How To Host A Cookie Swap


A Cookie Swap (aka Cookie Exchange) is a great way to bring in the holiday season while getting together with some of your favorite people and sampling their treats.

Create and send your invitations.
Whether you choose social media or paper invitations, plan on prepping these about 3 weeks prior to your party.  Personally I like to go old school with paper invites.  I ordered mine through Vistaprint with a $70 Groupon voucher they had for $17 - not too shabby!

Cookie Swap Invitations

A good rule of thumb is to invite twice as many people as you think will come, because this time of year gets crazy!  A window of 10 days to two weeks is usually enough time for people to get it on their calendars before December fills up.

Ask your guests to bring cookies and a copy of their recipe.  I asked mine to bring 2 dozen and 20 copies of their recipe.  That seemed to be a good amount for the number of guests I had (about 12), so each had one cookie to sample and one to take home.  I've come across a few websites and blogs that suggested each guest provide one dozen cookies per guest in attendance - (for example: 8 dozen cookies for 8 guests) but that seemed like way too much work to me.  
One of my guests brought cookies from a local bakery.  I was thrilled!  Not everyone likes baking, but that's no reason to decline and miss out on the fun.

Decide what cookies you're going to make.  
Grandma's Shortbread?  A family favorite?  A healthy treat?  Something you've been dying to try from Pinterest?   Just make sure whatever you choose is something you're comfortable making and passes the test!


I made my favorite Soft Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies with Royal Icing.

Decide what other types of food you'll be serving, if any.  
Will your swap include a dinner potluck?  Hors d'oeuvres or finger foods?  Provide a couple of options while keeping it simple.  Two of my guests were on special diets and appreciated being able to nosh on the veggie plate and cheese platter I provided.  Another guest brought spinach dip and pita chips.


Some beverage options can include ice water, egg nog, cider, wine, hot coffee or tea, or if you're feeling really festive, a signature holiday cocktail.  Of all the drinks I served, the Crystal Light was gone first!

Setting up.
Set up a large dining table or several smaller ones.  Provide napkins, plates, and cups...whether it's your finest china or disposable paper products.  Put a simple centerpiece on the table, one that doesn't take up too much space to leave room for lots of cookies and recipes.   Provide display tags for your guests to write down the name of their cookies.
Queue up your favorite holiday playlist or let internet radio do the work for you.  Pandora's Holiday Station was mine of choice - and it was just right.

Provide packaging supplies. 
The main goal of the cookie swap is for your guests to take home an assortment of yummy homemade cookies.  There are lots of packaging options here.  You can go ultra fancy like Martha Stewart and set up a station with ribbon, boxes, tissue paper, etc.  You can use containers from the dollar store, Chinese take-out boxes, ziploc bags - be as simple or creative as you want.  I opted for dinner-sized paper plates and cling wrap.


One thing I wish I would have done was provided folders for my guests to take home copies of the recipes.  Next time!

Some additional ideas:
  • Combine your cookie swap with an Ugliest Sweater contest and provide door prize (like...a cookie cookbook!).  Ornament Exchanges or White Elephants are also a good way to mix things up.
  • Have guests bring a can of food or an article of clothing to donate to a food bank and/or charity.
  • Set up a cookie decorating station for the kids (or the grownups)
  • Assign someone to take photos of the table, each plate of cookies, and candid shots of the guests to add to an online {private} photo album and virtual cookie cookbook.


Moffat Family said...

i love this!

The Martin Family said...

Super cute! We are for sure doing this when you come back home!

kristen @ just-iced cookies said...

For sure! It will be a blast!