I mentioned in my holiday wrap-up that I hosted my first-ever cookie exchange party on December 8. Have you ever attended – or hosted – one of these? I hadn’t attended one for many years – and had never hosted one before. I will just say, it was about as stress-free (for me) as I could possibly make it, and that was my goal – I didn’t want to create a monster! Everyone had a great time, including myself.
Generally, a cookie swap party is where guests bring a TON of their favorite homemade cookie to share, and everyone goes around the table collecting up massive amounts of all the cookies to take home and/or give as gifts. This requires guests to bring anywhere from six to nine dozen cookies apiece – at least, that’s what I’ve read. I wasn’t really comfortable asking guests to make nine dozen cookies – it just seemed like a huge time commitment, in addition to attending the party, at a very busy time of year. So, my party was more of a cookie sampling recipe exchange than an actual cookie swap. Although as it turned out, there were plenty of cookies for each guest to take home a plate full!
Here’s me (second from left) and my guests – Shirley, Val, Molly, Penney & Vicki:
I chose a Sunday early in December for my party – I wanted everyone to have time to make the cookies they’d sampled, in their own holiday baking. Each guest was asked to bring 3 dozen cookies, homemade and “holiday special,” along with 12 copies of their recipe to share. I also asked each guest to be sure to RSVP by a certain date so I could plan for the right numbers.
As they arrived we set their cookies on pretty plates and platters on the cookie table. As a kick-off to the party, we played a memory game where each guest introduced herself and talked about the cookies she brought – then guests had to match up each person with their cookies on a scorecard. Following this game, we sampled all the cookies and chatted about the merits and challenges of each one – we had Oreo Balls (aka “Chocolate Salty Balls,” Coffee Cookies, Alfajores, Easy Peanut Butter cookies, Gum Drop cookies, and Pretzel Turtles.
We also played my own original game, “Christmas Movie Mix-Up.” For this game I wrote one-sentence summaries of the plots of 8 Christmas Movies, and they had to guess the movie name based on the plot summary.
The final game was “Who’s Going to Make It Up the Street in the Snow,” because, being Iowa in December, it had started snowing early in the morning! Fortunately this didn’t keep anyone from attending, but by the time the party ended we had a couple inches of it to contend with. Fortunately everyone won this game and made it home safely.
In all the day ended up full of fun, friends, and winter beauty. I’m SO glad I did it, and will definitely be hosting another cookie party in 2014!