Sunday, December 8, 2013

{Twelve Days of Christmas} Day 8 - Cookie Exchange

On the Eighth Day of Christmas,  my true love gave to me...
I know what you're thinking, but you're wrong.
It's not eight maids a'milking.
It's COOKIES!  Lots and lots of Cookies!
Photo via The Shine Project.  I made these for last year's exchange, but sadly mine looked nothing like these little twirly, swirly beauties.
Today, we're talking cookie exchanges!  If you've never been to one, or hosted one, you're missing out.  This is the best opportunity to stock up on sweets that will get you through several weeks of holiday gatherings.  You bake your tail off for a solid day, count, arrange and package away, then the best part is you get to enjoy some fun catching up with your friends (...or is the best part actually getting lots and lots of cookies? Hmmm...)

Why not host, or co-host one?  It's super easy (if you don't take into account all the baking you'll have to do).  All you really need is a bunch of friends, home made cookies, and some counter/table space to display the goods.

1.  Choose your date and invite some friends.  Make sure you have the get-together a few days before Christmas.  That way, your cookies are fresh enough to eat on Christmas Eve and Day, and you can freeze some for New Years Eve.

2.  Set an RSVP date, and follow up with invited guests. You need to determine who is definitely coming.  Remember, this is a super busy time of year for everyone, so don't be surprised if your BFF is unavailable.

3.  Based on the number of attendees, plan on everyone making between 8-12 cookies per each guest, and have them packaged separately.  The amount of cookies you bring should be the same amount you take home.

4. Bake away!  Choose a recipe that you love, but that others are most likely not going to make.  That being said, I would never turn away multiple packages of chocolate chip cookies.  Ever.

5.  Package up each of your bundles of cookies.  You may want to print the recipe to distribute, as well.  (It is almost certain that someone will ask for it!)

6.  Prepare a few appetizers and beverages and wait for the guests to arrive.  Make the participants aware that the cookies must be at the party location by a specific time (they may drop them off to you the night before) so that those that cannot stay for the 'party' can drop in and grab their cookie bounty quickly.

7.  Arrange the cookies around your tables and counters using cake platters and tiered displays to add height.  Place some ornaments or fake snow around the tables to make them a pinch more festive!

8  Have the party and make sure your guests take one package of each variety.  Have them vote if you're holding a contest or competition.

9. Enjoy delicious cookies for the next couple of weeks!  Make small platters of mixed sweets to take with you to parties/gatherings or keep them all at your home for events you might be hosting or for those surprise holiday drop-in visitors.

There are so many ways to change up your cookie exchange.  You can offer a grand prize for best cookie presentation or prettiest cookie (I'm trying this idea this year).  You can have everyone bring an unwrapped new toy for a group donation or you can even combine the cookie exchange with an ornament exchange.  The sky's the limit!

There are tons of fun, free printables out there focused on cookie exchanges like this one from Every Day Cheer and these from I Heart Naptime.  These are sure to make your exchange colorful, festive and fun.

Will you be hosting/attending a cookie exchange this year?  What will you be baking?

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