As the holidays quickly approach, I’m sure you’ve all been thinking about holiday gifts. You might have your Christmas shopping done for your immediate family and close friends (and if you don’t – hey, I’m not judging!)…but what about all of those special people in your life who you may not know well enough to merit a full-blown purchase?
We’ve been talking a lot about homemade gifts from your kitchen here at Mr. Food, but what if you don’t have the time to bake for your mailman, your hair stylist, your kids’ teachers, your neighbors, your co-workers, your babysitter, your landscaper or lawnmower…guys, the list goes on and on!
And the answer is surprisingly simple: Host a cookie swap party!
What’s a cookie swap, you ask? Well, the general idea is that it’s easier to bake several batches of one type of cookie than it would be to bake lots of different kinds. If you can get a group together, you can each bake a different type of cookie and then trade with one another to create cookie gift plates or tins for all of those people you need gifts for.
This is how it works: You get a group of friends or relatives together. Each person chooses a type of cookie they’d like to make. Each person then bakes several dozen cookies – usually about a dozen per people in your group total. I would recommend a group of 6 to 10 people; you want to get enough of a variety of different types of cookies, but you probably don’t want to be baking more than 10 dozen cookies! If you wanted, you could also each bake an additional dozen for sampling, but I think a dozen per person attending will still give you plenty. You want to make sure that each person makes a different type of cookie, so that you end up with a nice variety – so make sure to plan that out in advance.
You’ll then host a get-together where everyone can bring their cookies to swap. I like to offer display cards for guests to write the name of their cookies. Allow guests to set their cookies out on a large table, and offer plenty of napkins and small plates for sampling.
Appetizers and cocktails are a must, in my book. If you’re the host, I think it’s nice for the rest of the group to help out by bringing a favorite hors d’oeuvre or a bottle of wine. You’ll need something to break up all that sugar – trust me! I like to offer a festive specialty cocktail as well – preferably something in a pitcher or a punch bowl that you can make in advance, something that will be easy for a group.
To make things easier on yourself, you could ask your guests to each bring their own containers to carry their cookies home. But, I think offering some nice tins and boxes (you can pick them up at your local craft store) with pretty ribbons and tissue paper is a lovely way to do it. Again, feel free to ask a few of your guests to help you with this! If you have enough containers, people can even make their own little cookie packages to give as gifts right there at the party.
Ready to rock? Keep this article on How to Host a Cookie Exchange handy so that you remember all the rules. Now, it’s time to find some friends and get baking!
Have you ever hosted or attended a cookie exchange before? If you have any pointers or tips, we’d love to hear them in the comments below!