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I’m certainly not a cookie exchange expert, but my mom and I have been hosting a cookie exchange for 7 or 8 years and last year I hosted my own here in Johnson City, so I thought I’d offer up a few tips and ideas that I’ve found to be helpful over the years. I’ll just jump right in…

1. Plan ahead. This one kind of goes without saying and applies to all hosting in general, but if you are the host I’d definitely recommend baking your cookies the day before so that you have the entire day of the party to finish up all that last minute stuff. And believe me, the last minute stuff really adds up! Carefully plan out your menu. I like for the majority of the menu to be things I can make ahead and either serve cold or pop in the oven and only one or two dishes that have to be made right before the party. Also, I like to decide which serving dishes are for what and arrange them on the serving table the night before. This really saves a lot of time.

2. Carefully consider the venue. Think about how many people you want to invite and how many people you expect to come. If you invite 50 people, you may not want to have it at your house. Mom and I did this one year and our house was so full of people and cookies you could barely breath! I’m only half-kidding haha. Big cookie exchanges are great but consider renting a venue or maybe your church fellowship hall unless you have an enormous house. But, if you only invite 7-8 people then your house should be fine. Don’t underestimate how many people will show up for free cookies :).

3. Send out the invites early. Christmas is an especially busy time and people’s schedules fill up quickly. The earlier you can set the date and get the invitations out the better. You can also consider having the party on a Monday night, so that everyone can bake their cookies on Sunday afternoon and there is less chance for scheduling conflicts. However, unless you have the day off work, this is a little harder on the host.

4. Make a recipe booklet for everyone.  Everyone will want to know who made which cookies and will want recipes. I like to have guests RSVP their recipe to me via email and type up a simple recipe booklet and have copies ready for everyone when they arrive. Alternatively, you could have guests bring copies of their recipes, but I like to know ahead of time what kind of cookies everyone is bringing. Maybe I’m a bit of a control freak. Either way ;).

5. Consider how many people will be exchanging when deciding how many cookies to have each guest bring.  You don’t want each person to bring an insane amount of cookies but you want everyone to at least be able to sample each kind of cookie. I like for each guest to get at least 3-4 of each kind of cookie.

6. Tell each guest to bring an empty container. You will put this on the invitation and then some people will assume that they can take their cookies home in the container they brought. The problem with this is where are you going to put their cookies before their container is empty. The last few years we’ve started dividing all the cookies in small sandwich bags and then just giving each person a bag. I like this idea because then all the cookies don’t start tasting the same.

7. Have a large table for the cookies. It will take a lot of room to divide the cookies….more than you think. Have a large table or counter designated for cookies and start dividing the cookies as guests arrive. If you divide the cookies as guests arrive, then by the time you start eating the cookies are divided and ready for sampling. We always let the guests sample out of our (the host) cookies.

Cookies exchanges are one of my favorite holiday events, and really are easy to host  – especially if you follow these simple tips. =) If you’ve never participated in a cookie exchange before, this is the year! If you enjoy baking and gathering with friends and family, then you’ll love cookie exchanges. Start planning today! 

Check back early next week for a few cookie exchange recipe ideas. =)

Categories: Tips

One Response so far.

  1. Could you send me all of your recipes, I love everything you do!
    Thank you for doing such an out standing job.
    Bonnie Jankowitz
    555 5 Ave NE suite 322
    St Pete Fl 33701

    Hopefully by email! Lol

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