At a “cookie swap party”, all the guests bring several dozen holiday cookies to share with everyone else. For example, you come with 6 dozen of your own handmade cookies, and leave with a dozen each of 6 different kinds of cookies that your friends made. This is a really fun excuse to get together with friends, and a great way to get a tasty assortment of Christmas cookies for your family. One of our good friends, Jenny, hosts a cookie swap every year. We asked her to tap into her expert knowledge and share some tips with us for hosting a cookie swap. We hope you enjoy the ideas. Thanks, Jenny!
Woohoo! It’s almost time for one of my favorite parties of the year, the cookie swap party. This will be my third year hosting, and I’ve learned a lot from the first two years. The first year I went way overboard on the rules trying to ensure that we didn’t have duplicate cookies and everyone would end up with the exact same number of cookies to take home. The second year I loosened up somewhat, and it was an even bigger success.
So based on my experience, here are some guidelines for hosting your own cookie party:
- Cookie parties work best when you know the number of people coming before the party. Either invite people you know will mostly attend and inform the invitees of the number on the invitation, or send an email before the party letting everyone know the final count of attendees.
- Try to send your invitations quite far in advance. If you’re doing this at the holidays, people’s schedules book really fast.
- Consider a non-traditional day/time for a cookie party in your social circle – my friends have kids, so we’re usually booked during the day on the weekends. This year, we’re moving the party to Friday night to try to accommodate everyone.
- Send the rules of your cookie party with your invitations, but don’t be a slave to someone else’s rules. Some websites would have you believe there’s only one way to host a cookie party, but you know your friends best – change the rules as you see fit. For me, it’s really all about taking a break from the craziness and gathering with my friends; cookies are just a bonus. So for my party this year, I’m even going to allow store-bought cookies. They’ll be ineligible for prizes, but since a lot of the people invited will be working moms of young children and this is the holiday season, that may be all that some people can do. Just be sure to tell people what you expect them to bring (a dozen cookies per person, at least four cookies per person, etc.).
- Encourage people to pre-pack their cookies in containers for others to take home. Otherwise, this is a very time-consuming (and messy!) task. We’d rather be chatting than working.
- Don’t forget the food – savory snacks or a meal will nicely balance the sweet cookies.
- Don’t forget to tell everyone to bring extra cookies for the judging if you’re going to have contests. I’ve done that both years, and it’s been really fun. The first year we had prizes for “Tastiest Cookie” and “Prettiest Cookie.” Last year we added “Prettiest Packaging” as a contest. Offering cookie-themed prizes like cookie cutters, cookbooks, or aprons is a nice touch.
But most importantly, just relax and have fun!
If you’d like some help with invitations for your cookie swap, feel free to download and customize my invitation template. It includes text for the front and back of the invitation.