Colombian mountainside. Peeps and animal crackers line the outside to represent the flora and fauna that surround Mirabel and the rest of the Madrigal clan, while a sour straw symbolizes the movie’s special candle.
While you can always use a miniature flag or get inspired by your country’s architecture to give your gingerbread house a Latino spin, we also love the idea of using the candy we know and love from childhood. Made by Crafty Chica, this adobe-style casita de jengibre uses only Mexican candy, including Banderitas de Coco, Rockaletas, De la Rosa mazapan, and even some Hot Tamales. Easy to assemble with a traditional gingerbread house kit, you can find the step-by-step instructions here.
And last, an idea we can’t wait to attempt ourselves: a delightfully-tropical, beach shack style gingerbread house, including a rustic Mini Wheats roof, chocolate cigar columns, a surfboard, and the most delicious-looking sand and ocean we’ve ever seen. We think this casita would look right at home on the shores of Costa Rica or Culebra in Puerto Rico, and think the cooler full of Medallas or Modelos is a great touch.