Christmas is the air! And if you’re like most people your mailbox (or inbox) has already been filled with holiday party invitations. With all the events to choose from it can be hard to find time to host something of your own. Unfortunately if you don’t start planning early the prime weekends get taken before you’ve even pulled out the winter wardrobe. I love to play host but these past few years have been pretty busy so I haven’t had the time to plan ahead. This year, to fill my hosting void, I held a Cookie Exchange Party. It’s an easy event to throw together. This type of party tends to have a smaller guest list, is shorter than your average holiday party and does not need to fall on the coveted Friday or Saturday nights. I held mine on a Wednesday in the early evening and served light hors d’oeuvres and wine….and of course, cookies 🙂 It was so simple yet so fun!
Here’s how it works:
- Each guest bakes a batch of cookies of their choice. The type of cookie should be noted with the RSVP to avoid duplicates.
- The cookies are wrapped up into several small packages with about 3-4 in each. The number of packages will depend on the amount of people attending. The wrapping does not have to be fancy. I’ve used red and green saran wrap tied with ribbon.
- Each guest should bake a few extra cookies for tasting. Again, the number will depend on the size of the party. A general rule of thumb is half a cookie per person.
- All the guests get to sample the cookies and vote for their favorite. The winner can go home with a small prize or just the joy of having the best cookie. The host can decide on if a prize is necessary.
- Each guest then gets to take home a package of cookies from each batch.
There is not a whole lot of planning or setting up to do, but getting organized ahead of time is key. Below are a few tips to help make the party run smoothly:
- Put out small plates for the taster cookies ahead of time. Leave a blank place card or small piece of paper with each plate for each guest to write down the name of their cookie. It might be helpful to note ingredients that people are commonly allergic to such as nuts.
- Set up a self serve bar area so that you’re not stuck serving drinks all night.
- Cut the cookies in half or quarters or leave out knifes for guests to cut pieces themselves. Depending on how big the party is, there could be a lot of cookies. You don’t want to send you guests home with a sore stomach!
- Set out bags ready to fill with the cookie packages. I filled them as the guests arrived and left them by the door. When it was time to leave each person just grabbed a bag on their way out.
- Set out small pieces of paper (or post it notes), pens and a jar for the voting.
- Keep a time in mind for tasting and voting that falls toward the middle of the party so that guests who need to leave earlier don’t miss out.
The best part of a cookie exchange party is taking home the cookies at the end of the night. You’ll have enough to serve at your own gatherings or freeze for a later time. Last year I saved the cookies I took home in the freezer and served them for dessert at our Christmas Eve dinner. This year I plan to do the same…if they last that long 🙂
What are your favorite holiday party ideas? Please share!