Indiana Memorial Union Executive Pastry Chef Ashley Massie and some of the builders at the 2016 Gingerbread House Workshop. Courtesy photos


Turning the Tudor Room into something resembling Santa’s Workshop requires a lot of hard work and a little ingenuity. To do so, Indiana Memorial Union (IMU) Executive Pastry Chef Ashley Massie says her staff made more than 1,000 pounds of gingerbread and 100 pounds of icing for the IMU Gingerbread House Workshop last year.

Explaining that she enjoys finding unique ways to decorate the gingerbread houses, Massie says, “We used 47 different types of candy, including my favorite, NECCO Wafers.”

Because the event has proven so popular, this year the IMU will host two Gingerbread House Workshops—one on Sunday, December 3, and another the following week on Sunday, December 10. Both workshops are from 3 to 6 p.m. Those attending receive a kit to construct their own gingerbread house.

The gingerbread masterpiece that graced the IMU lobby during the 2016 holiday season. Courtesy photos

IMU Restaurant and Catering Director Bari Kuhlman says the workshop isn’t just for children—it attracts families and people of all ages who want to make holiday memories together. Kuhlman and her staff plan for months to ensure the atmosphere is festive, with a visit from Santa Claus, hot cocoa, gingerbread cookies, and live holiday music.

“During the workshop, Ashley works the room, going from table to table, helping the kids, talking about construction and design,” Kuhlman says. “People love it. And I love that this activity is multigenerational. Grandparents can celebrate the holiday with their grandkids, families can come together, or friends can get together and do a project. And everyone leaves with a piece of holiday decor they’ve created.”

The event is held in conjunction with a large gingerbread house display in the IMU lobby. Says Massie, “My favorite part about the gingerbread workshop is seeing the community inspired to be creative. Each person brings their personality to the houses, some of which inspire our house the following year!”

The workshop costs $25 per house, and each house can have up to four builders. Preregistration is required. Email [email protected] to register, and look for a confirmation email in reply.