Hosting a cookie swap, some may call it a cookie exchange, is one of the easiest and most fun parties that I participate in each year. My friends and I have been hosting these annual sweet treat events for ten years now. There are six to eight of us that participate and we always have a good time. Here, I am going to share not only our tips for a fun and easy cookie swap but also some tips and tricks from the people who have written books about hosting these tasty treat laden events. Happy cookie swapping!
Two or three weeks in advance, send out your invitations. Include the date, time to begin, time to end, RSVP date, request to be informed of any food allergies, and ask the recipient to let you know what kind of cookie or treat that they plan on bringing. This will help to ensure there are no two cookies that are the same. Last note on invitations: try to leave enough time between the RSVP date and the date of the swap so that participants have enough time to shop and bake their goodies.
Once you have an idea of how many people will be joining your swap, let them know how many cookies to bring. Good Housekeeping in the book The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook suggests bringing “a dozen to nibble on and a dozen to share later. Keep things easy and fun—the most important reason for holding a cookie swap is to spend time with family and friends.” My group typically brings one dozen to nibble on and about two dozen to share later on.
Request that each guest bring a copy of the tasty treat recipes to pass around. This is also a good time to find out if there are any special family history or tradition attached to this cookie. Those can be fun to share at the party.
Decorate and prepare the area where you are going to be displaying the cookies and treats. You can make it as elaborate or as simple as you would like. The cookies are the star of this show, but enjoying the company of friends and family is what matters the most. A couple of things to keep in mind while you are setting up your cookie swap area:
- Use a tablecloth to cover the table. Crumbs are guaranteed at these events.
- Have small plates and napkins set out.
- Use a coffee cup or holiday-themed cup to keep extra utensils organized.
- Keep a small trash can, broom and dustpan under the table or nearby for quick pickups.
- Keep a supply of extra boxes or bags for friends to take cookies and treats home in close by, just in case someone forgets to bring their own.
It is cookie swap time! As your guests arrive, have them place their cookies in the display area, with copies of the recipes alongside. Now is when you get to relax, enjoy some delightful treats, share any fun stories, and make more memories with family and friends. This is the part that I cherish the most. My group will take lots of pictures. The person who is hosting the next cookie swap event will then be the recipient of those pictures and they put them together in a collage to share with the group at the next cookie swap event.
Check out this list for more fantastic cookie swap advice and recipes to share.