Hosting a Festive Holiday Cookie Swap: A Step-by-Step Guide

Hosting a Festive Holiday Cookie Swap: A Step-by-Step Guide

The holiday season brings joy, and what better way to spread cheer than with a gathering of friends and a whole bunch of delicious cookies? Consider hosting a holiday cookie swap at your place, combining the warmth of friendship with the sweet delights of the season. Here's a step-by-step guide to organizing a memorable cookie exchange that will have everyone indulging in the spirit of giving.

3-4 Weeks Before

Send Invites Keep the guest list to around eight to ten friends who baking as much as you do! We recommend having it during the day on a weekend, after lunch and before dinner, so you don't have pressure to feed an entire meal. 

Determine Cookie Quantities Decide the number of cookies each guest will collect from each baker. Typically, 6 cookies per attendee works well but adjust based on the size of the party. For example, if you stay small with 4 people but they all have hungry kids, 10-12 might feel better!

Set Ground Rules Communicate the rules of the swap, such as a preference for homemade cookies or a holiday theme. Each person will be bringing a couple batches of their cookie recipe. Ensure everyone is aware of any dietary restrictions or food allergies among the guests. 

2 Weeks Before

Check RSVPs and Ensure Variety Confirm RSVPs and make sure there's a variety of cookie types. If needed, tactfully suggest adjustments to avoid duplicates. Once everyone has RSVP’d, you can send out the final cookie number which would be: headcount x per person cookie count. So, if you invite 10 friends but only 8 confirm, each person will need to bring 48 cookies - 6 x 8. (Which is approx. 2-3 batches of cookies for a typical recipe.)

Set a Menu Prepare a menu of snacks and beverages to complement the cookie swap. Opt for appetizers like a cheese board, crudite with dips or finger sandwiches to balance the sweetness.

Designate Your Largest Table Clear space for a buffet-style table where guests can display their cookies. Add a festive touch with a holiday-themed tablecloth and centerpiece.

1 Week Before

Grab Extra Supplies Have additional supplies like plastic wrap and storage bags on hand for guests who may forget to bring containers for their cookies. Get pens and notecards for guests to label their cookies.

Decide on Your Cookie and Shop for Ingredients Plan your cookie choice and grab the necessary baking ingredients, snacks and drinks. Consider personalizing your batch with fun decorations or exploring popular holiday recipes.

2 Days Before

Bake the Cookies If time allows, bake the cookies a couple of days in advance and freeze them because you don’t want to be doing this the day of. Some recipes even allow for preparing the dough ahead of time, freezing it for up to three months.

The Day Before

Set Up the Room Decorate the table with a festive tablecloth and arrange furniture to create an accessible cookie buffet area. Ensure non-cookie food is prepared and ready in the fridge. 

Thaw Frozen Cookies If you've frozen the cookies, bring them to room temperature overnight. Alternatively, use the refrigerated dough trick for a perfect balance of soft inside and crispy outside.

The Day of the Party

Set Out Food and Drinks Have batched cocktails or coffee ready upon guests' arrival. Make appetizers available early and guide guests on where to place their cookies.

Welcome Guests and Have Fun! Thank everyone for coming, make sure they get a drink and show each guest the table with the notecards for labeling their cookies. Once everyone has come, each person can go around the table with their container and pull about 6 cookies from each display! 

After the Party

Collect the Recipes Request guests to email their cookie recipes post-event. Compile a master list and share it with everyone, creating a lasting memory of the delightful cookies shared during the exchange.

Hosting a holiday cookie exchange is not just about the cookies; it's about creating cherished moments with friends that will be remembered long after the last crumb is gone.

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