Although foam-stuffed felt gingerbread houses have their allure, nothing compares to a real, edible gingerbread house. Who cares if it's ephemeral, or if it's a potential target for pets and pests? It's all about the prettiness. And the wonderful smell. And the sugar. (Mmm, sugar.)
You could just buy a kit... and maybe, if it's your first time, that's what you want to do. But if it isn't, you will probably appreciate Gingerbread Lane (a.k.a. Ginger Lane Kitchens), a site with lots of ideas and advice for budding cookie house architects. Everything you need to know to be a successful builder is right there.
You'll find gingerbread and icing recipes, suggestions for which decorative candies to use, a pattern for a "beginner's" basic 8"x8"x12" house, construction and preservation tips, a gallery of creations by the site's owner and others, and plenty of links. While you're there, don't miss Ginger's Parisian street scene... featuring a gingerbread Eiffel Tower!
If you're thinking of putting together your own edible house, why not check out the Flickr Gingerbread House Showcase pool for ideas? Better yet, check out our gingerbread house gallery: it starts right here.