12 gingerbread houses that are nicer than your actual home

You probably hung up the cake icing tubes and gumdrops back in third grade, but some people are still very much in the gingerbread house game. All those extra years of candy sculpting have clearly paid off, as you can see from these daring works of gingerbread genius. They obviously belong in Architectural Digest, but since those guys are busy covering new Olympic stadiums or something boring, we've assembled some of the swankiest edible estates right here. See all the pads below, then just try to talk yourself out of Lifesaver shutters.

George Eastman House gingerbread house
George Eastman House

Now 18 seasons running, the George Eastman House's gingerbread contest brings out fortresses like this sugary castle, which earns 10 points for an actual moat, but loses 100 for no dragons.

Claremont Hotel gingerbread house
Claremont Hotel Blog

The Claremont Hotel's enormous gingerbread manor is so cozy, you might be tempted to crawl inside its honey-scented walls. But don't, because that's frowned upon.

Sheraton Seattle Ariel's castle gingerbread house
Sheraton Seattle

This snackable version of the Little Mermaid's castle shows Sheraton Seattle isn't messing around. The hotel hosts an annual "Gingerbread Village" where their culinary minds and local architectural firms unite to create masterful candy homes. This year's theme is nursery rhymes, so get ready for some confusingly appetizing three blind mice.

Downton Abbey gingerbread house
YouTube/Curtis Jensen

PBS's number one fan made this gingerbread replica of the Crawley home from Downton Abbey last year, and while it's pretty nice, Maggie Smith would find the whole thing completely middle class.

Winchester gingerbread house

The majestic front porch! The gushing fountain! All that...um...beading?! The only thing this Winchester gingerbread mansion is missing is a disgruntled, edible butler.

Sweet Lisa's Bendel store gingerbread house
Sweet Lisa's

The Henri Bendel store that inspired this creation may have been established in 1895, but let's hope its architect threw historical accuracy to the wind and sprung for some slightly fresher gingerbread.

Fairmont Hotel & Resorts life-size gingerbread house
Fairmont Hotel & Resorts

All other gingerbread houses look like shady lean-tos next to the Fairmont Hotel's two-story Victorian. That's over 22ft of homemade gingerbread bricks held together by more than 1 ton of "royal icing", because you never know when the Queen's stopping by.

Omni Grove Park Inn Muppets gingerbread house
Omni Grove Park Inn

The Omni Grove Park Inn of Asheville hosts a yearly gingerbread competition that's unearthed such gems as this Muppet Christmas Carol-inspired abode. Luckily, they managed to chain Animal to the balcony before he shredded the whole thing.

St. Regis Hotel gingerbread house
St. Regis Hotel

Suspiciously, the homeowners of this spot (located in the lobby of the St. Regis Hotel in DC) are all about hanging gratuitous wreaths, but hate their Christmas tree so much they make it sleep outside under a blanket of snow.

Sheraton Seattle Russian gingerbread house
Sheraton Seattle

In Soviet Russia, bread gingers you!!!

White House gingerbread house
Wikicommons/Samantha Appleton

The gingerbread White House is a festive tradition perhaps even more sacred than when they choose not to murder one turkey for Thanksgiving. This one's from '09, and while the outside is white chocolate, the House's foundation is made of fallen gingerbread men.

Kristin Hunt is a food/drink staff writer for Thrillist. Some of her strongest friendships are built on cheeseburgers. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.