How To Host a Christmas Cookie Exchange (+17 Tried and True Cookie Exchange Recipes)
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
How to Host a Christmas Cookie Exchange: Interested in hosting a holiday cookie swap but don’t know where to start? These hosting tips will help you plan the best cookie exchange party ever and includes 17 tried and true cookies exchange recipes and a printable holiday cookie exchange recipe card!
Best Tips on Hosting a Cookie Exchange:
Hosting a Christmas Cookie Exchange is one of those holiday activities that everyone loves. And why not? The option to do a bit of baking and then exchanging delicious cookies sounds like a legit way to get into the holiday spirit.
I love any excuse to get baking, but my favorite thing about a cookie exchange is getting to sample everyone’s favorite cookie recipes.
First of all, What Is a Cookie Exchange Party?
The way a cookie exchange party works is all the attendees (including the host) bake a set number of their favorite holiday cookies for the party. Then, at the party, all the guests divvy up the cookies evenly.
What’s great is that even though everyone only had to bake one kind of cookie, they go home with several dozen different cookies!
Depending on how big your cookie exchange is, you have the potential to net dozens and dozens of homemade cookies. I’ll say “yes” to those odds each and every time.
This holiday, YOU can host the cookie exchange! (I’ve done them in my home AND even in the office lunchroom!) Get your plans in place and host a Christmas Cookie Exchange for your family and friends.
It’s simple, and here’s how you can make it happen!
How to Host a Christmas Cookie Exchange:
You might be wondering, how do I plan a holiday cookie exchange? Just remember, before starting anything, a holiday cookie exchange is all is about having fun! (And getting a boatload of cookies, of course.)
Don’t stress out planning your party. The best aspect of a cookie exchange party is that they are low-key. Since they are for a short amount of time, they don’t necessarily require a significant amount of planning or preparation.
You just need a clean house, a few supplies, and a killer cookie recipe to share.
6 Tips to Make Your Cookie Exchange the Best!
Getting excited and ready to make your plans? I want to help you host a successful cookie exchange and have listed out my best cookie party planning and hosting tips. Don’t miss the best cookie exchange cookie list at the bottom of the post.
Let’s get started!
1. Think of family and friends to invite, and then email or message them to make it happen.
- Invite your guests about 2 to 4 weeks in advance.
- Isn’t technology wonderful? Facebook and email make it amazingly simple to invite guests over for a casual get-together. You can send email invites, create an event on Facebook or just message as a group and let everyone know the date, time, and place of the cookie exchange.
- 8 to 12 attendees are ideal for a cookie exchange. That’s not too many, but enough that you’ll still get a good variety of cookies.
- Request each person to bring along copies of their recipe as well as an extra container to take their cookies home in.
- If you’d like to include a link for a digital recipe card that your guest can print and fill out. I have a blank holiday recipe card available here.
(Don’t try to print the image, it’s just for show – click the link above.)
2. Specify Your Cookie Exchange Rules.
- How many cookies should you bring to a cookie exchange? The standard cookie request at a cookie exchange is for each guest to make a dozen cookies for every person in attendance.
- As the number in your RSVP list gets higher, you might consider lowering the amount per person so that everyone is not baking 10 to 12 dozen cookies. When the guest list starts getting closer to 10, 6 or 8 cookies per person is a great number. This way, everyone is sure to leave with enough cookies to last them through the holidays or to give as gifts, plus they’ll have the recipes to recreate their favorite cookie.
- You might also consider requesting an extra dozen for sampling and then maybe hosting a silent vote for favorites. You can even give small gifts as prizes to the winner!
3. What Cookie Recipe Works Best for a Cookie Exchange?
- The good thing about a cookie exchange is that they are supposed to be fun, just choose a cookie recipe you love. (or one that is simple.)
- Anything that tastes yummy is going to be just fine so have fun baking a cookie that makes your heart and tastebuds happy. I’ve gone home with many a cookie that wasn’t my fave, but it never hurt my feelings, lol. I just let someone else eat those cookies.
- In my opinion, sturdy cookies, that are not heavily decorated, are best for a cookie exchange. (Very thin or delicate cookies might break during transport.) If you choose to make fudge or another very soft cookie (I love fudge) make sure it is a recipe that sets up firmly and that you pack it properly so they won’t be smushed upon arrival.
4. Provide containers or baggies for everyone to take their goods home in.
- If you expect people to exchange and take home cookies, give them something to pack them in. Remember…the more people that you invite, the more cookies that there will be so don’t skimp on the size of the containers. Resalable plastic bags or disposable holiday containers work great.
- My cookie exchange pet peeve is not properly packing peanut butter cookies. Nothing worse than getting back home and discovering all your beautiful cookies taste and smell like peanut butter! So always provide extra sandwich bags for those that want to pack their peanut butter cookies separately.
5. Don’t Forget Drinks and Non-Cookie Snacks.
- What do you serve at a cookie exchange? Well, taste-testing all those cookies can be thirsty work, so you’ll want to have a selection of water, tea, milk, eggnog, coffee or maybe even wine to quench the thirst of your guests.
- A few savory snacks would be great as well to help your guests avoid sugar overload.
6. Set up a Cookie Packing Station
- Set up a Cooking wrapping/packing station so guests can box up and decorate their favorite cookies for quick gif giving. Consider keeping a few extra cookie containers on-hand for any guests who need more.
And last, but definitely not least, have fun!
Finding a way to get a ton of Christmas cookies to enjoy throughout the holiday season is totally possible with a Christmas cookie exchange! Who knows, you may discover a new love for a cookie that you’d never even given a second thought to!
Need some great ideas for cookies for your cookie swap? Here are some delicious and simple cookie recipes to consider:
Easy Christmas Cookies Ideas for a Cookie Exchange
17 Tried and True Cookie Exchange Recipes
Santa’s Whiskers Cookies are always a hit with the kids and are the perfect cookie for Holiday Cookie Exchanges! They are a soft, slice and bake cookie made with almonds, cherries, and coconut.
Peppermint Twist Cookies are easy to make and are a perfect Christmas Cookie Recipe for your next holiday gathering or cookie exchange. The yummy combination of sugar cookie, peppermint, and a Hershey's hug is impossible to resist!
For these pinwheel cookies, all you need is butter, cinnamon, sugar, and leftover pie crust. They taste just like a little cinnamon bun wrapped up in a flaky pie crust. Yout cookie exchange guests will love this sweet treat.
Make your own Lofthouse Sugar Cookies at home! These fluffy, cakelike, soft sugar cookies are easy to make and topped with delicious buttercream icing with colorful sprinkles, just in time for all your holiday parties.
These Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies are so easy to make (made with a boxed cake mix) and are a great way to use up those candy canes! Plus they just look so pretty on the holiday cookie plate.
With just a few ingredients, these White Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Cookies may be the easiest and most delicious cookies you make this year. Everyone loves them and they are a perfect cookie for cookie exchanges and neighbor gifting.
Crinkle cookies are a staple at any Christmas Cookie exchange. This recipe could not be any easier since it starts with a boxed cake mix and food coloring for the pretty green color.
These Pistachio Clusters just take a moment to put together, but look and taste amazing! Pack them up in a pretty gift box or mini cupcake liners for a professional-looking holiday treat or gift!
Eggnog Frosting adds a fun twist to these easy sugar cookies.
These Flourless Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies are a fun take on Jam Thumbprint cookies. They are low sugar and full of protein, so kind of a healthy cookie choice!
This easy White Chocolate Holiday Bark Recipe is made with a white candy coating (white chocolate bark) and a festive fruit and nut blend. It’s a quick and easy option for your cookie exchange that does not require turning on the oven!
Espresso Bean and Almond Chocolate Bark is another fun take on chocolate bark. The addition of espresso makes it a more adult treat and the dark color makes it stand out on any cookie tray.
You can never go wrong with fudge at a cookie change. this decadent from scratch fudge recipe includes marshmallow and gives the fudge a heavenly texture and flavor.
This rocky road fudge is a fun twist on your everyday chocolate fudge. It is made in the microwave and contains enough goodies to please the pickiest rocky road lover.
This Easy Peanut Butter Fudge is made with only 4 ingredients and can be whipped up in just about 10 minutes. It's made in the microwave and is sweet, creamy, and oh-so peanut buttery. You’ll impress anyone lucky enough to be given a piece (or two.) Peanut Butter Fudge is perfect for holiday cookie exchanges, trays, and gift-giving.
Small Batch of Sugar Cookies
If you prefer to make your sugar cookie dough from scratch, this sugar cookie recipe is great! Can be doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled, depending on the number of cookies needed for your exchange.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich
Fluffy buttercream frosting sandwiched between two soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies loaded with holiday M&M’s! Absolutely perfect for your cookie exchange.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Cookies (soft snickerdoodles)
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Cookies are an easy, tender cookie bursting with cinnamon sugar. These cookies make for the perfect Christmas (or anytime!) treat!
Mexican Wedding Cookies (snowball cookies)
Mexican Wedding Cookies are a salty-sweet, and buttery cookie, speckled with finely chopped nuts coated in a layer of powdered sugar. They look just like a little snowball on your Holiday cookie tray.
Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
Soft and sugary, Peanut Butter Blossoms cookies are perfect for any holiday. This classic cookie is loved by all and is always a hit at holiday cookie exchanges.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
No holiday cookie tray is complete without a chocolate chip cookie! These chocolate chip cookies are soft, thick, chewy, and sprinkled with a touch of sea salt to make for the yummiest cookie ever.
These Gingerbread cookies have a traditional molasses and spice flavor, a tender texture, and the dough is a dream to work with. No spreading in the oven!
Glazed Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Jam Thumbprint Cookies are a shortbread cookie filled with your favorite jams, then drizzled with a simple vanilla glaze. So pretty and make a great addition to any holiday cookie plate and are just perfect for a cookie exchange party!
You can never go wrong with the classic buckeye cookie recipe! These classic peanut butter cookies come together in minutes and are dipped in chocolate for a yummy shell around a creamy peanut butter center. If you have any peanut butter lovers at your cookie exchange, these will surely be a hit.
Enjoy your cookie exchange!
Cookie Exchange FAQ’s
How Many People Should I Invite to my Cookie Exchange?
8 to 12 attendees are ideal for a cookie exchange. That’s not too many, but enough that you’ll still get a good variety of cookies.
How many cookies should you bring to a cookie exchange?
The standard cookie request at a cookie exchange is for each guest to make a dozen cookies for every person in attendance.
What are the rules of a Cookie Exchange?
It’s your party, so you should set the rules, but some basics to go by are:
- All cookies should be homemade.
- Guests must bring the specified number of cookies.
- Provide a copy of the recipe ingredients and baking instructions.
- Some hosts could require all cookies be “christmas-themed” but I personally don’t think that’s a nessesary rule.
What to Serve at a Cookie Exchange Party?
- A selection of water, tea, milk, eggnog, coffee or maybe even wine to quench the thirst of your guests.
- A few savory snacks or appetizers would be great as well to help your guests avoid sugar overload.
More recipe round-ups here:
- Mostly no-bake, easy Christmas cookies for cookie exchange.
- 29 Delicious Pecan Desserts and Sweet Treats
- 27 DIY Pizza Ideas for Pizza Night!
- 21 Easy Soup Recipes to help get you through the Winter
- 29 Dinner Ideas from a Rotisserie Chicken
Don't miss any more posts!
Follow along on:Feedly, Bloglovin', your favorite feed reader, or signing up via email and have new posts delivered to your email box each week!
About the Author
Jamie Sanders is a wife and mom of 2, located in the heart of Texas. She founded Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom in 2011 as a place to share creative ideas and family friendly recipes. Her work has been featured on Martha Stewart, Woman’s World, HuffPost, TODAY, Pioneer Woman, HGTV, CNET, Good Housekeeping, Yahoo, Oprah Daily, and Redbook, plus many other publications. To date, she had given away just under a million free pdf sewing patterns.