Food Swap Tips: Hosting a Holiday Cookie Exchange

With the holiday season in full swing inviting your friends and relatives over for a cookie swap is a great way to cut down on the amount of time you spend on your holiday baking without cutting down on the variety of homemade tasty treats you have on hand. By baking just one type of cookie to exchange with friends instead of several different types for your own use you can save money by not having to buy a lot of different ingredients and you can save time by baking in large batches.

The secret to having a successful cookie swap is planning, and the first thing you want to do is decide how many people you want to invite. Too many and your home will be so crowded and chaotic swapping will be difficult to do, too few and you won’t get a good variety of cookies. Personally when I host a cookie swap I like to go with 8-10 people.

The next thing you’ll want to do is pick a date and time and send out the invitations. You’ll want to give your guests at least a three week notice to give them plenty of time to decide what type of cookies they want to make, purchase their supplies and bake the cookies. On the invitations At the end of the night not only does each guest leave with a bag full of cookies they also have a recipe for each cookie they took home.

Make Sure Everyone Understands The Rules
I usually have everyone bring at least a half dozen cookies for each participant and at least another dozen for sampling prior to the swap. Make sure you let your guests know that cookies brought to the swap need to be homemade. Believe it or not I’ve hosted swaps where someone has brought cookies that came from a package. Definitely defeats the purpose of the swap which is to get a variety of delicious homemade treats not something you could go out and purchase at your local supermarket.

A successful cookie swap is an organized one. To make the swap run easier ask your guests to bring their cookies packaged in 1/2 dozen sets using their choice of container. To get your guest to get creative in their packaging let them know that you’ll be awarding a prize to the most creatively packaged cookies. By having prepackage cookies instead of platefuls of cookies you’ll not only speed up the amount of time it takes for each guest to get

When I host a cookie exchange I prefer to provide festive gift bags for each guest to put their cookies in instead of having them provide their own containers. Gift bags are easy to carry as your guests move around the table and will accommodate different types of packaging.

The last thing you’ll need to do is make sure that you have an area where all the cookies can be placed. A large dining room table or a couple of card tables covered with a festive tablecloth will do nicely. You’ll also want to make sure you have a table set aside for the sample cookies and light refreshments to be placed.

Set the Mood
Just as with any party one of the keys to a great time is the environment. Give your home a festive feel by decorating in a holiday theme and having holiday or soft music playing in the background. Scented candles or cinnamon scented potpourri can also help to create a holiday ambience.

Let The Fun Begin

As your guests arrive have them place their prepackaged cookies on the swap table and arrange their sample cookies on the refreshment table.

After everyone has arrived and had a chance to get a drink and something to eat I like to have each guest tell the group which cookie they made, why they chose that particular cookie and what makes it unique.

After everyone has shared about their cookie and your guests have had an opportunity to sample some of the cookies that were brought, you can start the exchange by giving each guest a gift bag and having them take a package of each type of cookie from the exchange table.

To conclude the party I like to give each guest a baking themed favor and a baked cinnamon ornament with the year on it to hang on their Christmas tree as a remembrance.

Personal Experience

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