If you enjoy baking and giving homemade gifts from the kitchen but simply can’t find the time to make a variety of cookies, consider hosting a cookie swap party.
Hosting a cookie swap is a fun, and delicious, way to cut down on holiday baking while ensuring each guest takes home several dozen cookies of different varieties and flavours for gift-giving.
To get started, simply send out invitations, and ask that each guest bring enough of one variety of cookie to share with others. Inviting 8 to 10 people allows for a good variety of cookies to be shared. It’s usually a good idea to host a cookie swap about 5-7 days before Christmas so that cookies last for gift-giving. Invitations should be sent out at least 10-14 days before the swap party. The invitation should also clearly state a few rules about cookies. The cookies should be homemade (yes, made from scratch!) and reflective of the holiday season. The cookies should not be highly perishable, and burnt cookies are definitely not allowed!
Ask each guest to make about a dozen cookies for every person invited, plus an additional dozen or so, for sampling at the party. Also ask each guest to bring along printed copies of their cookie recipe and a few supplies to package cookies – ribbons, gift tags, and tins or boxes. Ask each guest to RSVP and send you their recipe in advance. That way you’ll know in advance if you’ll have too many cookies that are alike, giving you the opportunity to ask one or more guests to bake something different.
As the host, cover a large table with a festive table cloth and provide enough plates, cake pedestals, serving tongs, and containers for each guest’s cookies. Have blank cards on hand for each guest to write the type of cookie they have brought along with their name e.g. Peanut Butter Kisses made by Laura. Display each card, along with recipes, in front of their cookie. Alternatively, you can skip asking each guest to bring copies of their recipe by assembling and printing everyone’s recipes as a booklet for each guest to take home. Provide disposable napkins, plates, cups and cutlery.
Set up a separate table for packaging cookies. Stock the table with the supplies each guest has brought to the party. Plus, as the host, make sure you have extra supplies on hand. Some basic supplies could include tags or sticky labels, ribbons, twine, cardboard boxes, sturdy paper or plastic plates, parchment paper, scissors, hole punches, tissue paper, cellophane, and other festive trimmings.
In addition to cookie sampling, offering a variety of savoury food to offset all those sweets is a good idea. It doesn’t have to be fancy. A selection of crackers, cheese, dips, deli meats, or finger sandwiches will fit the bill. Don’t forget the beverages to wash down all those samplings. Some options to consider are: tea, coffee, wine, punch, hot cider, hot chocolate, and of course, milk!
And lastly, don’t forget to make your own share of cookies for swapping!