It’s that time of year again! Christmas is here and with it comes festive parties, fabulous cooking (we hope!), and goodies galore. One of our favorite parts of Christmas has to be the cookies. Special family recipes, new concoctions, and once-a-year treats make the season merry and bright.
Why a Cookie Exchange?
Let’s face it, baking is a labor of love, but sometimes it ends up requiring much more labor than we feel like giving. The idea of spending hours in the kitchen covered in flour and sugar when everyone else is celebrating can make you want to throw in the towel before you begin. But what if we told you there’s a way to enjoy the tradition of homemade cookies without the stress of making seventeen different kinds? Enter the holiday cookie exchange – a brilliant concept that combines the joy of baking with the thrill of receiving a variety of delectable treats in return.
How Do Cookie Exchanges Work?
Cookie exchanges typically operate by each partygoer baking a bigger batch of one type of cookie and trading those cookies (don’t forget to keep a few for yourself!) with each other. You leave the party with several types of cookies after only having to put in the effort to bake one!
How Many Cookies Do You Bring?
The amount of cookies you bring to a cookie exchange varies from party to party, so we suggest checking with the organizers on this one, but typically you bring about 6-8 cookies per person attending (plus another portion for eating at the party!). Most of the time, you package these cookies ahead of time so the exchange part of the party is quick and simple. However, some parties have everyone bring their cookies in big batches, allowing guests to go through and take what they specifically want.
Tips for Hosting a Cookie Extravaganza
If you’ve decided to host a cookie exchange, let’s make sure it’s a memorable and stress-free event for everyone involved (including you)!
1. Have a Plan
Even if you’re not a planner, we promise having a plan will make things so much easier for you (and simple, loose plans are okay). Make sure to plan the date of your cookie exchange early to make sure your attendees’ holiday seasons don’t get too full to attend your party in the first place.
In addition, think through how the exchange is going to work. How many cookies per person should each guest plan on bringing? How are you going to exchange your cookies? Should each person come with their cookies already separated? Or will you separate them during the party?
2. Provide Packaging Materials
If you are going to have guests package cookies during the party, make sure you have packing materials at the ready! This could be small tins, tubs, mason jars, or cellophane bags with festive ribbons.
Even if you are having your guests bring their cookies already packaged, make sure to have a few extra packing materials ready in case someone forgot or to pack away a few extras.
3. Include a few appetizers and treats
You can have everyone bring an appetizer to share, or you can put out a few appetizers for guests to snack on during the party. These appetizers can be simple as most people will be snacking on cookies anyway. A simple charcuterie board and some veggies and dip (like our Spicy Supreme Hummus or Roasted Garlic & Herb Guacamole) should do it.
If you are attending a cookie exchange, don’t forget to choose a cookie type that travels well! Not only will your baked concoctions need to survive the travel from your house to the party, but they also need to make it to other guests’ homes. We’d stay away from soft meringues, anything with wet or soft frostings, or any notoriously crumbly offenders.
The Best Cookies for a Cookie Exchange
The best cookie for a holiday exchange is one that not only tastes heavenly but also withstands the test of travel. Here are some classic and foolproof options, with a few twists thrown in for those of you feeling a little more adventurous:
1. Classic Sugar Cookies
A blank canvas for creativity, sugar cookies can be shaped into festive designs and decorated with icing and sprinkles. It’s also a classic almost everyone loves.
2. Chocolate Crinkles
These fudgy delights look like they’ve been dusted with a touch of snow, making them a perfect addition to any winter-themed exchange.
With their cinnamon-sugar coating and chewy center, Snickerdoodles are a crowd-pleaser and a timeless holiday favorite.
4. Peppermint Bark Cookies
Add a refreshing twist with crushed peppermint candies or peppermint extract for that cool burst of flavor.
Gingerbread is the cookie of Christmas. Whether rolled out and made into shapes or simply dropped on the cookie sheet, gingerbread cookies add the warmth we all need this time of year.
A twist on the classic chocolate chip, these pistachio white chocolate cookies are the elevated sophistication you’ve been looking for.
The Art of Cookie Packaging
Packaging your cookies can be one of the most fun and festive parts of a cookie exchange! Picking what you’re going to package your creations in is a chance to show your Christmas cheer. Here are some creative and practical ways to package your delightful creations:
1. Mason Jars
Layer cookies in a mason jar for a charming and rustic presentation. Tie a ribbon around the lid for an extra festive touch.
2. Cookie Boxes
Invest in decorative cookie boxes to showcase your treats. Opt for boxes with compartments to keep different cookie varieties separated.
3. Cellophane Bags with Tags
Simple yet effective, cellophane bags allow your cookies to shine through. Attach a personalized tag for a thoughtful touch.
4. Tins or Tubs
Sturdy tins or plastic tubs are perfect for protecting delicate cookies during transportation. Plus, they can be reused for future exchanges.
5. Festive Plates
Place your cookies on festive holiday plates for an elegant touch. Wrap them in clear cellophane and tie with a ribbon for an added layer of charm.
Hosting or attending a holiday cookie exchange is a delightful way to share the joy of the season. From planning and baking to packaging and swapping, the entire process is a celebration of friendship, creativity, and, of course, delicious cookies. So, whether you’re a seasoned baker or a cookie connoisseur, embrace the holiday spirit and join in the sweetness of a cookie exchange. Cheers to a season filled with warmth, laughter, and, of course, plenty of cookies!