Ah, the annual Christmas cookie exchange! It’s a great time to catch up with old friends while nibbling on a delectable assortment of sweets. But with all you already have on your to-do list, the thought of planning a Christmas party may totally max out your stress level. Relax—there are lots of simple ways to make your gathering a success.
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Host your party early before the holiday rush. It will be less stressful for you, and it will give you and your guests plenty of treats for the upcoming office party, school function or unexpected company.
Give your Christmas cookie swap a theme. Ask your guests to bring only chocolate cookies, butter cookies, bar cookies or any other category of cookies you choose.
Label your guests’ creations. Before you begin sampling the assortment of cookies, have each guest label her offering so everyone knows who brought what. You can use plain labels or seasonal gift tags.
Make it simple but add variety. Adding nuts, jam, chocolate or coconut can turn a simple shortbread recipe into a wide variety of cookies. Consider providing a basic shortbread recipe to your guests beforehand and ask them to invent their own variations for your swap.
Take plenty of pictures of the event. Make sure you take at least one of each baker with her offering as well as snapshots that capture the fun.
Have your guests share the stories behind their recipes. Is it an old family Christmas tradition? Do they make it only during the holidays? Exchanging recipes along with their history is bound to be a great conversation starter.
Take and bake. Plastic presentation folders are an easy way for your guests to keep their exchanged recipes organized. Just slip them into the folder, slide on the binding, and everyone will have a booklet to take home.
Present awards for Most Decadent, Most Likely to be Kept for Oneself, Nuttiest or Chocolatiest!
Personalized containers for your guests to bring their cookies home in are a thoughtful touch. Cookie tins, small canvas bags, plastic buckets or plastic takeout containers work well. Line them with tissue paper and add a bow to the handles for a festive touch.
Finally, don’t forget the most important and fun part, sharing and eating!