“How to Host a Holiday Cookie Exchange”

With the holidays upon us, there seems to be an ever-increasing list of things to do and little time to accomplish it all; there are decorations to put up, presents to buy, and items to bake, not to mention getting those presents wrapped and still finding a moment to enjoy a holiday movie with the kids.

  • Wouldn’t it be ideal to be able to cut back on the time spent in the kitchen and replace it with an evening spent with friends instead?

You can do just that by hosting a cookie exchange!

You’ll have a fun evening with your friends and end up with dozens of tasty treats that will last you all season long. If you don’t want or need a ton of cookies around the house, consider using the cookies you receive to create a platter for work or for the neighbors.

To host a holiday cookie exchange, just follow the easy steps outlined below.


Cookie exchanges can be handled in many ways. If you have a large group of people that you want to invite, you’ll probably want to have everyone bring a couple dozen cookies to share and their own container to take cookies home in.
Traditionally, a cookie exchange is a smaller party where everyone brings a dozen cookies that are pre-packaged for each guest. For example, if six people are coming to the party, then each guest would bring five dozen cookies wrapped in five different packages. That way everyone will go home with five dozen cookies, which will be enough for you to snack on some, freeze some for later, and share some with your office coworkers or neighbors.
Sometimes people are asked to bring a dozen cookies to share at the party with the rest packaged up for the other party goers.

Guest List

Determine a guest list for this event. You will want to consider if those that you invite are bakers or not. Determine which style of party you want to have.
Create invitations to mail to those invited. There are many cute cookie invitations, but an easy homemade one is made by layering a light brown piece of cardstock over a white piece of card stock. Cut out a rough circle that looks like a cookie. Keep the two papers together and poke a hole through what will be the top of the invitation, then insert a brad to hold the papers together. Take a marker and create chocolate chips randomly all over the light brown piece of paper. Print out “It’s a Cookie Exchange!” from your printer on white cardstock. Trim around the words and attach it to the top of the cookie using glue, double sided tape or a pop dot. Inside write all of the party information. Mail or hand deliver your “cookie” invitations.


It sounds funny having rules for a party, but often it makes the whole process easier. Ultimately, it’s your party and you can make up whatever rules you would like.
Here are some examples:

  • All cookies should be homemade.
  • No plain chocolate chip cookies, mixes, frozen, or meringues.
  • No duplicate cookies, e-mail cookie selection when you RSVP.
  • Christmas outfits are encouraged.
  • Each dozen cookies should be festively wrapped.
  • If you burn your cookies you may go to a bakery and buy your cookies instead.
  • Prizes will be awarded for best holiday sweater, best packaging and best tasting cookie.
  • Provide the recipe for your cookie ahead of time.


  • Month before: Mail out your invitations early, people’s schedules fill up quickly in December.
  • Week before: Verify what recipes everyone is bringing so that you have no duplicates. Compile all of the recipes in a festive stapled packet for everyone to take home from the party.
  • Two days before: Bake your cookies. Package them beautifully after they have cooled. Cut out slips for voting for best sweater, packaging and cookie.
  • Day before: Decorate the kitchen and dining room for the cookie exchange. Prepare some savory dips and cheese balls to serve at the party and refrigerate. Make sure you have extra bags or boxes for cookies for those that may have forgotten to package their cookies.
  • Day of party: Make some coffee, hot chocolate or mulled cider for guests. Arrange the savory food, plates, cups and napkins in a separate area. Provide a pretty table for the cookies that will be sampled. Be prepared to add cheese, fruit and other nibbles to this table if needed. Invite everyone to eat and vote on the best sweater, cookie and packaging.


Award the prizes for the best sweater (a new funny sweater), cookie (a bowl and a whisk) and packaging (a Christmas apron).
Put on some Christmas music and let everyone eat and chat for a while. Call everyone together after a while and have everyone hand out their packages of cookies. Ask everyone to talk about their cookie a little. eg, ” Is it a family recipe, new recipe, etc.?”

Give everyone the recipe booklet and the party is over until next year.
Thanks for your time!
Teresa Blecher

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