All I Want for Christmas Is… Cookies!

A Cookie Exchange is a fun Christmas tradition for people who like to bake. Not only do home bakers get the chance to spend quality time together in a relaxed setting, but they also get to take a fair share of scrumptious cookies home for ‘Happy Holidays’ indeed! If you have never participated in a Cookie Exchange, either as a hostess or attendee, you should make this the year that it happens!

The basics of a Cookie Exchange are simple: friends and family get together to exchange cookies. Each person invited to the Cookie Exchange bakes a different kind of cookie than everyone else and bakes enough cookies to take to the exchange so that each attendee can take some home.

Hosting a Cookie Exchange is easy! Keep these tips in mind.

Approximately four weeks before the Cookie Exchange, send out invitations. Decide on how many cookies each person needs to bake prior to the Cookie Exchange, based on how many cookies you want each guest to be able to take home from each person attending. Now is a good time to let everyone know if the cookies should be themed (like Christmas themed) or baked from scratch. Need inspiration for yourself and baker friends? Check out these Cookie Exchange Recipes from Betty Crocker. Make sure to include ‘RSVP’ on the invitation with a space for the invitee to write down what kind of cookie he or she will be baking and bringing to the exchange.

Two weeks before the Cookie Exchange, check your RSVPs to find out what kind of cookies your guests plan on making. If more than one person is planning on making the same type of cookie, you may want to make some cookie replacement suggestions so there are not too many of one type of cookie. Start planning a menu for non-cookie party foods. Consider easy eats like these 65 Easiest Finger Foods Ever from MyRecipes. Decide on what table you’ll use for guests to place their prepared cookies on once they arrive and what table or space you’ll use for party foods and drinks, and make sure you have enough seating for guests. Create an online holiday music playlist or pull out your holiday records!

One week before the Cookie Exchange, ask your guests to bring a serving platter to place their cookies on so the other attendees can “Ooh and aah!” and nibble before packaging their cookies to take home. Remind attendees to also bring re-sealable plastic baggies or inexpensive plastic containers with lids for packaging up all the cookies they’ll be taking home. It’s a good idea for you to also stock up on these in case someone forgets to bring theirs. Or, you can create a packaging station with small gift boxes, heavy-duty paper plates, cellophane, tissue paper, ribbons, twine, tags, etc. Create some festive folding place cards with the names of the cookies (and baker) to place near each type of cookie on the display table.

Two days before the Cookie Exchange, start baking your cookies. If you bake your cookies more than two days before the party, you should consider freezing the cookies.

One day before the Cookie Exchange, you should make sure there is enough room for the attendees to move around the table where the cookies will be placed. Decorate the table but remember to leave enough space for all the cookies! Prep party foods. If the cookies you baked are frozen, remove them from the freezer and let them come to room temperature overnight.

The day of the Cookie Exchange, get the drinks prepped so they can be prepared quickly once the guests arrive. Coffee, tea, cocktails, and wine are all good choices for a Cookie Exchange. Once the Cookie Exchange is underway, have each of your guests share some information about why they chose the cookie they baked. Is it a family recipe? Is it a favorite childhood cookie? Lastly, make sure to have a master email list prepared so that the guests can email their recipes to the other guests.

There’s nothing that says Christmas better than a homemade holiday!