Gingerbread houses are a staple of holiday decorating; they are festive, exceptionally ornate and simple enough that even young children can participate in building one. However, gingerbread houses are also generally large and time-consuming, and you may wish to preserve the finished creation beyond the holiday season. It's always a good idea to form your gingerbread creation on a sturdy platform that can stay with the house and offer it continual support, so make sure to prepare a stand ahead of time.
Why do you want to preserve your gingerbread house?
When deciding the best method for preserving your gingerbread house, you first have to decide your reason for preserving it. Do you want to save it for next year? Are there just too many holiday goodies in the house to eat in a reasonable amount of time, so you want to put it away until your family is ready for additional treats? The ultimate goal will determine your best preservation method.
You have the perfect gingerbread house that you spent hours creating, and you don't want to have to repeat all that effort next year. No problem. You can save the gingerbread house and set it out for as many years as you like. First, you'll have to make sure that the gingerbread house and all of its decorations are very dry. Generally, this has already been achieved by the end of the holidays. If not, leave it in a cool, dry place for a couple of weeks to get as much moisture out as possible. Now, coat the entire house with spray acrylic lacquer (available at most hardware stores). Make sure that the inside and out are thoroughly coated -- even if you have to remove the roof and then re-attach it with hot glue. Let it dry, then place the house in a sturdy box with cushioning, storing it where it won't get dusty or broken.
Saving your gingerbread house for later consumption
If you love gingerbread and don't want to waste such tasty edibles, then all you need for proper preservation is a little freezer space. Carefully wrap the entire house and any "landscaping" in plastic wrap, making sure that no gingerbread is exposed. Use freezer tape to seal up the seams in between each wrap of plastic, being careful to avoid any possibility of air flow, which can lead to freezer burn. Place the house in a safe part of your freezer, and bring it back out a few hours before you're ready to eat.