Do you love celebrating the holidays with a huge assortment of homemade cookies, but can't face all that baking? Then a cookie exchange is the perfect party for you! Here's how to pull it all together.
Party Planning Basics
Each guest should bring 1 dozen cookies x the number of guests. (For example, if you're expecting 8 guests, each person would make 8 dozen cookies.) Make suggestions so you get a good assortment of different types of Christmas cookies.
Ask guests to bring copies of their cookie recipes and their own containers to take cookies home. Heavy duty plastic freezer bags will work for sturdy drop cookies and most bar cookies, but decorated cookies and more delicate shapes should be packaged in tins or sealable plastic containers. Provide waxed paper or parchment for separating layers of cookies.
One Week Before the Party
- Finalize the guest list and let everyone know how many people to bake for.
- Decide on party treats and drinks. To keep things easy, ask friends to bring some of the snacks, too.
Tip: Savory bites and dips balance out the sweetness of the cookies you're all sure to eat.
Three Days Before the Party
- Bake your cookies and store them in airtight containers or freeze them.
- Start making appetizers that freeze or store well.
- Write out a rough schedule for the party. You want everyone to socialize, but still have time to pack up cookies during the exchange.
One Day Before the Party
- Finish making appetizers and drinks.
- Set up the cookie table; it should hold a large variety of cookies and be accessible by more than one person at a time.
- If you have cake stands or other tiered serving trays, use them--dishes at different heights add visual drama.
The Day of the Party
- Arrange food and drinks.
- Fix up any last-minute decorations.
- Brew the coffee, hot cider, or punch, put on some festive attire and get ready to party!
Here are ways to make the party more meaningful and memorable:
Extend Your Circle of Sharing
Have guests to bring an unopened package of store-bought cookies or canned food. You can then collect the packaged food and bring them to a homeless shelter or food pantry.
Share Cookie Stories
During the actual cookie-swap segment of the party, tell stories. It could be a story about the cookie's origin, where the cook learned the recipe, or just holiday baking memories.
Create Cookie Recipe Booklets
Ask your guests to mail (or e-mail) their cookie recipes to you, or collect the recipes on the day of the party. Assemble a booklet of recipes for everyone to take home with them.
Bag 'Em and Tag 'Em
Provide boxes, bags, ribbons, and tags so guests can take their cookies home in style.
While We're On The Subject Of Cookies
Need to brush up on your cookie-baking skills? We've got you covered. Want to decorate your cookies? We've got recipes for frosting and icing, decorating tips, and decoration inspiration. Want to decorate cookies AND exchange them? We bow to your awesomeness and offer you these tips for throwing a cookie decorating party.