I don’t know about you, but I LOVE fresh homemade cookies for the holidays! However, I do NOT love baking tons and tons of different types of cookies. Who has time for that?!?! I’m lucky if I can focus enough to get one or two different kinds finished up in time. So how do I remedy that? I host a Cookie Exchange with a number of girlfriends and at the end of the night, I have multiple types of cookies to serve for Christmas without all of the effort, I got to spend some much-needed girl time with my friends, and had fun while doing it! Here are 10 Tips for Throwing a Cookie Exchange Party. You are going to love it!
1. Pick a date! We all know how hectic the holidays can be, so this can be a little tricky. You want to make sure that you have it close enough to Christmas so the cookies are still nice and fresh for friends and family celebrating the holiday together, but you also want to make sure you leave enough time so everyone can attempt to make it during the craziness of the holidays! Start working on a date early!
2. Invites! Determine how big you want your party to be. The larger it is, the more cookies you will have to make, but it also means that you’ll get that many more cookies back to you than are different from your own! Also, make sure you stress the importance of the RSVP! We all know that things can come up at the last minute, but since this party is very much wrapped around how many people will be coming, you want to make sure you get as close a number of people attending as possible.
Looking for some great invite ideas for your Cookie Exchange? Check out these FREE Printable Invites from Spend With Pennies, along with even more great FREE Printables for your Cookie Exchange HERE, courtesy of How To Nest For Less!
3. This is for sure a personal preference, but I like to hold a cookie exchange that only has homemade cookies involved. Of course, some store-bought cookies can be yummy, but since this is all about trying new things, my party requires homemade cookies only!
4. Make sure to be clear on how many dozen cookies each attendee needs to bring. For example, if you have 8 guests coming, you’ll probably want to request everyone to bring 9 or 10 dozen of the SAME cookie. That way, all 8 guests will be able to swap a dozen of their cookies with everyone else, plus there will also be a dozen or two left over for samples at the party! (That also makes things easier on you when it comes time to serve food for the cookie exchange!).
5. Have all of your guests include a recipe of the cookie that they are making with each bag. This way, when someone inevitably finds a new favorite that they can’t WAIT to make themselves, there won’t be any concern on tracking down who brought what and finding the recipe in the future! Looking to make things a little easier? You can always request all guests email you a copy of the recipe. Once everyone has sent their recipe to you, you can combine them and send out an email to everyone so it will always be available to them electronically!
6. Again, this is another personal preference, but you may want to consider requesting all of your guests to bring a cookie that will be nut-free. Especially for those parties where the cookies are going to be heading into a home with lots of little ones who may have allergies! It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
7. Getting ready for the big day! Make sure you have lots of table space available to show off all of the wonderful creations your friends and family spent hours slaving over! You may also want to make sure you have some tent cards available that people can quickly jot down the name of their cookie (and who brought it) next to their cookies. Let’s give these people some credit for all of their hard work! Make sure you have some great Christmas decorations to spruce up the cookie table and offer up some festive drinks (hot cocoa bar, maybe?) and fun will be had by all!
8. Looking for Inspiration? Check out The Art of the Cookie: Baking Up Inspiration By the Dozen. You may want to purchase a book like this and let your guests stop over anytime to use before the big day! Or, even keep it out during the party. You want to make sure everyone gets some inspiration for next year.
9. Award winners! Depending on the amount of awards you plan to give, you can make some great DIY gifts to hand out for multiple winners, or offer up a great cookie cookbook, apron, or cookie jar. Or … simply hand out the great ribbons above and keep expenses low! Everyone is already going home with dozens of cookies that they didn’t have to make. The possibilities are endless!
10. So what are you going to do with your newfound cookie lottery winnings?!?! For starters, if you have some time to kill before your main holiday events, you’ll want to get them in the freezer ASAP so they stay fresh for your holiday parties. Depending on the timing of your party, you can request guests to make a cookie that will freeze well and is bagged in freezer-safe bags, and voila! All you’ll have to do is plop them in the freezer and grab them a day before your main Christmas celebrations!
What are your favorite holiday party planning tips?! Let us know in the comments below.
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- KitchenAid Professional 5-Quart Mixer (Various Color Options)
- Wilton 6-Color Christmas Sprinkle Mix
- Wilton Comfort Grip Cookie Press
- Snowflake Cookie Cutter
- Wilton Cookie Pro II Cookie Press
- Wilton Holiday 10-Piece Cookie Cutter Set
- Rachael Ray 5-Piece Bakeware Set
- Wilton 3-Tier Cookie Cooling Rack
- Snowman Cookie Platter
- Rachael Ray’s Holiday Tree Serving Platter
- Cookies For Santa Plate