How to Host a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party
Host a Christmas cookie exchange and experience one of the most festive holiday events of the season! Have you ever been to a Christmas cookie exchange party? Maybe you would like to start a new tradition, or you and your gal pals have an exchange each year, but now it is finally your turn and you don’t know where to start. Don’t fear! There’s nothing to worry about. Here are six steps to hosting the perfect party on your first time out:
Plan Out Your Ideal Guest List
This all depends on who you feel like hanging out with. Do you want a small get-together with your closest girlfriends, or a huge block party with all your neighbors? Maybe choosing to host a Christmas cookie exchange is a work event with your female co-workers, or reunion with your extended family. Cookie swap parties are fun for everyone and fit nearly every situation. Just remember to invite more ladies than you can reasonably accommodate since not everyone will come and you want enough cookies to gor around.
Design and Send Out Your Invitations
Remember, the holidays book up quite quickly for most people, so you will want to get your invites out early. You should include the date, time, and your address, even if your invitees know were you live. As an added touch, ask your invitees ahead of time to bring their cookie recipes with them to the party for exchanging!
You can send invitations out in many ways these days and they are all considered proper. You can utilize email, Facebook, text, or even old-fashioned snail mail. The best thing about snail mail invitations is that you can get creative and design them yourself. If you have a party theme, you can build on that, or you can just run with the holiday décor.
With the invitations, be sure to include the guidelines for the cookie swap. Are all cookies to be homemade? Are no-bake cookies permitted? Yes or no to chocolate chip and sugar cookie (staples most bakers will already have)? How many should each guest bring?
To properly host a Christmas cookie exchange you need to communicate efficiently. Email and group text exchanges work well once the planning is in full swing. For example, as a hostess, you should be mindful of food allergies. If you have a way to speak to everyone at once, you can ask if anyone has any allergies, and everyone will receive that information instantaneously and prior to the party. That said, if a potential guest does have an allergy, you can plan ahead of time so she will have healthy options to munch on and bring home.
Get Out Your Calculator
You will have to plan ahead of time how many cookies you want each guest to bring. A good rule of thumb is to ask everyone to bring a dozen for snacking on at the party and a few dozen for swapping and bringing home. Depending on the amount of party-goers in attendance, everyone should leave with a few dozen completely different cookies to give as gifts or enjoy with their families.
If there are only four or five of you, adjust accordingly. You don’t want each of you to come to the party with dozens cookies, so scale back the original idea for smaller gatherings.
Be sure to discuss who is bringing what ahead of the party date with ample time for baking. This ensures there will be no duplicates. As a matter of fact, each guest should preferably bring only one variety of cookie. The idea of the party is to have a large variety of different cookies to sample and share. Even if two different cookies are pretty similar, it would probably be a good idea for one of the guests to switch it up. You want there to be several unique cookies on display so each guest can make a beautiful, tasty gift box. In a perfect set-up, everyone should leave with same amount of cookies that she came in with.
Set Up a Beautiful Display for your Christmas Cookie Exchange
So, it’s the big day and it’s time to host your Christmas cookie exchange. First order of business…set up your home. Have coffee, hot chocolate, and tea easily accessible. Depending on the type of party you want to give, you can have mulled cider or mulled wine as festive beverage options. To make decorating easier, you can try a theme, such as a winter wonderland, Christmas in Hawaii, or colors like silver and gold.
Set up at least three tables – one for sampling, one for swapping, and one specifically for packaging. You should provide plates for sampling on the designated table. You can even use pinking shears to provide decorative edges. On the display tables you can use cake stands to preserve room or simply incorporate a barrage of platters. Every selection should have a place card set out with the name of each cookie, along with the name of the guest who brought it. As an added touch, you can leave copies of every recipe by each corresponding cookie.
On the packaging table, you should have boxes, ribbon, or cookie tins readily available. White boxes probably work best because they match everything and can be easily decorated. Also, have wrapping materials such as twine, gift tags, cellophane, foil, and tissue paper accessible for anyone looking to gift their cookie collection to others. Don’t forget to leave out tools such as glue, scissors, and tape. Another option is to have the guests bring their own containers to transport their cookies home with them.
Plan Some Party Games
How comfortable do you feel with your party guests? You may want to break the ice by playing a couple of simple party games. There’s nothing like a little added fun to shrug off any possible awkwardness and getting to know one another better. Host a Christmas cookie exchange that doubles as a fun social and you’re in your way to a successful event.
Mad-libs and charades are quintessential favorites. Trivia is also catching on and can be played in teams or one-on-one. The possibilities are endless!
Why not try a little friendly competition? Place a ballot box on the wrapping table and ask each guest to vote on her choice for the best cookie of the evening. Then, when all the votes are tallied, the winner will get a small prize, like a gift card. Depending on how many guests you have, you can give out awards for various superlatives, such as “Most Creative,” or “Best Decorated.”
If that’s a little too competitive, why not try a quick craft? You can create Christmas treat ornaments, or hand-paint wine glasses! Just keep your audience’s taste and abilities in mind when planning any craft activity. Your co-worker who doesn’t drink will not care for a drink charm, and your great-aunt with arthritis can’t use pliers. Being a gracious host for a Christmas cookie exchange means being considerate of your guests.
Host a Christmas Cookie Exchange as an Annual Tradition
If you had a great time, why not turn the party into an annual event? Having yearly events to look forward to is one of the great joys of the holiday season.
The best thing about this is that everyone will know the get-together is coming up and will plan ahead. Shopping for ingredients and baking does take a lot of time out of the busy schedules we all have today. Plus, knowing about the party ahead of time can help your guests to budget for it up front during a busy, costly month like December.
In conclusion, it’s not hard to plan and host a Christmas cookie exchange party. It just takes a lot of work and consistent communication to get everything to come together perfectly and on time. Remember, there are no set rules on how to put on a cookie swap party, and theses are just suggestions and guidelines to get you started. Have fun with your party! Make it your own and suit it to the interests of you and your guests. If you get nervous, just remember it doesn’t have to go off without a hitch. After all, no one is perfect and your guests aren’t expecting you to be. The point is to have fun!