How to Host a Cookie Exchange

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Attention Christmas cookie lovers!  Let me show you how to host a Christmas cookie exchange party without the stress.  I have some tips and tricks to make it as easy as possible.

How to hold a stress free cookie swap party


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This post is sponsored by Teleflora.  All opinions are 100% my own. 

One of my favorite holiday activities is hosting or going to cookie exchange parties.  It’s a great way to get a variety of cookies without having to bake dozens of cookies.  Plus, it’s a fun (and delicious) way to visit with your friends, admire their holiday decorations and relax during a hectic time of the year.

Cookie exchange parties are also a great way to celebrate the holidays with co-workers.  When I worked full-time, I would coordinate the staff holiday cookie exchange party at work.

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Another great thing about cookie exchange parties is you only have to bake one kind of cookie.  And, in exchange, you get to take home all kids of delicious treats without messing up your kitchen or having dozens of cookies leftover.

The gist of the party goes like this…each guest brings a platter of cookies to share with each person at the party plus some extras  to sample at the party.

At the end of the party each person gathers up some of each cookie and leaves with a wide variety of treats that can be enjoyed immediately. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to swap all of the yummy recipes! That’s the best part for recipe hoarders like me!

I’ve been hosting Christmas cookie exchanges and soup swap parties (same premise, but with soup) for many years and I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work when hosting this type of party.

How to Host a Cookie Exchange Party

How to hold a stress free cookie swap party

1. Create Your Guest List

About four weeks before you’d like to host your party, make a guest list of people you’d like to invite.  Plan to have everyone make enough cookies for each guest to take home 6 cookies.

Remember, your guests will need to bring a few extra cookies to sample at the party. I like to figure at least one cookie per person.

2. Send out Invitations

I like to send invitations for my cookie exchange parties. It’s a great way to share the “rules” of the swap to all of your guests. When I first started hosting my these parties, I designed and printed my own cookie-themed invites. But now, I just create a Facebook event. This way everyone can share what kind of cookies they are planning on making so you don’t end up with three types of chocolate chip cookies.

3. Explain the rules

Here are the rules that I use for my cookie exchange parties. Feel free to adjust them to fit your needs.

    • Each person brings six cookies (or whatever number you choose) for each guest attending the party, plus at least one cookie (per person) to sample.
    • You can have everyone bring their cookies on a big platter and guests can fill their own containers (which they also bring) at the end or, you can have everyone package the portions individually.  It’s up to you.
    • When guests RSVP, they should tell you what kind of cookies they plan on making. This will ensure that you don’t end up with three kinds of chocolate chip cookies (I speak from experience). You can also take into consideration your guest’s dietary restrictions, like vegan or gluten free.
    • Guests should provide a copy of their recipe for each person. For my future exchanges, I’m going to ask my guests to send their recipe ahead of time so I can make up a little recipe book for everyone.

4. Provide samples of each cookie at the party

I always like to have a platter of everyone’s cookies at the party. This allows everyone to sample each cookie and allows the guest to share any back stories or anecdotes about the cookie (i.e. these are my great grandma’s Welsh cookies). It also takes the pressure off of the host when preparing food.

Conversely, I have heard of parties where the guests do not sample the cookies, instead they just exchange them. It’s up to you.

6. Keep other foods to a minimum

I like to have a few simple appetizers or dips (here’s a great collection of party food) on hand and maybe a simple dessert.  I try to not prepare too much, especially if there is going to be cookie sampling going one.

I do, however, like to have a good selection of beverages.  Hot cocoa, mulled cider and wine are all great options.

7. Designate a spot for all of the cookies

I like to place all of the cookie platters around my dining room table.   Everyone can then walk around the table and fill their containers with goodies.

To keep things festive, I place a beautiful floral centerpiece, like this Sparkling Star Centerpiece from Teleflora, in the center of the table.

How to hold a stress free cookie swap party

Photo Credit: Scott Clark Photo

Teleflora’s mercury glass bowl arrives brimming with fresh red roses, white cushion spray chrysanthemums, festive greens, and accented with silver ornaments, white snow-tipped pinecones and red tapered candles.

How to hold a stress free cookie swap partyPhoto Credit: Scott Clark Photo

I just love the glass bowl that it comes in.  You can use it for some many things. This arrangement definitely makes a statement.   It also makes a great gift for a special someone.

Looking for delicious cookie recipes?  Check out my favorites here.

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