|Posted on December 5, 2012 at 6:00 AM|
Why slave over a hot oven, making umpteen varieties of homemade, hand-decorated holiday cookies to share with your family members, friends, and coworkers when you don't have to? Host a cookie exchange instead! The idea behind a cookie exchange is that you make a few batches of one type of cookie (less labor and time), invite friends over who have made a few batches of other cookie types, and trade so that everyone leaves with an assortment of holiday goodies.
This year, I'm attending my friend Erin's fourth annual cookie exchange. She kindly agreed to let me document her event and share with you her tips for a fabulous cookie exchange.
Before the exchange:
Decide what date and time to host your event. Consider a Sunday or Monday. This gives people the previous day to make their cookies.
Send out invites at least three weeks in advance. Between holiday gatherings, shopping, and other preparations, December fills up quickly! On the invitations, indicate how many dozens or batches of cookies each person should bring. Four to six dozen is usually sufficient for most exchanges. Also, remind your attendees to bring extra containers to take their new cookies home.
Plan on offering some nibbles and beverages at your exchange. Yes, you're trading cookies, but it's a social event too! If you plan to host around a mealtime, offer something a bit more substantial to eat. This year, Erin made a Mexican chicken stew and after a long day at work, it really hit the spot.
Decide how you will arrange the cookies and how your guests will get their cookies. With a small group you can set the cookies on a large table and have everyone walk around the table taking one or two at a time until they all disappear. If you are having a large group, you may need to set up a longer cookie collection line. Will you need to move furniture; do you have the table space? These are things to consider before guests arrive.
On the day of the exchange:
Let your guests know where to put their cookies when they arrive. Consider offering them a way to label their cookies so other guests know what kind of cookie it is. (It isn't always obvious!)
Begin with introductions, beverages, and snacks. You may know all your guests, but they may not know each other. This gives time for everyone to ooh and ahh over each other's cookies too.
Then, begin your exchange. Have your guests arm themselves with their containers and explain to them how to make their way to all the cookies.
Of course, plan to have a little time at the end for everyone to sample these newly collected cookies. You might consider offering some coffee to go with all those delicious confections.
And what did I offer at this year's cookie exchange? I whipped up three batches of Nigella Lawson's Christmas Rocky Road. It requires no baking, and creates delicious crunchy squares of chocolatey goodness chock full of crushed amaretti cookies, nuts, cherries, and marshmallows. You really have to try this unique recipe!
A big thanks to Erin for sharing her cookie exchange tips for success. And thanks to all her guests for being good sports while I took pictures and for all the loot I brought home! Hope you all find a way to make the holidays sweet and simple!
Categories: Party Ideas