Cookie Exchange

A holiday cookie exchange is the perfect way to say, "Happy Holidays" to everyone at the party without having to buy each person at the party a gift. A Christmas cookie making party combines the holiday spirit with yummy treats and extreme creativity. It even provides dessert for your party that evening!

Christmas Cookie Exchange Invitations
The first step in planning your Christmas cookie exchange is to spread the word. If you are having the cookie exchange at home a good option is to send a Christmas cookie party invitation from Party411.com. If you are doing an exchange in the office you can make a sign up sheet for those who would like to participate in the exchange.

You need to have an RSVP for this party so you have an idea of how many guests (and cookies!) you are accommodating. A guest list of 8-12 people is a good size for this party. Tell everyone to bring five dozen of the same cookie to the party, four dozen for each person to take home, plus another dozen for sampling during the party.

Also, you can have guests let you know what type of cookies they will be bringing, so you don't end up with dozens of chocolate chip. Everyone must make a different kind of cookie. My feeling is that it's first come, first served. If Susie RSVPs or signs the list first then she can choose to bake any kind of cookies that she wants. If she chooses to make chocolate chip cookies then Bertha, who is second, can make any kind of cookies except for chocolate chip. Also, once you choose what kind of cookie to make, you must make all of them the same kind.

Christmas Cookie Exchange Decorations and Party Supplies
Besides the Christmas décor you will undoubtedly have up, decorate your party space with a few whimsical cookie themed decorations to make the event really spectacular! Start with a personalized cookie banner in the front yard to welcome everyone.

Prepare a large table for everyone to set their cookies out on. Spread a festive holiday tablecloth on the table, and place a few balloon bouquets with gingerbread house balloons in them on the ends of the table. If you have a plain cloth you are planning on using to cover the table, spice it up by sprinkling cute Christmas confetti all over the tabletop.

You should make some little signs for people to set out with their cookies as well. They can write the name of the cookie as well as their own name, so everyone will know who to credit for the "Just like Grandma's" kolachkis.

Christmas snowflake ceiling danglers are absolutely adorable, so hang some over your cookie table and in your front hall or foyer. Turn on some Christmas music to set the mood. I recommend going with the soothing voice of a Christmas crooner, maybe Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra. You can also light a few bakery scented candles. Or use one of my old tricks; add a dozen or so whole cloves and a few cinnamon sticks to a pan of simmering water, your house will smell divine all day!

Christmas Cookie Exchange Table Decorations
You really don't need to serve a meal at this party, but it is nice to serve some snaking food and appetizers. But let your guests know this on the invitation so they know what to expect - "Join us for drinks and appetizers as we exchange Christmas cookies (we may eat some of those too)".

Serve a cheese ball with crackers, a few dips and spreads, some nuts and snack mixes, and a festive drink like eggnog or mulled cider. You should also set out a coffee and tea station, because all of those cookies will make everyone thirsty. Set out a cooler with individual milk bottles near the cookies. Add a personalized label to the bottles for a unique touch!

Set out some fun Christmas paper goods that everyone can load up with tasty treats. You can make silverware bundles by wrapping silverware in napkins and then tying them off with Christmas garland.

Cookie Exchange Party Activities
The main activity at a cookie exchange is, of course, the exchanging of the cookies. Do this near the end of the party, but not too late that people will be starting to leave. 30 minutes before the party ends is a good time. Before you start, take a group photo of everyone standing around the cookie table, and send the photograph to all of the participants at a later date. If this turns into an annual affair, everyone will enjoy looking back at previous parties!

Then start divvying up the goods (baked goods, that is!). Just let everyone know that they can take X amount of each cookie, and then they can make their way around the table, loading up their cookie tray. And FYI- it is in very poor taste to refuse ANYONE's cookies even though Kim's are burnt to a crisp and Chrissy made orange-peanut butter cookies with banana crème frosting (simply throw them away at home).

If you need some additional activities, check out our Christmas party games. This is a great way to get people mingling if there are a lot of strangers in the crowd. Nothing brings folks together like a game of candy cane connection!

Cookie Exchange Party Favors
Since the main "favor" of the cookie exchanges is the cookies, make it special by giving everyone a serving tray to load all of their cookies onto. Then you can provide colored cling wrap or tin foil so they can cover their haul and transport it safely.

Or go to your local baking store and pick up some metal cookie cutters. Set up a small Christmas tree near the exit, and hang the cookie cutters on the tree with red ribbon. Set up a small sign near the tree instructing guests to choose one to take home.

Another fun and personalized favor is a Christmas candy bar or a mint tin from Party411.com with your special holiday message on it. Whatever you send your guests home with, be assured they will be leaving with many happy memories!

Happy baking, and please send any leftover cookies to The Party Girl c/o Party411.com.