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Have yourself a merry little cookie swap

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The holidays are about spending time with family and friends – and treating yourself to delicious sweets. And nothing brings holiday joy like a fresh batch of delicious cookies! Spread some holiday cheer by bringing together your favourite people for a tasty cookie exchange!

Plan ahead

Planning for your party is key. The last thing you want is for everyone to remember how uneventful or unprepared your holiday party was. Instead, leave them with a lasting impression and a warm holiday memory that they’ll tell all their friends about.

Start by making a guest list. Who do you want to invite to your party? Think big, like old friends in town for the holidays, family, work friends or even your neighbors. Pick a date and time to have your party. Choose something that will generally work for everyone, like a Saturday or a Sunday afternoon.

Set some guidelines

This is not the time for the supermarket special! Make it clear to each guest that these should be homemade cookies with a holiday theme. Encourage them to be creative, have fun with it – and to bring their recipes along with them!

Typically, guests should bake a dozen cookies for every attendee, but a half dozen should work if the party is large. To avoid any duplicate treats, you should request that guests send recipes ahead of time; suggest new ideas if there are too many of the same cookies being baked.

Last but not least, make custom invitations to your party. Don’t just send a text or email for a party this fabulous! Let your guests know this is a special event and one they won’t want to miss by taking the time to make your invitations memorable. And don’t forget to send out a friendly reminder in the days leading up to your party to keep it fresh in your guests’ minds.

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Prepare for the party

Your party will be as spectacular as you make it! To set the scene for your party, decorate your area and make it look like a winter wonderland or Santa’s workshop. Prepare your cookie dough the night before the party so it’s ready to bake the next day.

All the best holiday cookies have their own unique shape and taste. Get your hands on some festive cookie cutters to make your cookies stand out. Check out our very own Perfect Batch Cookie Cutters set that comes with six different holiday cutters and a sugar cookie recipe in a draw-string pouch that can be personalized! They’re the perfect gift for any baked-goods lover to make their holiday cookies – or to cut their brownies, crispy treats, gelatin or kids’ sandwiches into festive shapes.

As a host, you should plan to serve other food besides the featured treats – not that stuffing yourself with delicious, sugar-loaded cookies alone is bad (hey, it’s the holidays!), but it’s always a nice gesture to have other options available. Keep it simple: a nice veggie tray or other finger foods should be perfect.

Put some thought into what beverages you’ll be serving along with all those crumbly treats: While nothing goes better with cookies than cold milk, offer great grown-up options as well, like coffee, hot cocoa, eggnog, or even adults-only cream-based cocktails!

It’s party time!

Before the party starts, begin baking your own cookies and start setting the place up. Designate different areas of the room for cookies, beverages, and other foods and a table for packaging up cookies to go. Do so in a way that will move people around the party, creating a good rhythm and flow for guests to enjoy.

Set the mood with a fun and spirited playlist to jam to during the party. Put on your favourite holiday music and other jolly jingles to keep the party’s energy up!

Welcome your guests and ask them to arrange their cookies on the display table and label each cookie by recipe. A fun activity to do at your party is to have everyone vote on their favourite cookies by taste, appearance, best name and originality. You can even award the winners some fun holiday prizes! Consider choosing something extra special from our Online Exclusives collection or Holiday Gift Guide to make your party especially memorable!

Another fun twist for your party is to set up a decoration station: Ask guests to bring plain cookies, then provide lots of great frosting flavors, colourful tubes of icing and sprinkles to decorate them together!

Cookies to go!

When the party starts to wind down, begin packaging up an assortment of cookies for your friends and family to take home. Provide to-go containers or foil for any guests who wish to repackage their own plates or containers. And once guests are leaving, be sure to give each one of them a warm goodbye and a list of the cookie recipes. Another nice gesture would be to email the recipes with a follow-up message thanking everyone who attended your holiday cookie exchange party.

Thinking about hosting your own cookie exchange party now? Make it a Thirty-One party too! See all the great rewards you could earn by hosting a Thirty-One party on our Be a Host page. Tag and share your holiday cookie exchange photos with #thirtyone, and you could be featured on our site!