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5 Things You Need to Know Before Hosting a Cookie Exchange

How to Host a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party, from Homemakers

Christmas cookie exchanges are proof that this is truly is the most wonderful time of year. As a host, you’ll be busier than an elf prepping and coordinating for your sugar-filled extravaganza. Luckily for you, we hosted our own cookie exchange this week and wrote down all our tips after. Keep reading to find out how to host your own chic cookie exchange! And check out our holiday cocktail recipes from around the world for an after-hours Christmas cookie exchange.

What is a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party?

Before hosting a cookie exchange, you’ll want to know what you’re signing up for. For those who don’t know, a cookie exchange party is one of the most magical events you’ll ever experience. Each guest brings home-baked cookies to share. After all the cookies are put on display, you taste each flavor and vote on the best one. Then, each guest collects an assorted box with the same number of each cookie flavor. That way, everyone leaves with the same amount of cookies they brought, but they take home a variety of flavors to enjoy through the holidays.

Christmas cookie exchange: pine tree decor
  • Cookie exchange display at Homemakers
  • Christmas cookie exchange party at Homemakers

What are the Christmas Cookie Exchange Rules?

As a host, you’ll want to make sure the rules are crystal clear beforehand. Here are a couple Christmas cookie exchange rules you should heed to be sure that everything runs smoothly:

Have guests RSVP with their cookie flavor a week or two in advance. That way, you can make sure there aren’t seven sugar cookie duplicates. Variety is key! You can even go the extra mile and ask that each guest bring enough recipe cards to share along with their cookies. It’s also a good idea to ask for any food allergies on your invites.

One of the most important cookie exchange rules is to make sure there are plenty of goodies to go around. Count your guests beforehand and ask that each person bring enough cookies. For example, we had 12 guests at our Christmas cookie exchange and asked that each person bring at least two-dozen cookies. That way, each person was able to collect two of each cookie flavor. This ensures that each person gets a decent serving of goodies to last through the holidays!

After everyone has a chance to try each cookie flavor, take a vote! But, make sure that each guest only votes once, and they can’t vote for their own cookie. Then, count up the votes and announce the winner! You can even hand out a fun prize to the cookie champion, like a cookbook or a set of cookie cutters. We have an entire holiday gift guide where you can gather ideas!

P.S. After counting our votes, the winner of our cookie exchange was the delicious chocolate meringues!

Christmas cookie exchange at Homemakers

How Do I Prep My Home for Guests?

Designate a place for coats. Nothing ruins cozy Christmas vibes like a disheveled pile of dripping winter coats. Keep your space tidy and your guests’ coats dry by hanging them on a hall tree or coat rack.

Make sure you have plenty of chairs and benches available. In a pinch, you can even use poufs as extra seating. They’re the perfect height to pull up beside your coffee table for a more casual feel.

Short on table space? A kitchen cart or server gives you extra counter space where you can set up your cookie exchange display or add a chic hot cocoa bar.

How Do I Create a Chic Cookie Exchange Display?

Make sure you have plenty of trays and platters. Your guests worked hard on their masterpieces. Give their goodies room to shine by providing plenty of serving trays and platters in your cookie exchange display. We have chic serving trays scattered throughout our showroom and Winter Marketplace starting at $12.99.

Fill in empty spaces with décor. After setting out your serving pieces, fill in the empty spaces with pine accents, buffalo snow and other Christmas décor. Build your display around each serving platter. That way, your guests’ cookies are still the party’s focal point.

Layer your cookie exchange display to add depth. Setting trays directly onto your table won’t do much to add visual interest. Instead, place boxes or crates on the back side of the table for height differentiation. You can layer on buffalo snow or a tablecloth to create a unified look. Then, set trays on top to create layered depth in your Christmas cookie exchange display.

Use crates and boxes to layer your cookie exchange display
  • Layer your cookie exchange display with crates and boxes
  • Collecting goodies at the cookie exchange party

What Should I do to Keep My Party Well-Organized?

Announce the schedule of events on your invites or at the beginning of the party. That way, your guests know to set out their cookies upon arrival, then enjoy one another’s company before you announce that it’s cookie-tasting time.

Provide label cards. Make it easy to tell what your guests are biting into by providing flavor table tents to set in front of each cookie platter. That way, your guests can avoid any flavors that disagree with their palate.

Before the big day arrives, prepare cookie exchange boxes and packaging materials. You can find festive boxes at a local craft store, then set out tissue paper, ribbon and scissors for your guests to make their cookie exchange boxes secure and oh-so festive.

  • Cookie exchange recipe label tents
  • Cookie exchange boxes

Are You Hosting a Cookie Exchange This Year?

We’d love to see your photos and hear your tips! Use the social media icons below to share your story with other readers who might be planning their own Christmas cookie exchange.

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