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!

Cookie swap party pack

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

First things first: You need to get your party outfit pulled together! Invite your guests to attend wearing their favorite apron. We love the “Deck the Halls” apron from Flirty Aprons. And don’t forget your nails! Try this incredibly cute custom cookie swap nail design.
nail design apron

Party activities

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.

paper plate baskets

DIY paper baskets

stamped kraft bags

Stamped kraft bags

martha stewart cookie boxes

Martha Stewart cookie boxes

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.

recipe cards


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?).

center piece

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: 



cupcake toppers

Cupcake toppers

cookie swap straw flags

Straw flags

table labels

Table labels


Treat cones



treat cone

Treat cones


Table flags


Cookie award

recipe cards

Recipe cards

Snacks & beverages

Milk and Cookies

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!

Rum-spiked eggnog

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.

Holiday cookie recipes for cookie swap |

SheKnows party planner

ugly sweater winter wonderland trim a tree new years eve

See all of our party ideas >>

Little extras

Rolling pin favors for Cookie Swap Party

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.

See the board on Pinterest

How to host a cookie swap party | Pinterest board