If you’re anything like the team at Marlo’s Bakeshop, you’ve been perusing page after page of holiday cookie recipes for the past month. But with so many cookie varieties and so little time, how do you decide which ones to bake?
Fortunately, there’s a way to have your cake (or cookie) and eat it too: by hosting a holiday cookie swap party.
A holiday cookie swap involves inviting a group of friends to each bake a batch of cookies and bring them to your party so that everyone can sample—and take home—a large variety of festive desserts. It’s a great way to try everyone’s favorite holiday cookie and collect recipes that you might not have discovered otherwise.
So, what do you need to do to get all these holiday cookies into your life? Follow our ideas for hosting a delicious Christmas cookie swap.
Plan Your Party
Your first step should be to decide on a guest list. Keep in mind that everyone has to make enough holiday cookies to swap with the whole group, so this may not be the best occasion to invite 30 co-workers over. Shoot for eight to ten guests; you’ll get a good variety of cookies without having to bake for a small army.
After inviting guests and collecting RSVPs, you may want to set up a collaborative spreadsheet where guests can share what they’re bringing. That way, you won’t accidentally end up with five batches of snickerdoodles.
You should also establish some basic guidelines. Let guests know how many cookies you want them to bring (plan to let guests take home at least a half dozen of each type) and whether you want them to follow any theme. You should also find out if any guests have dietary restrictions (such as a severe nut allergy) that their fellow bakers should know about before choosing a cookie recipe.
Set Up for the Holiday Cookie Exchange
The day of the cookie swap party, give yourself an hour or two to set up for your guests. Add some holiday décor to the party area if you haven’t already. Set up a table that’s big enough to hold everyone’s cookies and also easy to walk around on all sides. Fold over strips of thick paper to make standing labels for each cookie variety. If your guests aren’t bringing their own serving trays, you may also want to set out trays for them to display their cookies on.
Plan to offer some light savory snacks, such as veggies and dip or cheese and crackers, for guests to munch on before the official holiday cookie exchange part of the party kicks off. It’s also a nice touch to make some hot drinks that pair well with cookies. If you’re hoping to go beyond coffee and tea, we’ve got a collection of warm drink ideas here.
Send Guests Home Happy, Full, and Armed with Cookies
Provide guests with something they can use to transport their cookies, such as disposable aluminum trays or inexpensive Tupperware. If you’re looking for an idea that’ll make your holiday cookie swap extra fancy, you could even set up a packaging station with boxes, labels, ribbon, and tissue paper so that guests can assemble a festive cookie container. On the other hand, if assembling containers seems like too much for you to think about with all the other party logistics, you could simply ask guests to bring their own containers. Just make sure you have a few extras on hand for anyone who forgets!
As your guests leave, ask them to email you their cookie recipe. Then you can assemble a master list of the recipes and email it to the whole group. Your guests are bound to appreciate getting the recipes for their favorite holiday cookies from the exchange.Looking for a new cookie recipe for your exchange? Try our cookie truffles—these decadent, bite-sized treats are perfect for a holiday cookie swap party. And don’t forget to shop our baked goods. Our versatile Soft-Baked Biscotti can easily be crumbled and incorporated into cookie recipes.