How to Host a Holiday Cookie Exchange

Posted in on the 11th December, 2012
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I can’t believe it’s 2-weeks before Christmas. I have barely scratched the surface of my Christmas shopping, eek!!

Ever think about hosting  a Holiday Cookie Exchange?  Well it’s probably too late for this year, but you can certainly do this next year! It’s a lot of fun and a great way to get your friends together and share holiday treats. My sisters and mom get together every year to do a cookie exchange and it’s something I look forward to all year.

For anyone looking to know some tips and tricks for setting up a Holiday Cookie Exchange, I’ll show you how!

Holiday Cookie Exchange Description:

You and your friends get together and pre-bake/make cookies to be swapped at the event. It’s fun to display all the cookies in one area – so take a picture of all your hard work. Next it’s time for the exchange. I think it is fun to take a picture of all the attendees holding their creation too. Everyone leaves with a big assortment of cookies/candy/bars to have for parties and give away to friends and family.

Holiday Cookie Exchange Invite List:

Invite your friends and co-workers. Note: If you have too many participants, you’ll end up with too much (or is there such a thing?) If you don’t have enough people to participate, you won’t have a good variety for your cookie trays.  It’s best to keep it to around 10 or so. If you invite fewer than 8, I suggest having each person bring 2 items to swap.

Holiday Cookie Exchange Invitations:

If you’d like, make up some cute invitations to inform your invite list about the Holiday Cookie Exchange (electronic invites are fast and easy – use Evite, Facebook or other electronic invite sites). It’s probably best to do your exchange no later than the second week in December. That way the cookies will still be fresh and useful during the giving/sharing season.  Try to send your invites out at least 3-4 weeks in advance since calendars can fill up quickly during this time of year.  Include an RSVP so you know the number of attendees and therefore how many cookies everyone needs to bring.

On the invite, include the date, time and other cookie exchange instructions or rules, such as:

  • Include an RSVP due date at least 1 week prior to the event date.
  • Let them know to bring ½ dozen to 1 dozen cookies for the number of participants (for larger groups; ½ dozen, for smaller, 1 dozen) – tell them you’ll notify them of the exactly how many to bring once everyone has responded to the RSVP.
  • Have them bring a copy of the recipe. If you collect the recipes ahead of time you can organize it for all the participants, if desired. Sometimes people are last minute deciders/bakers, so that may not work.
  • Have them divide out their cookies for each person – instead of bringing all of their cookies in one big bin. Use zip-top bags over paper plates to be economical and use other non-expensive containers (look at the dollar store for some good finds).
  • Have them let you know if there are any food allergies to observe.
  • Tell them NO store bought cookies (and the cookies do NOT need to be baked).
  • Tell them to bring bags to tote their goodies home in. Those reusable shopping totes are perfect for this!

Holiday Cookie Exchange Atmosphere

Light a fireplace or candles, play holiday music in the background, decorate for the holidays (if you haven’t already) and serve appetizers and light drinks. At our family cookie exchange every year we bring our 2 cookies/bars and we make a few simple things that day. We dip festive almond bark covered pretzels and a few no-bake bar recipes to share. We don’t turn on the oven, it’s just everyone pitching in for a few more things to share.


It’s also a good idea for the host to have a few essentials on hand for guests: standard paper grocery bags, zip-top gallon size bags, and plastic wrap and/or aluminum foil).


Holiday Cookie Exchange Recipe Inspiration (CLICK on links below):








My Family’s (2012) Annual Holiday Cookie Exchange:

My 3 sisters, my mom, and I get together every year in early December for our annual Holiday Cookie Exchange. It’s a precious time honored tradition we’ve been doing for at least 20 years. The kids sometimes decorate cut-out sugar cookies. It’s a lot of fun!

We each bring 1 ½ to 2 dozen of 2 things prepared ahead of time. We typically do a lot of traditional family favorite recipes, but change it up now and then. As I mentioned earlier, we also make a few things during our Cookie Day. We prepare simple, non-baked things like salted nut roll bars, nut goodie bars, and dip A LOT of almond bark pretzels with tiny holiday decorative balls. We laugh a lot, reminisce old stories, and just plain catch up. It’s not often we’re all together so it’s something we all enjoy a lot.

Here are some pictures from this year’s Annual Holiday Cookie Exchange:

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This is Mom & Cheryl working on the Nut Goodie Bars and Salted Nut Roll Bars.

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Cheryl is prepping the pans for the almond bark dipped pretzels.

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We dipped and we dipped…2 giant bags of pretzels. Whew! Good thing we all pitched in.

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Karla hard at work dipping pretzels…and then took a second to smile. We were having fun after all.

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This is Shelly and Karla dipping pretzels. They gave me a break to take pictures…so nice of them!

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This is Cheryl, Mom, and Karla dipping pretzels. (Man we dipped a lot of pretzels…but so worth it!)

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Here are 5 of my nieces and nephews.  Aren’t they adorable? I sure think so!

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This was Aubrea’s beautiful chocolate snowman cookie. It was priceless watching her decorate it! I just love that last picture of her eating it.

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Mariea was so cute with her sprinkles…she LOVES sprinkles. She couldn’t get enough on the cookie.

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Alison is the oldest here and she still had fun with her brother Andrew!

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Angela made VERY pretty cookies. She’s very artistic 🙂

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Andrew was the only boy present, but that didn’t stop him from being a boy. He tooted and showed us the food in his mouth to prove he’s ALL boy! So sweet…look at those brown eyes!

That was so much fun; I can’t wait until next year! Please share with me in the COMMENTS if you host a cookie exchange. I’d love to hear about it!

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Recipes In Good Taste | Delicious Comfort Food Recipe Blog | Pam Ruder

Recipes In Good Taste | Delicious Comfort Food Recipe Blog | Pam Ruder