To make this fun holiday get-together as easy and as stress-free as possible I'm sharing some tips on How to Host A Christmas Cookie Exchange.
I can't even tell you how many cookie exchanges I have hosted or been invited to.
Its never too early to start planning your Holiday Cookie Exchange and deciding on the cookie exchange recipes you will be making..
Especially if this will be the first time you are hosting a cookie exchange for family and friends. Let's get started!
How To Host A Christmas Cookie Exchange Tips
Hosting any holiday event takes time and planning. Hosting a cookie exchange is a fun way to celebrate the holidays with friends and family.
Plus you get to enjoy a bunch of delicious Christmas cookies and Christmas treats you didn't have to make yourself.
The idea of a Christmas cookie exchange is that each person makes one or two different Christmas cookies (you could make more) and each cookie exchange guest gets to take home a sampling of each cookie exchange recipe.
Pick the Christmas Cookie Exchange Date
Pick a date to host your Christmas cookie exchange.
More than likely you will, for the most part, be inviting close friends and family.
The first week of November is the perfect time to start planning your cookie exchange.
Keep in mind the month of December is a very busy month for everyone.
You want to plan the date to be close enough to Christmas that it makes sense for you and your guests to be enjoying all the cookie exchange treats.
As magical as a Christmas Eve cookie exchange might sound in reality everyone is too busy on Christmas Eve what with Santa expected to arrive and the family obligations you and your guests probably have.
I like to pick a date somewhere between the second week of December and the weekend before Christmas Eve.
This year a perfect date for me would be the weekend of December 10th or the weekend of December 17th.
These dates are close enough to Christmas but far enough before Christmas Eve that many of your guests will have the time to bake and come to your cookie exchange.
I like to host my cookie exchange on the weekends but a weeknight or day may work better for you. Plan you cookie exchange at a convenient time for you and your guests.
What to do in the month before your Christmas Cookie Exchange
- A month or more before your cookie exchange decide how many people you will invite. 10-20 guests is a good number. That may seem like a lot but remember that about half the people you invite will not come.
- There are always last minute cancellations because of sick kids and other family holiday obligations that always seem to pop up at the last minute.
- Pick a date that is not too close to Christmas Eve or Christmas Day because we all love spending the holidays with our families and have Christmas parties and other holiday events to attend.
- Gather any addresses you may need to invite your guests the old-fashioned way. You can use a real Christmas Cookie Exchange invitation (free printable) or set up a Facebook event.
- Although we use Facebook events to invite family and friends to some of our family functions I find that a regular invitation sent in the mail can add excitement for the event and is usually hung on the refrigerator and is a much better reminder in real life than a Facebook or other online event invitation can be.
- Decide what cookies you will be making.
- Ask your guests to let you know asap the name of the cookie recipes they will be making.
- Try to avoid similar cookie recipes so there will be a good amount of cookie choices for your guests to take home.
- Notify guest immediately if they have picked a cookie recipe that has already been submitted. Ask them nicely to pick another cookie recipe.
Decide on the Christmas Cookie Exchange Rules
- Decide how many cookies each person should bring. ½ to 1 dozen cookies per confirmed guest is a good number of cookies for the guests to be able to pick and choose from when it is time to go. For example, if 6 people have confirmed then each guest will need to bring 6 dozen cookies of each recipe they are making. Or 3 dozen of each cookie exchange recipe so each guest will leave with ½ or 1 whole dozen of each type of cookie recipe.
- Not everyone will like the same kinds of cookies and not everyone will take the same amount of cookies home with them.
- If it should happen that everyone wants to take some of the same cookie recipe home with them then there will need to be enough of each recipe for all of your guest to take some home with them.
- There will be sampling during the cookie exchange also so a large number of cookies will be needed from each guest.
Homemade Christmas Cookies only or other cookie exchange recipe options?
- All homemade cookies or a combination of homemade cookies, no-bake cookies or homemade holiday candies? (This is what I do for my cookie exchange)
- Since you are hosting this Christmas Cookie Exchange the rules are up to you. If you have lots of friends and family who love to bake from scratch you might require your guests to only bring homemade Christmas cookies to your cookie exchange.
- But what if some of your friends and family are not Susie homemakers or they work and just don't have time to bake from scratch during the hectic holiday season but you still want to invite them to your cookie exchange? No-bake cookie recipes and other holiday treats are an option if you don't mind that. Its up to you the hostess to set the rules for your cookie exchange. Make sure your guests understand the cookie exchange rules.
Easy Christmas Cookies for Cookie Exchange
- No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies: This easy no-bake peanut butter Christmas cookies recipe is delicious and easy to make. It has been around forever.
- No Bake Cinnamon Peanut Butter Cranberry Cookies: I've taken the No-bake Peanut Butter Christmas cookie recipe above and added a twist by adding some holiday flavors.
- Cherry Blossom Cookies: (the best cookie exchange recipe!) These pretty pink colored cookies are flavored with maraschino cherries and topped with a Hersey Kiss. I have to make these Cherry Blossom Cookies every Christmas no matter what!
- Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies: This is a Betty Crocker thumbprint cookies recipe I have been making for many years.
- Coconut Washboard Cookies: Coconut Washboard cookies is a vintage shortbread Christmas cookie recipe that you can decorate a couple of different ways for an assortment of coconut cookies for your exchange.
- Mexican Wedding Cookies: This authentic Mexican Wedding Cookies recipe is known by a couple of different names.
This is just a small sample of my perfect Christmas Cookie Exchange recipes. You can check out all my cookie exchange and Christmas recipes on my Christmas Recipes page.
Non-Cookie Christmas Cookie Exchange Goodies
- There are many Christmas goodies that are perfect for a Christmas cookie exchange that are not cookie recipes take can take hours to make. No-bake cookie recipes are perfect easy cookies for a cookie exchange.
- Christmas Muddie Buddie recipes, Chex Mix recipes, Candy Bark, homemade Christmas Red Velvet Fudge and this Million Dollar Fudge recipe that is even decked out in gold edible glitter would be a perfect non-cookie recipe for a Christmas cookie exchange.
- Easy peppermint bark, homemade Christmas Candy, pretzel logs dipped in chocolate and decorated with fun festive sprinkles, No-Bake OREO Snowball Cookies, OREO cookies dipped in white chocolate then dipped in crushed candy canes are just a few no-bake cookie exchange recipe ideas.
(affiliate link) My Homemade Holidays: 25 Christmas Sweets & Treats eBook is packed full of Christmas recipes that are perfect for a Christmas Cookie Exchange. Its available on Amazon.
Cookie Exchange Ideas
- Pick a theme for your cookie exchange.
- Start looking for decorations in the dollar spot area of Target or at the dollar stores. Or think about Christmas decorations you may already have that can be used for your Christmas Cookie Exchange.
Free Christmas Cookie Exchange Printable Pack is available for download!
You'll be able to download and print the FREE Christmas Cookie Exchange Printable Pack that includes almost everything you will need for to decorate and host your Christmas Cookie Exchange, except the cookies of course!
This wonderful Free Christmas Cookie Exchange Printable pack was designed exclusively for the readers of Flour On My Face.
I'll be posting more on each section of the Christmas Cookie Exchange printable soon.
Sneak Peek of what is included in the FREE Christmas Cookie Exchange Printable Pack
- Printable Cookie Exchange Thank You Tags so you can make a cute little gift as I did for your cookie exchange guests
- Printable Cookie Exchange Take Home Box Labels and the cute take-home boxes I made for my cookie exchange guests
- FREE Printable Cookie Exchange Round labels to label the treat bags your guests can take their cookies home in.
- Printable Cookie Exchange Invitations (coming soon)
- Printable Cookie Exchange Recipe Cards (coming soon)
- Free Printable Christmas Cookie Exchange Sign to frame and hang on the wall
- Printable Cookie Exchange Banner
Plan your Menu
- Plan to serve other non-cookie food items your guest will enjoy. Like dessert bars, apple cinnamon coffee cake or even Christmas cupcakes
- Beverages - Crock Pot Hot Cocoa, Crock Pot Pumpkin Spice Latte, coffee, iced tea
- Appetizers, crock pot Jalapeno Popper Dip, Crock Pot Caramel Dip and fruit dips.
- Crock Pot Meatball Appetizers
Two weeks before your Cookie Exchange
- Confirm with your guests if they are coming and confirm the name of the cookie recipes or treats they are bringing.
- Shop for cookie ingredients. Plan a day to bake or mix up the cookie dough so you can freeze it..
- Make cookie dough and freeze until a few days before the special date when you plan to bake them.
- Or bake the plain cookies and freeze until a few days before the cookie exchange when you can decorate them.
Start buying the Cookie Exchange supplies asap
- Gable Boxes or Containers for your guests to carry their cookies home in.
- I used these large 9x5x10 white cardboard Gable folding boxes for my guest to take home their cookie exchange goodies.
- You can see how I made my Christmas Cookie Exchange Take-Home Boxes here.
- Buy the supplies to make this matching Christmas Cookie Exchange Thank You Gift for your guests and hang it from the take-home boxes.
- Cello bags or zip lock bags for your guests to package and take home cookies in.
- Christmas Cookie Platters and inexpensive cake stands to display cookies
One Week before the Cookie Exchange
- Print out the Cookie Exchange printables and cut out or punch out the pieces that you'll need.
- Attach the round labels to the clear cellophane bags.
- Attach the Take Home Box labels to boxes or containers.
- Print out the Thank You Tags.
- Laminate (I love my Scotch Laminator!) the Thank You Tags for the Christmas Cookie Exchange favors I made as a thank you gift.
- Laminating the thank you tags makes the colors pop. Then you can cut them out and punch a hole in the top for ribbon you'll use to attach them to the take-home boxes.
- Make sure you have a large enough table to set up with the cookies and other food items.
- Borrow a banquet or card table if you need to.
Two or Three Days before the Christmas Cookie Exchange
- Bake and decorate your cookies if you haven't already.
- Set up tables and decorate as much as you can. It's better to start decorating and setting up early than to wait until right before the guests are due to arrive and you have to rush.
- Shop for any nonperishable foods like dip ingredients and drinks.
The Night before and Day of Christmas Cookie Exchange
- Prep any food items and beverages that can be done early, such as dips or food trays that can be made up and refrigerated.
- Put finishing decorations on any cookies that need it. Frosting and melted chocolate really needs at least 24 hours to set up and harden completely.
- Set up any decorations that you didn't do earlier.
- Place out your paper plates and cups.
- If making any crock pot recipes assemble whatever ingredients you can and put them into the crock pot crock and refrigerate so all you have to do it start the cooking in the morning.
- Get as much done as possible the night before so the day of your cookie swap you can add the finishing touches and enjoy your Christmas celebration when the guests arrive.
Day of the Christmas Cookie Exchange
Finish any of the above first thing in the morning.
If you finished everything except setting out your cookies and the Cookie Exchange food congratulations!
Pour yourself a mug of peppermint hot cocoa and relax for a minute before the fun begins!