Have you ever participated in a Cookie Exchange party? It is a great way to gather an assortment of holiday goodies for Christmas without having to go to the trouble of making them all yourself. I have been to several, and hosted a few, over the years, and they are very easy to organize. It doesn't NEED to be complicated! It doesn't NEED to be fancy! My good friend keeps reminding me, K.I.S.S. haha... Keep it Simple Stupid! Here is my version of a K.I.S.S. Cookie Swap. I have some tips to help your next cookie swap run smoothly and be a success.
How it Works
At a cookie exchange, each guest brings a tray of their favorite homemade holiday cookies to share. Once all guests have added their cookies to the table, the cookies are shared. My #1 rule is: Bringing as many cookies to share as you'd like to take home. This works out great for a lot of reasons and is the only way to go as far as I'm concerned!
So, here is how I plan the Perfect Cookie Exchange!
1) Set a Date
If you are planning an exchange for the Christmas holidays, I suggest hosting in late November through the beginning of December. Holiday gatherings happen throughout the month of December and it is nice to have goodies on hand... so sooner is better! Plus, most cookies will freeze nicely and can be stored in the freezer until you are ready to use them.
Also consider that the exchange itself does not require much time. An hour for the party is plenty, as long as everyone shows up on time with their cookies.
2) Send the Invitations
Think outside the box. The great thing about a cookie exchange is that the guests aren't required to attend... they just need to send their cookies! So invite everyone and allow your friends to invite their friends too. Those unable to attend can arrange to get their cookies to you in advance, and then pick up their assortment of goodies afterwards.
The holidays get busy for families, so send your invites out 2-3 weeks before the event so your friends can get it on their calendars! I don't like sending them too early because then you'll likely be sending out reminders... but that's just me!
You can use my simple swap invite... snag the picture below!
3) Setting Up the Big Day
You don't need much to make this work! You will need tabletops to display all of the cookies with room for people to walk around, but that is about it. You can ask people to bring recipes for the cookies they have brought... better yet, have them e-mail to you and you can collect and distribute the cookie exchange recipe list to your friends without the time/paper! I like to leave a stack of tent cards with a marker for everyone to write the name of the cookies they are sharing. You may need some plates or display trays to transfer cookies onto (since some guests may bring them in bags as I found last year). I also try to have some extra plates and saran wrap on hand just in case!
When all of the cookies (and guests) have arrived, everyone begins collecting there cookies to take home. As I mentioned above, I ask guests to bring as many cookies as they would like to take home... so if you bring 2 dozen, you collect an assortment of 2 dozen to take home. I also recommend that your guests bring an empty container to place their "take home" cookies in. At the end of the party, their shared cookie platter will be empty and they can take that home as well.
What a beautiful assortment of goodies!
And let me warn you.. it never fails. You will have extra cookies on hand at the end. You have been warned! :)
Here are some pictures from this year's party
And more cookies on our "Contain Nuts" table...
Here are the cookies I made for the cookie exchange I hosted last year...
Chocolate Marshmallow Surprise Cookies
Recipe found at Martha Stewart
Recipe found on AllRecipes
Recipe found at Sprinkle Bakes
Happy Cookie Swapping!