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One of my favorite holiday activities is baking cookies. I always have the grandest of plans – I’ll bake dozens of cookies, trying out all of the delicious recipes that appear on my favorite blogs and in holiday magazines. Guess what happens every year? I run out of time. Sound familiar? Want a better way to spend your time than slaving over a hot oven? Host a holiday cookie exchange! You’ll get to spend time with friends and go home with dozens of cookies. Now that’s what I call holiday spirit! Read on for easy tips on planning a successful holiday cookie exchange…
1. Make your guest list – plan to invite 10-14 people. It’s best to send out invitations at least 4 weeks in advance (we all know how hectic the holidays can be!). Ask for guests to RSVP with the type of treat that they’ll be bringing so that you don’t end up with too many duplicates.
2. When you have a final total of attendees, decide how many cookies each guest should bring. An easy rule of thumb is to plan on having each guest bring home ½ to a full dozen of each cookie. So, if you have 10 guests, they’ll each provide 5 dozen cookies. It may be easiest to exclude yourself from this calculation, and plan on your cookies being provided to snack on during the party.
3. About a week before the party, start baking cookies. Browse your favorite magazines, cookbooks, and cooking blogs for new recipes. I tend to look for “sturdy” cookies that will travel well – I don’t want guests arriving home with lots of crumbs!
4. Plan to provide festive drinks for guests, as well. Coffee, tea, and hot chocolates pair well with sweet treats.
5. Ask each guest to bring recipe cards to accompany their cookies. You may even want to provide binder rings and a hole punch so that guests can easily create a recipe flip book.
6. Remind guests to bring several large containers to transport their cookies in. It will be helpful to also have parchment paper on hand to help protect layers of cookies.
7. Create fun favors for guests – maybe small jars of candies or cookie ingredients, or brightly colored measuring spoons, whisks, or other supplies.
8. On the day of the party, set out pretty trays to hold cookies. Bowls of holiday candies will brighten up the table and give guests even more sweets to snack on! Put on some of your favorite holiday tunes, and most importantly – ENJOY!
9. Create easy bag toppers for thank you gifts for your guests. Fill the bags with cookies or candies.