By Billie Lopez and Tootie Maldonado

Last December, we were looking for a creative way to reuse the extra shipping boxes we had lying around our shop. We came up with these “gingerboard” houses, which are an unexpected and fun way to package gifts for family and friends.

You can also keep them for yourself to use as decorations around the house. Put a few LED tea lights inside and use translucent paper in the windows to make it glow from within.

Making these houses may take a bit more time than your average gift wrap, but they’re sure to be a hit at the next holiday party. The best part is they can be used over and over again.

You can customize your house however you’d like, and there’s no need to buy new materials. Go through your own stash for pages from old books, kids’ drawings, fabric scraps, newspaper, cancelled stamps — anything goes.

Gingerboard houses are every bit as sweet as their edible cousins, only you won’t get cavities!