Cookie exchanges are a great way to bring friends and family together, as well as a great way to try new cookies and get new recipes. Organizing a cookie exchange with yours neighbors is one of the easiest, least time-consuming parties to plan. Here are a few tips for making your cookie exchange a party to remember.
Send out invitations – information should include day, time, place, and RSVP date, as well as how many cookies to bring and any other items to bring (for example, copies of the recipe and a container for taking the goodies home).
How many cookies – plan on six to twelve cookies per invitee, plus an extra couple dozen to serve at the party; for example, if you’re inviting ten people, tell each person to make five to ten dozen cookies (depending on size) for exchanging, plus two dozen more to serve.
Be prepared – in case someone forgets a container, or brings one that won’t fit all their goodies, have extra plastic bags or plates with foil or plastic wrap available.
For the non-bakers – suggest homemade candies or chocolate-covered fruits or pretzels for someone who doesn’t bake but would like to participate, or suggest a simple recipe if they are willing to try.
Cookie display – have a large table adorned with a festive tablecloth set up for the cookies being sampled. Ask the participants to place those cookies on a plate or tray, and supply them with a pen and paper to write the cookies’ name on. Also consider having a simple, festive centerpiece on the table.
Refreshments – since you’ll already have cookies for nibbling, all you’ll need to supply are some beverages; consider a seasonal drink like cider or eggnog, along with tea, coffee, and, of course, milk.
Decorations – even if the rest of your house isn’t completely ready for the holidays, make sure the room you’re using (most likely the kitchen and/or dining room) has some festive touches.
The day of the exchange – set out napkins and plates, the coffee maker, and cups, plus set up the cookie table. Make sure you have holiday music playing in the background, or if a television and DVD player or VCR are available, put on some classic holiday shows.
Ideas for cookie recipes – there are a number of websites where you can find holiday cookie recipes; here are a few to check out: allrecipes.com, about.com, cookinglight.com, hersheys.com, bhg.com, and of course, associatedcontent.com.
Most important tip for a cookie exchange – enjoy your company, have fun, and eat cookies!