How To Host A Holiday Cookie Exchange

It's the best excuse to get together with friends and family—and eat a whole bunch of cookies!
How To Host A Holiday Cookie Exchange

Photo, Erik Putz.

The holidays are a busy time. There are trees to trim, parties to attend and—most importantly—cookies to bake. How do you fit all these exciting events into one month? Start early, and plan a fun and productive holiday cookie exchange with your family and friends. It’s a great excuse to get people together and into the holiday spirit, and the bonus is that you end up with a variety of treats to last through the holiday season.

Whether you’re hosting or attending a holiday cookie swap, here’s a step-by-step checklist for hosting a cookie exchange.

Get organized

Set a date for your swap party—aim for two to three weeks before the holiday rush. This will give guests time to decide what to bake and coordinate with the group. To avoid duplicates and to allow for a variety of cookies, have guests fill out a sign-up sheet that includes sections for different categories of cookies: icebox cookies, bar cookies, drop cookies, decorated cookies, etc.


Think about quantity

For every six to eight guests attending (including yourself), ask each person to bring at least three dozen cookies. This will ensure that everyone on the guest list can take home 4 to 6 of each cookie variety. Ask guests to also bring a copy of their recipe or ingredient list. This is especially useful if you have guests attending who have food allergies.

A variety of cookies on a table, prepared for a holiday cookie exchange. Photo, Roberto Caruso.

Don't forget the packaging

One week prior to the exchange, remind guests to bring copies of their recipe cards and containers to take cookies home.

Keep parchment paper handy

On the day of the event, have lots of waxed paper or parchment on hand for separating layers of cookies, plus a few festive snacks and drinks.

Have fun

Let the swapping begin!

How to make gingerbread cookies

Assorted cookies on a pink background with the words in white "Find more Christmas cookie recipes"

Originally published in December 2012; Updated in November 2019


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