In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve attended a few cookie exchanges, but have never hosted one myself – until this year. In a couple of weeks, I will be hosting a Christmas cookie exchange with some of my closest friends. I am truly excited! Last year was hard for my family and this year I just want to celebrate our good fortune! So if you have been thinking of having friends over for a cookie exchange, it is not too late. You can organize and host anything from a formal evening party to an afternoon gathering. The important parts are the cookies and the company. Here are the steps you should take.
Develop a plan. How many cookies should guests bring? What foods will be served? What drinks? Should guests be required to bring the recipe of their cookies?
Create a guest list. Will you have a bash with everyone you know or an intimate gathering with just a handful?
Send invitations. I used evite.com to send my invitations. I love how it tracks guests and allows everyone to know who’s been invited and who will be able to attend. However, paper invitations always carry more weight.
Purchase supplies: baking ingredients, any disposable plates/napkins/cups/silverware, supplies for sending cookies home with guests (containers, wrap, etc).
Consider the table. Will it be covered? It will be the backdrop for all of those festive cookies.
Pull out your holiday decorations, if you haven’t already, and do it up! Make your home as festive as possible.
Play to the senses: the smell of cookies, Christmas music playing in the background, a fire in the fireplace or woodstove.
Don’t forget introductions. There will likely be guests who’ve not yet had the chance to meet (this is one of my favorite parts – bringing together my favorite people into 1 room).
Make it personal. As part of the intros, have each guest talk about the cookie – whether it is a new recipe or one passed down from a great-grandmother. Discover new things about each other.
Have guests circle table and collect 3 to 10 of each type of cookie (depending on the number of people attending). Now everyone can go home with lots of different types of cookies for their family
Take lots of photos of the table laden with cookies and of happy friends enjoying each other’s company for the holidays.
Members to ListPlanIt may also want to take advantage of all of the party planning pages, recipe pages, and the cookie/candy planner in Holidays & Occasions.
Have you ever hosted a Cookie Exchange? What tips would you offer a first-time host (hint: me!)?