A well-planned cookie exchange can provide a break from holiday season stress rather than adding to it. Not only is it a great opportunity to socialize with friends and family in a relaxing atmosphere!
When choosing a recipe, don't feel limited to cookies. Select a recipe that can be easily multiplied or made in batches and frozen as you go. For ideas see our Cookie Exchange Collection, and consider asking guests to bring their recipes to share.
As the host you can decide how you want to organize the exchange based on the size of your group and how you want to spend your time. Some common formats:
- Gather for a meal and swap pre-packaged cookies
If you want to spend most of your time socializing with your guests, this option may work best for you. Ask guests to arrive with one to two dozen cookies per person already baked and packaged. Since you'll spend less time swapping cookies, you'll have a lot of time to catch up over a meal or appetizers. This format can work any time of day, any day of the week.
- Bring your cookies and package them at the gathering
Ask everyone to bring one to two dozen cookies per person and set them out on a table or buffet. Guests will spend time at the event packaging their own cookies, which allows some flexibility in the number of cookies they bring and take home. This format could work with a full meal but lends itself well to light appetizers and beverages so guests can eat during the packaging.
- Bake cookies together
This option requires the least amount of preparation by your guests, but it's the most labor intensive during the gathering. It works best with a well-organized small group. Choose a mix of recipes using the oven, stovetop and microwave so that multiple kinds of treats can be made at once without everyone competing for the same space. Consider cooling times as well so the host isn't left packaging everything at the end. To cut down on prep time during the gathering, set up stations in advance with all the right recipes, ingredients and necessary utensils.
Looking for other options to make your event fun? Try these twists to keep things interesting:
- Donate some of your treats to a shelter so that everyone in the community can enjoy delicious home baked goods. Be sure to research shelters in advance so you know where to deliver the treats after the party.
- Have guests vote on best tasting, most creative, best looking and best all around. Award small seasonal prizes to the winners. Consider giving items like holiday kitchen towels or oven mitts, small lotions or festive candles as prizes.
Remember, a cookie exchange should be fun and festive, not another source of holiday stress. When in doubt, keep it simple!
Need cookie exchange menu ideas? Try any of these scalable recipes: