Cue the Christmas music, dim the lights and bring on the baked goods—it’s time for a holiday cookie exchange party! More than a swapping of cookies, for some dedicated bakers, cookie exchange parties are the social event of the season. If you are hosting a cookie exchange for the very first time, there’s no need to fret: these six simple steps will help you turn an ordinary cookie swap into a memorable evening of mouthwatering Christmas cookies and valuable fellowship with friends.
- Invite Your Guests – Since the holiday season is an extremely busy time of year for most people, double the amount of guests you can actually accommodate (only about half will likely be able to attend). To cut down on cost, send your holiday cookie exchange invitations online through a free service like Evite, Pingg or even Facebook. Ask each guest to bring one dozen of their favorite cookies for the tasting portion of the party, and 7–10 dozen for the swap. (To meet the needs of everyone, request nut-free cookies.) Additionally, make a list of the holiday cookies recipes each guest plans on bringing to prevent duplicates.
- Deck the House – If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to dress up your home for the holidays. Rather than stress and spend too much money, make them yourself by searching online for easy, do-it-yourself Christmas decorations. You’ll find great decorating ideas that will spruce up the house just in time for your holiday cookie exchange party.
- Supply the Beverages – When hosting a holiday cookie exchange party, the Christmas cookies are the focus—all you essentially need to provide are the Christmas drinks (and light hors d'oeuvres if desired). Make sure you have plenty of milk on hand and other favorites include hot apple cider, hot cocoa, coffee, tea and punch. It is up to the host whether or not alcohol will be served at the cookie exchange party.
- Decorate and Setup the Cookie Table – From a festive tablecloth, to adequate tableware and napkins, to easy accessibility for guests, the cookie table serves as the centerpiece of the party; therefore, make sure it is prepared before the holiday cookie exchange commences. Want to include a few finishing touches? Provide labels that identify each kind of cookie and the person who made it, as well as copies of each holiday cookie recipe. You can also put together a 'packaging post' where guests can wrap up their goodies (small boxes and/or containers can be found at a craft store).
- Offer Fun Door Prizes – Of course, it wouldn't be a cookie swap without fabulous door prizes! Purchase a few inexpensive items to serve as giveaway gifts, including a cookie jar, apron, cookie cutter or oven mitt.
- Enjoy - A holiday cookie exchange party is meant to be fun for everyone, including the host. Preparing for the party beforehand allows you to socialize with friends, nibble on tasty treats and get in the Christmas spirit without feeling exhausted.
Easy & Delicious Holiday Cookie Recipe
When planning a holiday cookie exchange party, it's easy to get preoccupied with everything else but your own holiday cookie recipe. Here is an easy twist on the traditional cookie that will have guests thinking, "Now why didn't I bring that?"
NUTTER BUTTER Cookie Balls
Servings: 48 (cookie balls)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
24 NUTTER BUTTER Cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups)
2 pkg. (6 squares each) BAKER'S White Chocolate, melted
1/4 cup PLANTERS Creamy Peanut Butter
24 Mini NUTTER BUTTER Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies, cut crosswise in half
Mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until well blended.
Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls; place in single layer in shallow pan. Freeze 10 minutes. Mix chocolate and peanut butter until well blended. Dip balls in chocolate mixture; place in single layer in shallow waxed paper-lined pan. Top each ball with 1 mini cookie half.
Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Keep refrigerated.
About the Author:
Ali Broderick resolved to break into the food freelance market and set out to write, write and write some more! When not in the kitchen, where she cooks and writes, she deeply enjoys her family time with her 3 daughters and darling husband. If you're looking for a freelance food writer, please contact her directly at AliBroderick@gmx.com.
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!