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19 Dec 2012
Host a cookie exchange party!
Cookie Exchange Header|sophie-world.com

Every year at Christmas my dad anxiously awaits his favorite present. It doesn’t matter what else he receives that year; every wrapped confection and well-thought-out gift is destined to be eclipsed by the arrival of my Aunt Joey’s platter of homemade cookies! Aunt Joey is known for her array of amazing sweets that range from old-fashioned favorites to high-end delicacies, and I swear, it’s the thing that turns my 69-year-old father into a 6-year-old kid again!

This got me thinking: how fun would it be to throw a cookie exchange party? Why not have all the guests bring their favorite family treats to share, so that everyone goes home with an unfathomable basket of decadence and delight! Personally I think this would be great for a neighborhood, a club, or congregation -- the more cookies, the merrier. And true, you may end up with 12 versions of chocolate chip cookies, but hey, no two bakers make cookies exactly the same way!

Here’s how to throw a cookie exchange party...

#1. You begin with your invitation. You’ll need to ask each guest to prepare enough cookies for each family to take 6 cookies; so if you have 10 families coming, then you’ll need each person to bring 60 cookies. If you are so inclined, you could also ask each guest to bring a full-page copy of the recipe (if they can bring one copy for each family, that would be ideal). Make sure they mark their families name on the sheet. Ask each family to also bring a box, tray, or basket to gather their cookies.

#2. As guests arrive, you’ll want to display their cookies and recipes on a large table. Arrange the cookies so that they are next to the recipes. It’s best if the “cookie” room is in an area that can be guarded or revealed later in the party...

#3. Set out snacks and drinks for eating in the main party area, so that folks are not tempted to attack the cookie table! Set up a hot chocolate bar with lots of mix-ins like marshmallows, cinnamon hearts, and peppermint drops.

#4. If you’ve got a large enough kitchen, then why not have a cookie baking demonstration? Choose a cookie that you love and engage everyone in helping you make a batch. This is especially fun if it’s an exotic family recipe, or something that folks have never seen before. If you’ve got the time and space, why not make up a batch of gingerbread cookies ahead of time and hand out rollers, dough, and decorating supplies to each family. Teach them how to roll the dough, cut out the cookies, transfer to trays (you should do one family per tray so that they don’t get confused), bake, and decorate.

#5. Sing some songs. Gather everyone together and sing some holiday songs. If you’ve got kids with musical skills, ask them to participate in helping to lead the group.

#6. If you’ve had folks bring recipes, hand out construction paper, stickers, and markers, and have each family design their own recipe book cover.

#7. When it’s cookie time (which should come right at the end of the party), hand out numbers to each family, and invite them one by one to bring their basket/box/tray to the cookie room. Have them make their way down the line gathering six of each type of cookie. As they gather their cookies they can also gather one of each of the recipe sheets to create their recipe books. Stack the papers and have a three hole punch or stapler on hand to make the books. Simply place the construction paper on either side of the stacked-up recipes and staple the pages together. If you have a three hole punch, then punch the booklet and give folks paper brads to secure the pages.

#8. While families are gathering their cookies, it’s a great time to play a trivia game, sing more songs, or see who can tell the best holiday jokes.

As with all parties, the idea here is for folks to gather together and have fun. The best part about it though, is that each guest goes home with an awesome goodie that can be shared with other friends and family for the days that follow.

I may just have to organize one of these parties for my folks... I know my dad in particular would love it!