The Cookie Exchange: A Great Holiday Tradition
Hosting a cookie exchange can be daunting as you think about what’s needed to prepare. Holidays can be fast-paced and stressful. It’s easy to wonder – can you slow down enough to stay in touch with those you care for most? Even a cookie exchange can generate stress with its various components. Far outweighing the difficulty, though, are all the good feelings such an event brings to your home.
In this regard, the holiday cookie exchange has a “triple action.” It connects us with family and friends in a festive atmosphere, it saves a little time in creating a variety platter of cookies for our holiday enjoyment, and it allows us to seek out new varieties of cookies. And we get to eat them. Well… maybe that’s four things, but this won’t be the first time where counting is optional.
Here are a few ideas from Clabber Girl if your cookie exchange needs planning or if you’re hosting for the first time.
- Know Your Cookie “Audience”
Consider your “audience.” What do they like? Consider tailoring the mood – music, theme, decor – in a way that feels comfortable for your guests. This may be as simple as setting the audio on a Christmas-themed station and lighting a few candles. Or it may involve setting aside a kids arts-and-crafts (cookie decorating?) area if families or mothers with kids will be in attendance. Note from Mom: Since it is the cold and flu season, consider hand-sanitizer, tongs and other accommodations to ensure everyone gets home healthy.
- Know the Cookies
Prior to your event, if your guests are able, ask them to provide you with the name of the cookie they’ll bring. This ensures that you will have a variety of cookies without duplicates and will offer you a chance to set out platters with tags in anticipation of their arrival. Note from Mom: You can also use this correspondence to provide a list of things participants need to bring (containers, etc.) and set down any ground rules.
- Set the Rules of the Cookie Exchange
Speaking of ground rules – you may have some unique to your group. You might ask for everyone to bring recipe cards for sharing. If it’s a reading club or group of girlfriends, perhaps those interests get folded into the cookie exchange. It could be as simple as making each other laugh with a white elephant gift or ugly Christmas sweater contest. Note from Mom: Or it could be a little more genteel, like asking everyone to bring a gift tin or a bottle of wine for trading. The pre-exchange communication is crucial to the end result of having a good event and an amazing and varied landscape of cookies spread across your tables.
- Think Outside the Chocolate Chip Cookie
And finally, don’t be afraid to try something new. Perhaps add some savory to your sweet. There will be plenty of sugar at your party. Adding a few savory cookies or appetizers would be a great way to offset some of the sweetness. Need some new, fun cookie or app ideas? Check out our Pinterest board! Brownie drop cookies, chocolate peppermint cookies, gingersnaps, spiced pecan oatmeal cookies, or almond biscotti would all make delicious choices for a cookie exchange! Note from Mom: Finally, don’t forget the drinks– milk would be an obvious choice, but you could also provide things such as coffee, cider, tea or hot chocolate.
- Have a Cookie. Have Fun!
Don’t forget that it’s OK to enjoy a cookie. Giving is so much fun, it can be easy to forget the enjoyment that can come from savoring the results of our own creativity and delicious ingredients. Note from Mom: Enjoy yourself and each other. Here’s to a wonderful holiday season and a successful cookie exchange!