Top 10 Ways to Have a Great Cookie Exchange

Have you ever wanted to host a Holiday Cookie Exchange, but didn’t know where to start?  I just had one over the weekend which was attended by 20 women and it seemed to go pretty well. 

Here are my Top 10 Tips for making your Holiday Cookie Exchange a success.

  1. Timing is everything.  Get your invites out early so that people have time to find a recipe.  I used Evite.  And have the event on a Sunday afternoon so that there is plenty of weekend time to bake the cookies. 
  2. Don’t include kids.  Make this a special ladies-only event.
  3. Have enough cookies, but don’t bake hundreds.  I’ve heard of bringing one dozen per RSVP.  Yikes.  For a larger crowd that could be a LOT of cookies to make.  I always suggest 4-6 dozen and everyone seems more than happy with what they take home.
  4. Clarify expectations.  If you accept bakery goods, specify which ones.  Some women want to participate, but you don’t want them baking for you.  We have some wonderful bakeries locally and no one has ever frowned upon the woman who shows up with their cookies instead.  Keebler?  No thanks.  Busken or the even smaller neighborhood bakery?  Absolutely.
  5. Make people identify/name their cookie.  Once they are on the table, have the baker label them.  It can be as simple as an index card folded in half and set up like a tent.  Makes the voting easier.
  6. Voting?  Yes, have prizes!  I have three categories in my Cookie Exchange: Best Overall, Best Presentation and Best Holiday/Traditional.  And we really vote.  Everyone strolls around and chooses one for each category (some tasting is involved) and drops their vote into one of the 3 category buckets.  And the winners get real prizes.  No gag gifts.  At least I consider them real!  I usually try to stick with a cookie themed prize.  This year I gave ornaments that were baking themed along with a few other goodies.
  7. Be aware of allergies.  So many families deal with allergies now.  We always have a nut-free table at our exchange. 
  8. Encourage recipe sharing, but don’t take responsibility.  I ask all attendees to bring a copy or email it out.  I no longer handle redistributing the recipes.  Got to be too much for me.
  9. Have plenty of food and drink.  I usually opt for some pots of chili and soup on the stove to make it easy with some finger sandwiches.  And lots of beverages…including milk.
  10. Containers are important.  Having the right ones are critical.  Remind everyone to bring extra containers to put cookies into.  Also suggest bringing 2-3 containers (Ziploc baggies work fine as well) in order to separate things like mint cookies or lemon cookies or any other flavor that could affect the taste of others.  They will cross-contaminate…trust me.
  11. And one extra tip…party favors!  I made some themed Christmas ornaments this year.  I ordered mini whisks from Factory Direct Craft and attached some jingle bells, a ribbon and a small note saying “Whisking You a Merry Christmas!” with the Cookie Exchange date.  

Do you host or attend a Cookie Exchange?

Any other good tips??

Top Ten {Tuesday}



5 Responses to Top 10 Ways to Have a Great Cookie Exchange

  1. A hosted a cookie exchange a couple of years when I was first married — lots of fun! I should try it again. And, of course, I’d love to be invited to one. Great tips!

  2. Hi Tricia,
    Thanks for stopping on over to my blog and for your sweet comments. I was just reading your post about the cookie exchange. Love your favor idea! I will definitely be having another one next year again. it was so much fun!

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