How to host a holiday cookie exchange
Holiday cookie exchanges are the yummiest way to celebrate the season. Host a fun gathering that gives everyone the gift of delicious homemade baked goods.
Step 1: Pick a date and send invitations
Consider a weekday evening for a holiday cookie exchange. Weekends are often packed with workplace parties and family obligations. Because the holiday season is such a busy time for everyone, invite a larger number of people than you anticipate hosting. Consider making this an adults-only event unless you’re planning on setting up entertainment and refreshments for little ones.
Step 2: Include a checklist on the invitations
When you invite your cookie exchange participants, include a clear checklist of things to do and what to bring. Print your own invitations with boxes your guests can conveniently check off or include a separate checklist in the envelope. If you want to save time and money, use Facebook or Evite to send the invitations. Here are some sample checklist items:
- Bake and bring 10 dozen cookies.
- Bake cookies that travel well.
- Do not include recipes with nuts.
- Bring storage containers for cookies.
- Bring copies of the cookie recipe to exchange with other guests.
- Bring a canned good to the exchange to donate.
Step 3: Set up the cookie display
Prepare for your party by creating a centerpiece area to display the cookies. Also set up areas to mingle and pack up cookies.
- Try a large buffet table decorated in festive holiday colors.
- Use a paper tablecloth and tufts of tissue paper for easy cleanup.
- Include a separate packing area with ample waxed paper and extra disposable food storage containers for guests to pack up cookies to take home.
- Offer guests blank labels and colorful pens to label their own cookie containers.
- Give guests plenty of room to mingle and taste-test cookies.
Step 4: Serve holiday refreshments
The best part of a cookie exchange is indulging in the bounty of holiday cookies. Invite guests to taste-test the cookies on display. Make it easy by including small dessert plates and napkins at the cookie display area. Don’t forget holiday refreshments that pair well with cookies. Try a selection of lightly flavored ice water, spiced apple cider, coffee and a crisp chilled white wine. With all the sweets on the menu, serve a few salty and savory finger foods to combat the sugar overload. Anything with bacon is always a hit.
Step 5: Send your guests home happy
At the end of the exchange, offer your guests a cloth tote bag to carry the cookies home. Try your local grocery store for holiday-themed reusable grocery bags or buy them in bulk online. Remind guests to pick up copies of their favorite recipes so they can add the cookies to their holiday repertoires.