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Host a Holiday Cookie Exchange Party

Hosting a holiday cookie exchange party allows your guests to shine and creates a sweet celebration for you to enjoy with close friends over the holiday. Follow these 10 tips for hosting the perfect cookie party that will leave you and your guests feeling the yule time cheer.

It's not uncommon for the holiday season to take hold of the reins and drive a hostess crazy with to-dos. This year, make some time to host a simple social at home that will leave you reveling in the holiday spirit!

Top Tips to Host a Holiday Cookie Exchange

Send out invitations well in advance.  Don't wait until the last minute to invite your guests over. The Holiday season is a busy time for everyone; ensure that you send your party invitations out at least 6 weeks in advance to ensure that your guests have an open calendar and plenty of time to RSVP. Be sure to pick an invitation that will stand out from the season greetings to declare this is a sweet soiree you won't want to miss!

Go big. Cookie exchange parties are best enjoyed in the company of many friends, new and old, and make a great opportunity to invite guests that normally would not make it on to your party list. Be creative with your guest list and consider inviting acquaintances as well as close friends. 

Keep it short. Cookie and cocoa parties are a great alternative to evening parties and give you a chance to entertain in short bursts rather than longer events. A 90 minute party hosted in mid morning or mid afternoon will ensure that your guests have plenty of time to manage their busy holiday schedule while also enjoying time spent with you.

Consider allergies. When sending our invitations, request that your guests inform you of any food allergies and then share that with the guest list if you are hosting a bring your own cookie party to avoid any problems at the cookie buffet.

Make your cookie request clear. Not all cookie parties are "bring your own" and many guests are left confused about cookie protocol. If you are requesting that guests bring cookies to share, be clear about this in your invitations. 

Allow alternatives. Not everyone is a fabulous baker nor does everyone have time to bake fresh cookies over the holiday season. Let you guests know if you are open to convenience cookies, and if not, offer those unable to bring fresh cookies an alternative…like cocoa. 

Allow plenty of room. If you are hosting a bring you own cookie party, allow the table to accommodate a variety of cookie platter shapes and sizes. Don’t limit yourself to just the buffet table, create movement in your cookie party by placing cookie platters around the room – not only does it get the party moving, it saves your buffet table from looking over stocked.

Get the competition going.  Everyone loves a good party game and cookie competitions are always party pleasers. Play "Guess the secret Ingredient" or even host a mini award game with categories like "Best Decorated Cookie" or "Best Tasting Cookie," to encourage everyone to get involved in the cookie experience. 

Share recipes. If you are hosting a bring your own cookie party, place a bound book on the table and encourage everyone to share their recipe inside the book along with an email address to send the recipes to. After the party, scan the pages of your book and share it with your guests. 

Alternatively, ask your guests to bring recipe cards featuring the cookies they brought to share with the group for a more immediate sharing method. This makes for a great party favor!

Spread the holiday cheer. Rather than giving each guest a basket of cookies to bring home, consider donating the cookies to local food banks or care facilities once the party has ended. Be sure to call such locations ahead of time to be sure they'll except homemade food donations!

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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