In How to Plan a Cookie Exchange Party, we talked about the steps to plan the party, set the theme and invite your guests. Now that you have set the stage, let’s take a look at the hosting duties for the actual day of the party in more detail. Ensuring that the little details are taken care of in advance means you and your guests will have a relaxed, fun, festive time at the cookie exchange.
Here are a few ideas to help make your Cookie Exchange Party go smoothly and keep your guests entertained.
- Before your guests arrive, arrange a table or two to display the cookies to be exchanged. Make sure there is good circulation around or in front of the table to avoid a traffic jam when people package up their cookie collections to take home. Decorate the table with a pretty tablecloth and add a festive centerpiece.
- Set up a separate table or other location for serving snacks and beverages.
- If guests will not be bringing their own containers to transport their cookie collection home, provide festive containers, boxes or cookie tins and stage these within easy reach of the cookie exchange table. You can even add nametags to the containers to keep them from getting mixed up before the end of the party.
- Turn on some seasonal music to play softly in the background to help set the mood.
- Even if you have asked guests to pre-package and label their cookies, create flat or tented tags with the names of each cookie and the baker and place them on the table so that as guests arrive they know where to place their cookies and also so that each guest can easily identify what type of cookies they are picking up without having to check the labels.
- As each guest arrives, arrange their basket, platter or container of pre-packaged cookies for the exchange on the table so that it will be easy for guests to walk around the table and collect the packages of each cookie. Place their plate of sample cookies on another table or in the snack area to be enjoyed after everyone has arrived.
- Depending on the time of day and the season of your party, you can serve finger sandwiches, light appetizers, cheese and crackers, fresh fruit or salty snacks to help counter the sugar rush, or you can focus exclusively on the cookies. You will also want to have some beverages, such as coffee, hot and iced tea, hot cider or cocoa – and don’t forget the cold milk – to go with those yummy cookies.
- As your guests enjoy the cookie samples, be sure to ask each person to describe the cookies they brought and share the origin of the recipes and any special stories or memories they may have about those cookies.
- After everyone has had a chance to enjoy a bite to eat and sample the cookies, let the exchange begin. Ask guests to walk around the table and fill their take-home container with a package or selection of cookies from each display.
- Depending on the group you are hosting and the length of your party, you can organize some holiday-themed party games for entertainment or simply allow guests to mingle and visit. Ask guests to share a special Christmas memory from childhood or a funny holiday story.
If you want to continue the spirit of Christmas giving beyond the party, ask each guest to bring an unopened package of store-bought cookies or canned food to be donated to a local food pantry. Or, ask them to bring an unwrapped children’s toy for donation to a charity collecting holiday gifts for less-fortunate kids. Another idea is to have guests bring an extra dozen cookies to be packaged up and taken to a local senior living facility to share some holiday joy. Be sure to check in advance with the senior facility to see if they accept outside food. Many happily do, especially when delivered in person or by a relative or friend of one of the residents.
How to Plan a Cookie Exchange Party