Welcome to the 3rd Annual

Homes for the Holidays Gingerbread House Contest

December 3 - December 9, 2023
Downtown Kalamazoo

Tis’ the season for some fun with those you love the most (or just yourself if you’re more of the Grinch type this holiday season). No judgments here.

We’ve curated a new downtown holiday contest sure to leave you filled with holiday glee, all while we raise awareness about our non-profit’s mission to provide critical home repair support for homeowners in our community.

Here’s how to participate in this year’s contest in Downtown Kalamazoo:

December 3 - 9th

Step 1
Visit one of nearly 20 downtown retail sites in-person to view this year’s gingerbread house entries from Sunday, Dec. 3 to Saturday, Dec. 9. Santa hat is optional!
Step 2
Download the PDF map to find the authorized display sites or pick up a printed version map at one of the nearly 20 participating downtown retail locations.
Step 3
Use your contest map and jot notes about your favorite gingerbread house entries. A sign with a unique ID # will be displayed next to each gingerbread house (ex. #5).
Step 4
Once you view all the entries, scan one of the QR codes or visit this page again to vote for your favorite entry. One vote is permitted per email. The voting page will not go live until Dec 3rd*!
Step 5
The top “voter getter” will be crowned as the 2023 People’s Choice Award winner.
Step 6
Our celebrity judges will view all the entries and select the 2023 Judges’ Choice Award and Iconic Structures category winners.
Step 7
Visit our YouTube channel on Thursday, December 21 at 6PM to see who wins the 2023 contest!

2023 Retail Display Hosts

  • Abonmarche Byce
  • Bee Joyful Shop
  • Black Arts & Cultural Center
  • Caffe Casa
  • Cherri’s Chocol’art
  • Colors and Cocktails
  • Discover Kalamazoo
  • Dessert First & Dover Birch (Displayed in the old V&A Bootery location)
  • Earthly Delights at Amy Zane
  • Epic Center
  • Gazelle Sports
  • Honor Credit Union
  • Kalamazoo Public Library
  • Kzoo in the Mitten
  • MRC Industries artWORKS
  • Pop City Popcorn
  • Radisson Plaza Hotel Lobby/Greenleaf Hospitality
  • Rocket Fizz
  • The Spirit of Kalamazoo
  • Uncle Buddy’s Toy Stash
  • The Station

2023 Award Categories

  • People’s Choice Award (Chosen by YOU!)

  • Judges’ Choice Award

  • Iconic Structures Award

  • Kids 14 & Under Award


Chef Ralph Humes Head Shot

Celebrity Chef Ralph Humes

Chef Ralph Humes was the owner of Kalamazoo’s own, R.Stanley’s Diner and Gourmet Desserts. Most recently, he’s known as a Chef to the Stars; cooking up incredible tasting meals from kitchens in concert halls to cooking for artists, bands, and crews on the road. He’s worked for such artists and groups as Neil Diamond, Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Miranda Lambert, Bob Dylan, Mavis Staples, Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift. He has a passion for music and plays the bass whenever he gets the opportunity. Ralph resides in Michigan on a lake near the Sturgis area with his wife. After all the years of traveling, there is nothing better than spending time with his family and relaxing by the lake!

Meet Our local celebrity judges

Entries will be judged by a panel of local celebrity judges and trophies will be awarded for each category winner. Our 2023 local celebrity judges’ panel includes:


City of kalamazoo


Bogan Development


Rocket Fizz


Kalamazoo Chamber 


Sarkozy Bakery



  • Take part in some virtual holiday family fun and submit an entry to compete in the ‘Kids 14 & Under’ Award category. Our ‘Kids 14 & Under’ gingerbread house award category is available Online only. Have an adult submit your entry by email only.

    1. Review the 2023 Contest Rules PDF (here) prior to starting on your gingerbread house entry.
    2. Have fun making your gingerbread house masterpiece! Festive holiday music is optional.
    3. Send us photos of your entry no later than Tuesday, December 19 at noon.
    4. Have an adult email us at [email protected]. Attach your images. You can also email any questions to this email address.
    5.  Make sure to include the name and age of the builder (ex. Santa C., Age 8) and a title of your entry (ex. Exchange Building). An auto-reply email will bounce back to confirm we received your email.
    6. A special judging committee will select this year’s award winner.
    7. Visit our YouTube Channel on December 21 at 6 PM to see who won this year’s Kids 14 & Under Award. Honorable mention entries will also be spotlighted.


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2022 Homes for the Holidays Kick-Off Event

December 9, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join us live on Facebook and Youtube for the official 2022 Contest Kickoff Event, which includes announcing the 2022 categories, introducing our celebrity judges, providing entrance rules, and offering valuable tips and tricks!


December 9, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


Community Homeworks
(269) 998-3275
View Organizer Website
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2022 Homes for the Holidays Awards Broadcast

December 22, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join Santa, and the Elves at the North Pole live on Facebook and Youtube to award our top entrants from each category the 2022 winners and honorable mention! 
  • Each category winner will receive a custom produced 2022 trophy.
  • The photo of the 2022 Gingerbread Masterpiece will be hung in the Hall of Fame at Community Homeworks’ headquarters and will be featured in next year’s promotion.
  • Downloadable certificates will be provided to all kids and families who participate.

Categories include:

  • Iconic Structures in Kalamazoo
  • People’s Choice
  • Judges’ Choice (2022 Gingerbread Masterpiece)
  • Kids 14 and Under


December 22, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


Community Homeworks
(269) 998-3275
View Organizer Website

Gingerbread House Building 101: A Virtual Workshop

Sorry Netflix, the Great British Bake Off has nothing on us this holiday season. Join our team and celebrity chef, Ralph Humes, to learn tricks and hacks to make a gingerbread house too good to eat. Whether you are a seasoned competitive builder or a first-time novice, these episodes will provide the confidence to create an edible holiday masterpiece. Be sure to watch these workshops and enter our official contest.

Part 1: Building FUNdamentals

Part 2: Decorating & Details

Thank you to our 2023 sponsors

Presenting Level

Supporting Level

Building Level

Allkins Family Foundation

Kit Level