Starr uses mini M&Ms to decorate the houses (her mom used Red Hots). Pretzels can be used to make many things. Starr and her sister can make monkey bars, slides (use piece of gum for the actual slide), swing sets and fences out of pretzels.
To make a Christmas tree, turn an ice cream cone upside down and cover with green icing and decorate with star sprinkles. Make a snowman out of large marshmallows with pretzel arms and star sprinkles for the face features. Tootsie Rolls can be fire logs.
Make a sled from one piece of a graham cracker and two small candy canes. Top with gummy bears.
Gum drops and peppermints can decorate the sidewalks.
Gummy bears not only are children's favorites but Starr likes using gummy bears for her gingerbread house scenes, including making them hang upside down from the pretzel monkey bars or sitting on the swing. Recently, she even made a river (blue icing) and had gummy bears floating down the river on red and white lifesaver candies. She made a bridge over the water with a Payday candy bar, but said rock candy works better.
“It's all about what kind of candy you can find and experimenting to see what works best,” Starr said. “I've used Laffy Taffy and old-fashioned ribbon candy, whatever works.”
Starr uses a set of Pampered Chef cake decorating tips to put the finishing touches on the gingerbread house and scene.
She made a mailbox from a colorful peppermint stick with a large square peppermint candy on top. A piece of gum was cut to look like the mailbox flag. While most things stay in place, she had trouble with the mailbox, having to use a salt and pepper shaker to keep it in place until the icing took hold.