How to Host a Cookie Exchange Party Article -
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How to Host a Cookie Exchange Party

Plan ahead for your party with our handy checklist.

One Month Before the Party

  • Finalize the guest list
  • Ask your friends what they plan to bake and try to avoid duplicates. It's all about variety. Each person should bring 1 dozen cookies multiplied by the number of guests
  • Decide on party treats and drinks. To keep things easy, ask friends to bring some of the appetizers

 Three Days Before the Party

  • Bake your cookies and store them in airtight containers or freeze them
  • Begin decorating the house
  • Assess tablecloths, napkins or tableware
  • Start making appetizers that freeze or store well 
  • Select background music
  • Write out a rough schedule for the party. You want everyone to socialize, but still have time to pack up cookies during the exchange

One Day Before the Party

  • Finish making appetizers and drinks
  • Set up the cookie table; it should hold a large variety of cookies and be accessible by more than one person at a time
  • If you have cake stands or other tiered serving trays, use them--dishes at different heights add visual drama

The Day of the Party

  • Arrange food and drinks
  • Fix up any last-minute decorations 
  • Brew the coffee, pull out your party timeline, put on some festive attire and get ready to party!

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Oct. 23, 2009 9:58 am
This will be done at our church for the ladies to have fun and make plates for our shut-ins. I never did this before. It won't btil December 5th. wish me luck
Oct. 24, 2009 9:07 am
We do this each year for the ladies of our church and always have a great turn out! We play a few games, reveal secret sisters and do our cookie exchange. We also have each ladie bring a copy of their recipe and I make a little recipe book for each lady that attended.
Nov. 11, 2009 9:39 am
I hope to use this idea with my Guiding Sisters. I have enjoyed this type of party a long time ago and it was such a social, relaxing, fun time. Wish me luck. We could always use new cookie recipes.
Nov. 22, 2009 11:21 am
My mother and I host a cookie party each year and it is always a big hit! Everyone tries to come up with the most creative cookie they can all year long and we love to see who's is the best each year. Our party is so popular now that everyone thinks we need to have 2 of them in Dec. so they can get more cookies and more people can come! If you get a chance to host or attend a cookie party go, and be prepared to have an amazing time and lots of cookies!
joan clark 
Dec. 2, 2009 4:27 pm
I am going to host my first party this year, sure hope it turns out. I might add a group of ladies that I worked with, we are all retired now, get together and have a lunch at a restaurant, they will all come to my house after for a dessert and I give a nice door prise, it has been a big hit, they love coming, and see the decorations and good fellowship. some are alone and this is a nice break for them.
Dec. 3, 2009 11:44 am
A coworker hosts a big one here at my job. There were like 25 people last time and one of our coworkers put's together a cookbook from our recipes. She also makes a tray for our service people, so it's like we're all contributing to the cause & it's fun too.
Dec. 3, 2009 6:42 pm
I am hosting a party like this for the first time this year. I wanted a holiday party for the adults to get together and socialize and the kids have something to do. I am setting up a cookie decorating station for the kids and have some teens that will help the little ones with that while the adults visit and exchange cookies. It should be fun!
Dec. 4, 2009 8:11 am
We have our cookie party a bit differently. We ask each attendee to prepackage all of her cookies. 12 cookies to a tin. We don't eat the cookies at the party. We each bring an appetizer and the host only provides drinks and plates/cups etc. Then we have one hot drink in the crockpot...mulled wine or spiced cider whatever. This saves the "packing" process at the end of the party. Also everyone gets exactly one dozen of each different cookie to take home. Depending on the group you can have a few simple games that result in a prize. Or prize for best outfit or prettiest cookie. We ban kids and hubbies so that the girls get a few hours of peace to have a drink and relax. Good luck to all of you hosting! Happy Holidays!
Dec. 5, 2009 8:43 am
I'm excited to host a Kwanzaa Cookie Exchange Party this year. We will exchange cookies then have what I like to call a "Crafter-noon" where we will make a craft related to the principles of Kwanzaa. Cookie Exchanges are great because everyone loves cookies, and it can be translated into any culture or Holiday Celebration.
Dec. 5, 2009 3:43 pm
My sisters and I are preparing to host our 5th annual Cookie Exchange Party for family and friends. We include the young members of our family to participate - they have great cookie ideas - grandchildren, nieces, nephews - and love to lend a hand in baking. We begin with prayer and the story of how we began our party and play a few games. We tell why we made our specific cookie. Each of us go home with a bag of cookies, copies of recipies and new ideas for next year. We were published in our local paper two years ago. This is great fun. We alternate as hostess each year.
Dec. 6, 2009 8:10 pm
The past several years I have had a cookie exchange with my Daycare parents. I make sure there are no duplicates and they drop off their cookies in the a.m. with their child, then during nap time I divide all the cookies into each families containers to take home. this way with everyones busy schedules we all have a nice variety of delicious cookies for the holidays.
Dec. 7, 2009 9:34 am
I am doing this in a few weeks for children and parents (but mostly for the kids). We are having Santa for pictures, crafts, and cookie decorating for the kids. We are doing it on a Sunday afternoon, so the parents can spend time with their children on Saturday baking cookies. Each child will leave with a Christmas tin with a little over a dozen cookies. How it works - I am sure the kids will love it.
Dec. 8, 2009 6:53 am
My friend is hosting a cookie baking and exchange party. We are getting together to bake the cookies and then take some of each home. We have a friend who doesn't like to bake, so is making a big batch of roaster caramel corn. I can't wait!!
Dec. 9, 2009 8:45 am
My cookie exchange is next week and I'm excited to have added a new twist. As a scrapbooker/stamper, I thought it might be fun to have a craft of some sort. I set up a station in the office and the guests who are interested will get to to make five Christmas gift tags. So everyone will take home cookies and gift tags!
Dec. 10, 2009 6:31 am
We're also doing a baking/exchange at my sisters house next week. It will be the first time we have done this and are hoping that we will continue the tradition in the coming years.
Dec. 16, 2009 9:03 pm
Me and my friend started our cookie exchange 30 years ago. We have had different ladies, sometime every year but there our a few of us die hards that have never missed a year. we usually do 2 dozen per person and we put them each on a paper plate so there is no sorting out and everybody takes home 2 dozen of everybodys cookies. We also bring a appetizer and a christmas ornament which we draw numbers for. One day we are hoping to make up a cookbook with the cookies and appetizer.
Dec. 17, 2009 8:35 pm
This year we had our second annual cookie party. We had prizes for best tasting, prettiest cookie and best packaging. We had a couple of snacks with Mimosa's. We also collected money to adopt a family for Christmas. It was a blast of a time!!!
Mar. 17, 2010 12:00 pm
Too funny!! I've ben doing this with my girlfriends for over 12+ years now............we have soo much fun & it makes the Holidays easier meaning you have your cookies and a GREAT variety!!! We have a traditional Mimosa, Coffee, Bagels & Crm Chs then we do a pizza & salad for lunch with Wine!! Fun, fun & play Christmas music........
Sep. 21, 2010 1:53 pm
I love to bake but I'm not a party hostess, but this is something I can get excited about! Time with the girls and lots of baked goodies! Wish me luck!
crystal miller 
Oct. 19, 2010 9:40 am
I had a cookie swap party last year and it was a fun relaxing time for me and my friends. My girls are teens now, and love to bake and be included, it is a great bonding experience.
Oct. 20, 2010 11:09 am
I need to know activities for the cookie exchanges I have never been to one before.
Carol Jean 
Oct. 25, 2010 2:25 pm
I would like to do something different this year with having a cookie exchange party. I think it would be fun to do it on line and you could send emails to all your email friends, and they send recipes to all attached plus one of there favorites. If anyone has ideas please post back. Thanks, Carol Jean
Karen Johnson 
Nov. 1, 2010 3:04 am
I am the queen of a Red Hat group and we have been doing a cookie exchange for 5 years. We do snacks, and an ornament exchange and have our cookie cookie exchange. Some times we play a couple of games but we always have a great time.
Nov. 22, 2010 6:52 pm
I have been having a cookie & ornament exchange for over 10 years now with family & friends. Everyone looks forward to the cookie party. We all bake (8) dozen cookies and depending on how many attend everyone goes home with more than 8 dozen! Prizes are awarded for the most festive & the most delicious looking. We play an ornament exchange game, and we have collected such a nice variety over the years. Each year it is fun to see what types of cookies everyone brings. Of course sampling the cookies is the best part but, I also send trays of cookies to work with my husband (which the co-workers Enjoy)! I first started this party as a way to get to know my sister in laws (married into a Huge family)and now my daughter & I carry on this fun holiday tradition.
Dec. 1, 2010 5:40 am
I did this for years until I wasn't allowed sugar any more. One important thing to say upfront and then of course to any new people as the years go by: No chocolate chip, or peanut butter cookies, no store-bought or sliced from a commercial roll cookies. This sets the tone for fancy cookies, and yes, people can get very competitive and try to outdo each other with 'fanciness'. It's a lot of fun. Best to invite only people you know who can cook!!
Dec. 1, 2010 5:46 am
Someone wanted to know about things to do at the exchange. We once went around the circle and told our worst baking/cooking disaster stories. It was a hoot! I remember one where the woman accidentally used pancake mix instead of flour. Her bread dough didn't just rise, it grew out of the bowl like a lifeform from outer space!
Dec. 1, 2010 5:58 am
This will be our first one, although we had talked about it in the past. But ours will be a little different in that we will be baking them at our party. We use to spend the day baking when my girls were little, and now that they are grown & gone, we are going to make a day of it and bake together again, just like when they were little :-) But we have also invited some others, like my sisters & nieces (their aunts and cousins) and I have a daughter-in-law now also. Should be alot of fun.
Dec. 1, 2010 10:45 am
My Mom & I have been doing this for years and everyone always has a great time! We used to spend a lot of time making all the appetizers, but there are a number of our friends who do not want cookies but enjoy the party so we give them the option to bring either cookies for the exchange or an appetizer/dessert to share. We end up with a variety in the cookies as well as the food served! And it leaves more time to decorate for Christmas!!! WIN WIN!!!
Heaven sent 
Dec. 2, 2010 12:53 pm
How nany cookies should each guest bring for the exchange? I know there will be over 15 guets
Delores Ungs 
Dec. 3, 2010 6:35 am
I'm hosting a cookie exchange at my house for the first time. It will be all airman from the base. They will cook them here and then we will exchange them. I'm hoping they will have fun doing this. Wish me luck...
Dec. 4, 2010 5:16 pm
I host a "Christmas Cookie Exchange" each December and it is a wonderful time with family and friends....both guys and gals attend, I had 24 attend last year, and expect the same or a few more this year! If you get invited to one...ATTEND, you won't regret it! If you don't get invited to one HOST your won't regret it, and you will enjoy the holiday spirit that much more!
Dec. 5, 2010 10:47 am
I just made my first cookie swap and the only problem I had was some of the ladies that came didn't wait for everyone to get their boxes and as soon as they recieved their box high tailed for the cookie table . Needless to say some of us did not get a;; of the types of cookies. I learned my lesson for next year. I will put in the rules anyone who enters the cookie room before being asked to will forfeit their cookies. I was really upset for the other ladies.
Dec. 5, 2010 12:03 pm
I just recently suggested the idea to co-workers who were very excited about it with the exception of a few who thought that baking a dozen cookies for each person was way too much work. I didn't just leave it at cookies though because some of our girls make delicious candy at this time of year too so it was open to cookies, candy or even fudge. I suggested that they each package up their gift for each of the others so that they can be taken home to share with the family. We will also have a potluck lunch to celebrate. Our date is set for Dec 15, I hope it goes well
Dec. 7, 2010 1:02 pm
This year will be my 17th in a row hosting a cookie exchange at my house. I take a different Christmas carol each year and rewrite the words as the invitation to the swap. Each person brings their cookies pre-packaged for swapping along with a recipe. I have decorative bags labeled with each persons name on my dining room table so each person can "hand out" their cookies when they arrive. I ask each person to bring an extra 6 cookies for sampling. they are arranged on a nice 3 level tray for all to see. We each introduce our cookie and tell why we selected or the horror we had in making them (yes sometimes this happens). I have drinks and appetizers for everyone. We also have a $10 Pollyanna, where you pick a number from a hat and then choose a wrapped gift from the table or steal from a previously opened gift. it is lots of fun. highly recommend if you are considering
Dec. 8, 2010 10:00 am
Does anyone know how to make a cookie exchange last longer than a few minutes? Would a Christmas movie or some type of Christmas game make it longer? I'm hosing a Christmas party in a few weeks and need something to make it last longer than ten minutes. LOL! Please help. :D
Dec. 8, 2010 1:16 pm
I'm so excited I'm hosting my first one this year!.. seems to be turning into a bit of a botique with the ladies bringing their awesome hand made goods!
Dec. 8, 2010 3:16 pm
i've had several cookie exchanges over the years and it's always a fun and relaxing way to get together over the holidays. I am a home health nurse and make up cookie tins to take to my patients. Happy Holidays everyone!
Dec. 8, 2010 3:17 pm
to Allison, we are doing a Chinese Ornament exchange at my party. This is always a fun thing!
Dec. 8, 2010 3:39 pm
stnortham, thanks so much! I really needed that.
Dec. 8, 2010 10:01 pm
I've been doing this with several girlfriends for that past 3 yrs. Love this time together the wk before the holiday. We make 4 dozen different cookies and love gabbing. My family loves the different cookies. We also give each other the recipes for the cookies we have made.
Dec. 16, 2010 1:37 am
I had my first one this year. I did it in November right before thanksgiving. Next yr we will do it in December. It was very enjoyable except that some of the ladies ran right into the cookie room and took cookies before we were ready to exchange needless to say they won't be invited next yr, It was a lot of fun other than that.
Dec. 16, 2010 6:41 pm
i am hosting my 1st cookie exchange this year. can't wait! we are having a candy table also... everyone also brings a wrapped mug for exchanging to drink tea and cocoa in... we also have nice door prizes! fun!
Dec. 16, 2010 8:36 pm
Our neighborhood has one each year, hosted by the same neighbor who has made it her tradition to do so. We each bring eight dozen cookies, pre-wrapped in packages of 6 each (sixteen packages)that we place on her large beautifully decorated dining room table, You will find no "zip-loc," sandwhich bags here! But rather bags decorated for the season that can be found at party stores or target, often cellophane, and like those used for treat bags at children's parties. After we have had coffee, tea, mulled cider or wine, some appetizers,and conversation we make our way into the dining room where we each take sixteen bags (8 dozen) different than those with which we came. Great fun, and great for gifts!
Dec. 18, 2010 5:54 am
Well, Gee, I could have wrote this! LOL! The only thing that I did different was also have a White Elephant gift exchange. That is always fun to legally re-gift or get rid of that thing in your house you are tired of!
Dec. 19, 2010 4:06 pm
how many cookies do they bring if you have 5 people coming does everyone bring 5 dozen of the one kind? I have always wanted to do this but I am just not sure on how the cookies work...
Dec. 19, 2010 7:36 pm
I have little different cookie party. it's really for my teenage daughter and her friends to get together.each one of them (4 girls)bring their recipies along with ingred. weather it be candy or cookie. while one is baking the other are makin candy. they also bring a container. after we is done they fill their containers. a good way to teach young girls to become great cooks :)
Dec. 21, 2010 3:24 am
My family and friends exchange cookies at Christmastime each year. It is fun and a great way to take home a variety of cookies! One thing I would add that seems to work is to ask participants to bring their cookies on paper plates of one dozen or a half dozen each and the plate inside a ziploc bag. This keeps the flavors from meshing together and is a neat and efficient way to swap. Everyone takes home as many as they brought,,simple.
Dec. 26, 2010 3:27 pm
We did a Christmas party with 6 girls participating. We exchanged 3 cookies each, so we each went home with 18 cookies 6 types.Not everyone has time to bake dozens of cookies or wants the calories of so many either. So for us this was just right. Each gal packaged her 3 separately for easy giving. Was really fun! We also did not exclude those who didn't have time to bake, and allowed purchased cookies as an option. There are so many great local cookies for sell here in Hawaii as I am sure there are in other states.
Mar. 28, 2011 4:08 pm
About 40 years ago I held a cookie exchange party. Great fun. My son was four at the time. He wore his gingerbread man Hallowe'en costume and greeted the guests as they arrived. He was the hit of the event.
Apr. 15, 2011 6:14 pm
I love cookie exchange parties!!! I usually do the same thing as a lot of people on here and tie it in with a crafting event of some sort- it tends to keep hands busy and everyone gets to talk about things. Great twist on Hen Parties too!!
Jul. 22, 2011 8:32 pm
We do this every year at the school where I work at, and it is a big hit. However, we do it as a Valentine's Day party. It is fun to see what new recipe I'll get, and every time I make that particular recipe, I think of the person who made the recipe.
Sep. 15, 2011 4:33 am
Thank you ladies for your ideas -- I got so many fascinating ideas from you! I am definitely going to have a Cookie Exchange Party this year or next year at the latest. I've decided we are going to start early, and make Cookie Exchange Books. If not this year, then next year. I am also going to, at my party, see if each lady is willing to give a little extra money to see if we can print extra cookie exchange recipe books, crediting each lady with her own recipe, of course, in the recipe book, and I'll explain cookie exchange parties in the book, and some other things, bc I want the recipe book to be nice. This is bc I think my group could make a little money from the books. Perhaps my Church (Catholic) and others would be willing to buy the book, and those in the cookie exchange, and those at their workplace may also buy the book. Then we can contribute the money to our favorite charity. The groups favorite charity is one that helps patients and survivors who have blood cancers
Sep. 17, 2011 5:41 am
I can't wait to do this
Oct. 21, 2011 12:59 pm
This is all so inspirational for a breast cancer prevention group I am preparing to launch soon.
Oct. 29, 2011 2:41 pm
I have been hosting a cookie exchange for 16 years. We spend the year searching for unique recipes. I print a cookbook of each person's recipe with a picture, if available. Also, I take pictures at the party and include those in the next year's book. So now I have a collection of cookie recipe books! For our 10th year, I made a cookbook which included ALL the recipes for the past ten years. Everyone votes on their favorite and that person wins a special prize, and is recognized in the cookbook. We also have various games at each party. Right after Christmas I start buying gifts and decorations for the next year, saving lots of money, and put them away. I serve refreshments, punch and coffee. The past few years I've started to have others bring something for variety, and to free up some of my time. I limit my party to 8 participants, each bringing 8 dozen cookies, one dozen for tasting, and the other 7 to hand out. Each person goes home with 7 dozen cookies. I hold the party a few
Nov. 7, 2011 12:33 am
I will be doing my 3rd one this year! I also incude a white elephant gift exchange that adds to the fun. make sure you tell the ladies no store bought!
Nov. 8, 2011 11:44 am
This will be my 6th Annual cookie exchange!It started out small, but has grown in number and I have many gals that have been with me from the beginning! First: I do not set limitations on what cookies can be baked. What if your very best cookie recipe is choc. chip? Who cares? I sure don't! Second: I had a close friend who had a death in her family close to xmas and couldn't cope with baking. She brought some gourmet bakery cookies so that she could participate and no one "boo-ed" her for doing it! Third: With so many attending, we now swap half-dozens. Everyone comes with their half-dozens already packaged up, and I always invite "broken cookies" for testing at the party! Fourth: I find people can make their own fun just listening to music, eating and visiting but there are fun games you can find to play as well. I serve hot and cold drinks. and about 2 or 3 appetizers.
Dec. 7, 2011 4:54 pm
This year will also be my 6th cookie exchange this Saturday. I love doing it. I have a group of ladies from different parts of my lives who come together every year and look forward to seeing each other. I have everyone bring 6 dozen cookies and I have some ladies who love to bake that bring two different kinds! I turn on the TV and put it on the holiday music channel for background and we eat appetizers and have non alcoholic drinks. We usually play a game or two for a prize and I have a gift bag of goodies for each lady to take home. This year I am making a sugar scrub for each lady and will do a craft of making an ornament. I average about 10-15 ladies each year. This year I plan to document the day for my blog!
Dec. 8, 2011 6:02 pm
I am hosting my first cookie party this Saturday. I have been sick most of the week. I am not going to be able to get my tree decorated so I plan to ask my guests to put a couple of ornaments on my tree. It will help me out and who knows, maybe some one will just "love" to decorate other peoples Trees and do the whole thing.y
Dec. 9, 2011 3:26 am
I do a cookie swap every year with my preschoolers. They each bring enough cookies so each child will get one. They also bring an ice cream bucket to be their cookie jar. We set them around the tables and they get to fill their bucket with a treat from each friend. Much simpler than a gift exchange!
Dec. 9, 2011 11:49 am
I do something similar to this. We actually pre mix our cookies and then we bake them together. We do this in the church kitchen so we have plenty of ovens. The kitchen is always the most popular room in the house and when its filled with the smell of baking cookies and laughter it cant be beat. This year is our second one. I bring punch and everyone brings a small snack to share. We have a ball!!
Irish Nana 
Dec. 29, 2011 11:45 am
Just went to our first cookie exchange party. What fun and such a great idea. My husband was at first skeptical but is now an avid cookie goer. Hope to do again next year.
Dec. 6, 2012 4:38 pm
I have a cookie swap every year. We prepackage each dozen cookie so everyone takes home a dozen cookies from each other. we also bake a test batch for our party. We vote on the best all around cookie, the best decorated cookie and the most creative cookie. We also have a prize for the most festive packaging. We serve two to three kinds of quiche and a salad or two. Lots of laughs and lots of fun!
Dec. 30, 2012 6:36 pm
What types of games are typically played? I am going to host my first cookie exchange this year, probably in February since Dec/Jan have been so busy.
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