Tis the season! The season of cookies. And what a glorious season it is! Find out how to host a modern cookie swap for your friends and family.
We all have holiday favourites. The cookies our parents or grandparents made every year, sometimes with us by their side carefully measuring the sugar with deep concentrated frowns or stirring the dough with both hands holding the wooden spoon. Nothing stirs up nostalgia and family traditions like the holidays.
But the holidays are a great time to start your own traditions and what better way is there than celebrating the holiday cookie than hosting your own cookie swap? It sparks nostalgia, it brings friends and family together but, you can easily put your own twist on it and host a thoroughly modern cookie swap that reflects your own personality!
Let's get started!
1. Pick a Date
Pick a date. Not too early - but not too late! This might be your hardest task.
Think about who you want to invite and consider how many cookies they'll be going home with and how they're going to realistically store them. Can most of your guests freeze cookies? (Hint - if you're in a very urban area with friends who mainly live in small apartments, freezer space might be limited). Do they have lots of helpers at home who can eat a lot of cookies or are they mostly single or couples?
In Canada, we have a little extra leeway because our Thanksgiving is so early. You can even consider hosting your cookie swap in late November if your guests have the capacity to freeze cookies. You also don't want to hold it too close to Christmas when people's schedules go into overdrive.
If you want to make this a recurring annual event try to pick a time frame you can use in future years so people actually know to expect that you'll be hosting a cookie swap the first Saturday in December every year and pencil it in their calendar before there's even an invite!
2. Making the Guest List and Sending the Invites
You can have a lot of fun with invites but if there's one big tip we can give you right now it's to send them as early as you can. Holiday schedules fill up FAST. You also want to give your guests ample time to plan their cookie choice and do your baking.
If this is your first time hosting a cookie exchange start small. Keep the guest list under 10. These things tend to grow as the years go by so get the hang of it before it becomes a big crowd!
Consider Your Guests' Dietary Choices
If you're inviting friends who are vegan, gluten-free, or have an allergy to common cookie ingredients (nuts being a big one at Christmas) consider the logistics of that. Will all your guests be able to produce a gluten-free cookie or a nut-free cookie?
Snail mail that's not a bill or a flyer has become such a novelty that getting something cute and fun in the mail is sure to delight and surprise your guests. It can be as simple as a fun postcard but make sure you tell them to RSVP.
Evites are another easy way to invite your guests.
3. Pick a Theme
The theme doesn't have to be overwhelming, just a few simple holiday decorations can be included. Decorating your table with Christmas colors will be pretty but it is not necessary. You and your guests can also decide what cookies will be exchanged, they can be Christmas cookies, for example, Gingerbread cookies, Peppermint Cookies, Christmas Sugar Cookies or decide to just bake any type of cookies.
Our How to Throw a Budget Friendly Holiday Cocktail Party post shares tips for making your holiday cocktail party decor say 'tis the season' on a budget.
4. Decide about Packaging
Be prepared on the day of the cookie swap, offer boxes or treat bags, so your guests can have a nice package for their cookies when they are ready to go home.
5. Prepare Appetizers and Drinks
A cookie swap doesn't have to be stressful, it can be simple as just inviting a few friends and family members for brunch or an afternoon snack. Simple appetizers can be offered during cookie swap, for example, you can check our 20 Holiday Appetizers to Please a Crowd, French Dressing Deviled Eggs, or salad like Peach Barley Salad with Asparagus and Feta.
Decide if you will offer any alcoholic drinks or nonalcoholic drinks. You can definitely find recipes for drinks in our posts: 7 Non-Alcoholic Drinks for Holiday Entertaining or 20 Holiday Cocktails for Winter Entertaining.
6. Exchange Recipes
Prepare notebook, papers, pencils, and pens so each guest can write a recipe for themselves to bake at home, or offer guests to come prepared with recipes for cookies.