Monday, November 22, 2010

How to Throw a Holiday Cookie Exchange Party - Decoration Ideas, Printable Recipe Card and More

Holiday Gingerbread Cookie Exchange Party Invitation by B.Nute productions on Etsy
Are you looking for a way to spend a little quality time with your friends this holiday? Want to host a party, but worried it will be a lot of work. Well, stop fretting. Here's a party perfect for you -- host a Holiday Cookie Exchange Party where much of the work is done by all the guests, since everyone brings cookies to share! Here are more details on how to throw a cookie exchange party...

First off, a little inspiration-- cookies, of course!

Give Your Guests a Cookie Theme
The first thing that needs to happen for a Cookie Exchange party is to let each guest know that they need to bring some cookies to the party, of course! Have them bring about twice as many cookies as guests, so when making their cookie box to take home, each guest can take approximately 2 of each kind. You can tell your guests to make whatever type of cookie they like, or you can give them a theme. Here are some cookie theme ideas:

  • Make an old family favorite cookie recipe - perhaps from mom, grandma, or great-grandmother. Do some research on this one, and have fun!
  • Make a "retro" cookie that you remember when you were a child, or perhaps your mom used to make... you know the kinds, the cookies with potato chips added for extra crunch, or how about Hay Stacks with chow mein noodles!
  • Make a traditional cookie recipe from another country - you could assign your guests a country, or have them pick their own.
  • Make a kids favorite cookie recipe- Good ol'chocolate chip or rice krispy treats are always tasty!
  • Make only chocolate delights - This could be fudge, or chocolate dipped oreos... any recipe with chocolate will do!
Tell a Story
We all have stories to tell about cooking-- with mom, with grandmom, or perhaps with your babysitter when you were young! As an extra to the evening, ask your guests to not only bring cookies to share, but also have them prepare a story to tell why they made that specific recipe. When all are gathered, go around the room and have everyone share their stories. The stories may be funny, or touching... and it's sure to give a little insight or glimpse into the lives of the other guests.

Sample and Grade
Once the party has begun, and folks have had a chance to mingle a bit... gather everyone around the table or tables with cookies and let the sampling begin! You could have a taste test, where everyone picks their favorite cookie. Perhaps the winner could receive a prize, like a new cookie tray, or apron!

Recipe Swap
Folks will love sampling all the different cookies, and will inevitably want the recipe. Make sure to have everyone bring a copy of the recipe to the party, so they can swap after tasting. Set out a stack of blank recipe cards and pens, and let folks copy the recipe next to the cookie they like. When they leave, they may have a stack of new recipes to try at home.

Fill Your Own Cookie Box
One of the best parts of this party is everyone leaves with a delicious goodie bag! Have "take out" bags or cookie boxes ready for folks to load up and take home. I love these cookie boxes from Candy Soiree... so vintage and fun! Add some colorful bakers twine for them to wrap the box once it's full, for an old fashioned touch!

More Activity Ideas at Your Cookie Exchange Party
Still want more ideas of things to do at your cookie exchange party? Here are a few more fun activities friends will love to do!

Decorate an Apron
Head over to your local craft store and pick up a bunch of plain canvas aprons for the guests to decorate. Set out on a table a couple glue guns and loads of trimmings: pom pons, beads, ric rac, etc. Also have available fabric swatches (possibly to make patches), and fabric paints for decorating the apron. Have the cookie theme be inspiration for the designs that can be made-- or perhaps fill the apron with images of all things good to eat-- cookies, cupcakes, pies and more! Give a prize to the best decorated apron with a gift certificate at a cooking store, or possibly a dinner out (so the new apron can have a "rest")!

Make Cookie Cutter Ornaments
An easy project, with a great final look-- set out many sheets of decorative papers, and holiday cookie ornaments. Holding the ornament in place, trace the outside edge. Use scissors to cut out the paper in the cookie cutter shape. With a glue gun, attach the paper to one side of the ornament. Now dab a little glue on the top and add a ribbon to hang. A great addition to your holiday tree. Here are more detailed instructions for making a cookie cutter ornament from Martha Stewart.