How to Host The Perfect Holiday Cookie Exchange

Host a Cookie Exchange

A holiday cookie exchange is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season. Everyone loves holiday cookies, and NO ONE has time to make all the amazing varieties and options available.

Here are some tips for pulling off the perfect holiday cookie exchange party:

Invite your guests

Start by figuring out who to invite. Because this is a party that requires participation, some people may be more appropriate to invite than others. Ask around and see who is interested, and who can make it on the date you are planning for. Then make up your invitations. You can get our free downloadable Cookie Exchange Invitation here! Isn’t it cute? Vanessa designed it for you guys. It is really simple, so print it on photo paper through your favorite photo shop, or at home, and type in or write in your details.

Cookie Exchange Invitation

Make the cookie assignments.

You can tell everyone to bring his or her favorite holiday cookie or you can assign a specific type or even a specific recipe.  I have found that it is always fun to see what traditional cookies your friends love. You might find they have a perfect recipe. However, if you want a wide variety, it is best to assign rather than leave it up to chance. Thus, at the very least ask what they are planning to bring to make sure there are not duplicates when making the invites.

A few cookies to include on your list:

  • Gingerbread cookies
  • Sugar cookies
  • Macaroons
  • Thumbprint cookies
  • Russian Tea Cakes, Or Mexican Wedding cake cookies
  • Sandwich cookies

How many cookies should each person bring?

Be sure to include on the invitation a number of cookies to bring. Assign the number in dozens. How many guests are you inviting? That is how many dozen cookies each person should make. If you want fewer cookies, assign half a dozen per guest, so if you have twenty guests attending, assign each person 10 dozen cookies.

It is best to have a pretty solid idea of who will be attending so that you don’t assign 8 dozen cookies to each person, and only have 3-4 people attend. Of course, I wouldn’t complain too loudly if I ended up with extra cookies, but avoiding holiday weight gain might be a bit more challenging if that happens.

Get the recipes

Get cookie recipes in advance so you can print out a recipe booklet to hand out at the exchange.

Have you ever eaten something you loved, and had no idea how to make it? Don’t let that be the case at your holiday cookie exchange. Instead, provide each participant with the recipes. You can print them on festive paper, or get books made. I love the idea of having a special book of cookie recipes made up. You can use programs like MyPublisher, Shutterfly, or Picasso to make great photobooks.

Set the mood.

A cookie exchange will be fun and festive, but you can really make it feel like something special by setting the mood with the following ideas:


It is a cookie exchange, so you could assign an extra dozen per person to use as the food, or you can set out not-so-sweet options like a vegetable tray, cheese platter, or finger foods. It is up to you.

I love the idea of serving milk or hot cocoa with some of the cookies. How cute would these milk bottles be?

Or these darling straws?

Make it pretty

Purchase a large plastic tray (from the dollar store) or cookie tins for each guest to collect their cookies on.  You may also want to buy plastic wrap and ribbon so everyone can bundle their cookies for transporting home.

I also love these:
Christmas Snowman Moose Set of 24 Round Aluminum Goodie Containers

Cellophane Christmas Cookie Tray Bags 3 Count 15.5 in. x 19 in. with Ribbons and Tags


Be the Great Host or Hostess

Visit, talk, laugh, and share. Don’t forget, even though the goal is to swap cookies, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun talking, laughing, and sharing your cookie adventures together.


We would love to hear about your holiday cookie exchange, favorite cookie recipes, or holiday party plans. Share them with us through the comment section below, or on Facebook.

About Rachael

I am Rachael, I have a passion for all things travel. I have an incurable wanderlust, and a need to see and do. I have four littles that call me "mom" and I am currently wading through the ever changing tides of parenting. I am figuring out what works, and what doesn't. And, I have a passion for food. In fact, I have an entire website dedicated to food I love to eat, cook, and try new things.

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2 Responses to How to Host The Perfect Holiday Cookie Exchange

  1. anne December 10, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    There’s some great tips here, I guess the pressure is on. I’ve never hosted a cookie exchange, so I better get my game on. :-)

    • Rachael December 11, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      Anne! I am sure it will be great. Thanks for the comment!