Princeton Capital Blog

Hosting a Successful Cookie Exchange

December 10th, 2014

Holiday CookiesHosting a Successful Cookie Exchange

You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to host a successful and fun cookie exchange. In this post, we’ll talk about what to do when planning, and what to do during the party to keep it relaxing and enjoyable for everyone (especially you!).

There are typically three types of cookie exchange parties:

  1. Bake and Bring – this is the most traditional where you bring a dozen cookies for each of the attendees, and you take home a dozen from each.
  2. Make and Take – People are given an ingredient to bring, and you make the cookies at the party, making enough for everyone to bring home.
  3. Cookie Decorating – invite friends to come over with decorating icing and sugars, etc.  Then everyone can decorate the cookies you’ve made.  Sugar and gingerbread are the most common.

For the most part, we will be focusing on Bake and Bring as this is the most common.

How to Plan

First off, when you send out the invite (or e-vite), make sure you post directions to your home so you don’t have to answer this multiple times.  Secondly, have a firm date for RSVPs.  You don’t need to be harsh, but you do need to let people know that if you don’t hear from them by a certain date, then it’s not fair to everyone else, and it’s important to know how many cookies to create.

When people RSVP, get the recipe of the cookie.  Then you can create a mini-book for everyone as well as weeding out duplicates.  Plus, if someone has a nut allergy, you can make accommodations early on.  Also, ask them to wrap their cookies in separate packages such as bags, tins, containers or plates.  This makes the exchange easier.

If you’re not the one hosting the event, or if you’re having a neighborhood progressive party where you go from home to home, find out who has pets, and if anyone is allergic to pets.

Once you have the RSVP’s, let people know how many dozen to make.  If 7 people RSVPd (including yourself), then everyone should make 6 dozen.  They could make themselves a dozen, but they don’t need to bring it along.  This is also a useful way of reminding people when the party is.

Decorate the house, put on the tunes, and clear off a large table.

For the exchange

Have a set time for the actual cookie exchange in case some people need to arrive later.  If someone can’t attend on that date, make arrangements to have their exchange cookies picked up, and then after the exchange, have their cookies dropped off.

Make sure you have purchased additional containers.  People often forget to bring extras.  Sometimes, people will bring a large container to put all of their cookies in.

Don’t forget to take pictures of the people and the cookies.  One idea is instead of putting together a mini-recipe book, take pictures of the cookies, and put together a digital recipe book, and burn cd’s to pass out to people afterwards.  (Or if you have a kid good with computers, maybe you can bribe them to burn the cd’s for you while you’re eating and chatting.)

Try to avoid cooking during the exchange.  This is your time to relax too.  Overnight casseroles work well with cookie exchanges.  Provide at least two types of beverages to choose from.

  • water
  • hot cocoa
  • hot cider
  • milk
  • eggnog
  • coffee

When the party is over, offer plastic bags or paper plates and foil to help people gather up their cookies.

For more tips or recipe ideas, there is a website just for cookie exchanges.

And if you do want to host like Martha, here’s her 8 steps to hosting a cookie swap. And another.

What’s your favorite cookie to make for an exchange?

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