How to host a cookie swap party
Holiday baking can be a real… biscuit. Instead of slaving over the oven for days, make your holiday a whole lot merrier by hosting a memorable cookie swap party!
Stock up on a great selection of tasty holiday cookies while celebrating the season among good company. It's a fun way to save precious time during the busiest month of the year! We've made it extra simple with some free party printables, 100 cookie swap recipes to peruse and inspirational decorating ideas.
A flawless setup
Get your invites out as soon as possible, since scheduling time with friends around the holidays can often be the most hectic. Download your free printable invitations here.
The perfect cookie swap party will consist of 10 to 12 guests. The basic idea is that each person brings two dozen cookies: a dozen to share and enjoy right then and there, and a dozen to trade around with other party guests so that each guest leaves with a variety of Christmas cookies, without all the baking!
In addition to the usual buffet bites and beverages, be sure to have these supplies on hand:
- Two dozen cookies (from the same recipe)
- Holiday music
- Party favors (ideas below)
- Festive decor (get the free downloadable printables from our party)
- Sharpie markers
What guests should bring:
- Two dozen cookies from the same recipe (One dozen will be used for sampling at the party, and the other dozen will be for swapping.)
- Large cookie tray for display
- Empty shoe box (if you aren't providing take-home boxes)
Get the look
If your guests brought shoe boxes to bring their cookies home, offer a decorating station stocked with wax paper squares, wrapping paper, tissue paper, washi tape, ribbons, string, glue, buttons, bows and more. Or get right to the cookie swapping action by prepping your own take-home containers using some of these cute cookie storage ideas we found.
Cast your vote
Midway through the party, offer your guests voting cards and ask each one to score the participants to award the following:
- Most mouthwatering
- Best presentation
- Most addictive
- Best-dressed baker
This station might also be a great place to offer a stack of our free printable recipe cards and pens for your guests to use to swap recipes.
Now it's time to set the table! Make sure you have a few extra platters in case guests brought their cookies in boxes. You can get creative, too, and use cake stands (like we did for those adorable red velvet bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes, our favorite!) or create your own out of a candlestick and plate (can you guess which cake stand was created like this?).
Our centerpiece was created using vintage rolling pins adorned with ribbons and cookie cutters and propped in a vase full of — what else? — sugar!
Take advantage of this free printable party pack to stage your own cookie swap party.
Print this party pack:
Snacks & beverages
When it comes to cookies, you have to have the milk! We rimmed our milk glasses with red decorating sugar and served them up with cute paper straws like these. Better yet, serve your milk in a vintage-style milk bottle.
How to: Rim a glass with sugar
Make a simple syrup by combing equal parts water and sugar. For our party, we used one cup of water and one cup of sugar. Bring the water and sugar to a boil and simmer gently for a few minutes. Allow the mixture to cool.
In order to create a neat line of syrup around the rim of your glass, we found it easiest to fold a paper towel into quarters and lay it across the bottom of a smaller saucepan. Next, we poured just enough syrup over the paper towel to moisten it, and then some. The idea is to create a sponge you can press the rim against.
Gently push the rim of the glass into the paper towel to coat the rim with simple syrup and immediately dip into a saucer of colored sugar.
Looking for something with a little more kick? Try one of these winter cocktail recipes.
Spicy winter cider
Make a large batch of this delicious warm cocktail without sacrificing your stovetop to splatters. This recipe enlists your drip coffeepot to make an easy spice-infused spiked cider. Place a coffee filter in the designated basket and fill it with a tablespoon of brown sugar, 1/8 teaspoon whole allspice, 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves, 1/4 cinnamon stick, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/4 pinch ground nutmeg and one orange, cut into quarters. Pour four cups of apple cider and 1/4 to 1/2 cup dark rum into the reservoir where you would normally pour the water, and then watch your trusty coffeemaker do the rest for you!
Pour 8 ounces of eggnog over ice, add 1 ounce of dark rum and stir with cinnamon stick. Finish off with an optional scoop of whipping cream, and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon!
Find more holiday cocktail ideas here >>
100 Cookie recipes
What's a cookie swap without the star ingredient? Here are 100 cookie swap recipes you can create for your cookie swap party.
- Two-ingredient pumpkin cookies
- 3D Christmas tree cookies
- Four-ingredient peanut butter cookies
- Almond bark cookies
- Almond glazed sugar cookies
- Almond sandies
- Almond poppy seed cookies
- Apple butter cookies
- Apple cranberry raisin cookies
- Apricot shortbread sandwich cookies
- Banana oat cookies
- Biscoff thumbprint cookies
- Blue fig thumbprint cookies
- Brown butter Rolo chocolate chip cookies
- Brightly colored leaf sugar cookies
- Citrus shortbread cookies
- Cinnamon stars cookies
- Cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookies
- Coconut-cardamom macaroons
- Coconut delight cookie bars
- Coconut delight cookie bars
- Cran-pistachio cookies
- Cran-crazy cookies
- Edible gift tag cookies
- Eggnog cookies
- Fig crumb bars
- Flourless chocolate-cranberry crinkle cookies
- Gingerbread men cookies
- Glazed apple cookies
- Gluten-free peanut butter cookies
- Iced pumpkin spice cookies
- Italian Christmas cookies
- Lemon-lavender shortbread cookies
- Lemon whippersnap cookies
- M&M cookies
- Maple almond butter sea salt cookies
- Peanut butter thumbprints
- Pecan pinwheel cookies
- Peppermint stripes
- Peppermint-chocolate shortbread
- Peppermint-chocolate sandwich cookies
- Perfect dark chocolate sugar cookies
- Pumpkin snickerdoodles
- Reese's peanut butter cup stuffed cookies
- Reindeer cookies
- Russian tea cakes
- Salted caramel shortbread bites
- Santa’s magic sugar cookies
- Strawberry basil whoopie pies
- Snowman Christmas cookies
- Spicy oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies
- Spicy ginger cookies
- Sugar cookies
- Sugarplum fruit butter thumbprint cookies
- The perfect chocolate chip cookie
- Toffee apple pie cookies
- Thin chocolate mints
- Vanilla sugar cookies
- Walnut snowball cookies
- White chocolate macadamia cookies
SheKnows party planner
Make your holiday get-together extra memorable for you and your guests by offering a party favor. Take a tip from the blogger behind She Wears Many Hats and offer your guests a printed recipe card of your cookies tied to a set of wooden spoons.
Another idea is to offer each of your guests one of the rolling pins from your centerpiece.
If this is a kid-friendly party, consider keeping them entertained with a cookie-decorating station. Offer them undecorated sugar cookies and gingerbread men and a variety of frosting colors with popsicle sticks for spreading, in place of knives. And of course, the best part… sprinkles! To avoid a messy sprinkle catastrophe, fill Dixie cups with small amounts of sprinkles to let the kids choose their toppings of choice.