Host a Christmas Cookie Swap

If there's a dessert that speaks to the festive season, it's cookies. That's why cookie swaps are such a novel idea this time of the year. Not only is it fun to share cookies with friends and family, but you also get to leave with a selection of new recipes to try. Instead of waiting to get invited to a cookie swap this season, consider hosting your own. Keep it simple by inviting a few friends over for snacks, drinks, and some cookie exchanging and tasting.



1. Make a guest list: Most cookie swap hosts ask guests to bring at least a dozen cookies.

2. Create a theme: give everyone a more general guideline to follow—family favorites, quick-and-simple, or easy to freeze. 

3. Send out invitations: Emails and texts don't have the same festive feel as a paper invitation, which is more likely to earn your party a spot on your friends' full schedules.

4: Set the Menu. Some cookie swap hosts assign each guest a specific cookie (chocolate, iced, or butter, for example) or category (tray bakes, bars, no-bake)—which prevents accidental duplicates; others set no guidelines at all, assuming the surprise is part of the fun. 

5: Dress the Table: Show off the treats on coordinating white plates, or create a cozy, vintage atmosphere by using mismatched serving platters and cake stands. Include place cards with the name of each treat and the baker who brought it. 

6: Prepare Snacks and Drinks: Balance out the sweets with a selection of light bites, like a food board, a platter of fresh fruit and cheese, or some appetizers. Offer favorite winter beverages—think cider, hot chocolate, mulled wine.

7: Share the Recipes: Before the party, ask each guest to send you the recipe for the cookie they plan to make—assuming it's not a family secret—so you can provide copies for each guest. Combine all the recipes into a book for each attendee to take as they leave, leave a stack of individual sheets so guests can take only the ones they want to recreate, or print each recipe on its own card.

Your cookie swap is sure to be a huge success and something you'll be hosting every festive season. Since cookies are loved year round—start planning the next one so you don't have to wait another year. 


Stack of shortbread cookies on a round wooden chopping board. 

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