Thank you Big Lots for sponsoring this cookie exchange + free cookie exchange printables post. All ideas and opinions are always 100% my own. #BIGDeal #CollectiveBias
Have you ever wanted to host your own cookie exchange, but aren’t sure where to start? A cookie exchange, or cookie swap, is a fun way to get together with friends while saving yourself some baking time!
Guests each bring a certain amount of their favorite holiday cookies or bars, then exchange them with others who have baked their favorites. Everyone goes home with a couple plates full of a variety of cookies, all while having fun hanging out with friends. It’s a win-win!
Step 1. Set the ground rules.
A successful cookie swap will have a few rules. First, cookies must be homemade, not store-bought. Some of my favorite holiday treats are Chocolate No Bake Cookies, English Toffee, Special K Bars, Chocolate Candy Cane Fudge, and Andes Mint Cookies. My mouth is already drooling!
Second, tell guests how many cookies that they should bring. Set an amount that is enough for everyone to sample, as well as take some home, but not too much so that it’s overwhelming for guests. I suggest 3 dozen cookies or bars, more or less depending on how many people are coming and how many treats you want everyone to go home with.
Step 2. Send out invitations.
The holidays get really busy, so be sure to do this at least a couple of weeks in advance. Colorful, festive invitations are more likely to get a response, so I created some free printable cookie exchange invitations for you so you don’t have to create your own!
Download the free printable cookie exchange invitations HERE.
Be sure to include the ground rules mentioned above- the cookies need to be homemade, how many cookies to bring, whether they need to bring a copy of the recipe or email you the recipe, etc.
Step 3. Make it pretty.
You’re hosting this party, so you want to make it look as amazing as possible! For our cookie exchange, I went shopping at Big Lots and bought some gorgeous, quality decorations for our cookie exchange. They have lots of pretty holiday and Christmas decorations!
I bought this lovely glittery deer, two snowflake marquee lights, two glistening Christmas trees, large silver glitter snowflakes, and more. I wanted my party to look light and airy and sparkly. I love that I was able to get all the decorations for a great price at Big Lots, and I love the way it all looked on my table!
Be sure to stock up on paper plates and plastic wrap too guests to take their cookies home in.
Step 4. Create the menu.
You don’t need to buy much food for your cookie swap, but since guests will be sampling lots of cookies and sweets, be sure to have a few non-sugary food items for guests to eat as well. A veggie plate, crackers and cheese, glasses of milk, etc. are all great choices to serve in addition to all of the yummy treats that will be there. Your guests will be happy for the variety!
This amazing homemade avocado cilantro hummus with veggies, jalapeño artichoke dip with crackers, and this pumpkin cheesecake dip with fruit slices are all delicious appetizers that guests will LOVE and that are so easy to make!
Step 5. Set the table.
Your invitations are sent, your cookies are made, you’ve bought your decorations, you’ve picked up some appetizers and drinks, and now it’s time to get the table ready for your guests. Pull out your matching cake plates, platters, and serving dishes for guests to place their cookies one when they get there.
Chances are that guests bring their cookies on paper plates, so having the trays and platters already set up means that the table looks a bit nicer, and everything is already set up and organized. If you don’t have enough cookie platters, cake plates, etc., be sure to ask guests to bring their cookies on a serving tray.
Put your decorations up around the cake plates and trays. Make sure to include decorations at various heights for more interest and variety. Garlands and greenery are always a nice touch for a festive table. Get more great ideas for decorating a holiday table HERE.
Step 6. Party time!
Have fun, relax, and enjoy all those cookies! To let everyone know who made what, have blank decorative cookie labels that guests can write their name on when they arrive. Have each guest place their card next to their treats for bragging rights.
I created some free printable cookie exchange labels for you that go with the invitation printables. Because I like it all to match!
Download the free printable cookie exchange labels HERE.
Step 7. Collect the recipes.
Collect all of the recipes from your guests either at the party or through email, whichever you prefer.
If you choose to have guests bring the recipes, have pens and blank recipe cards ready for guests. Yep, you guessed it, I made free printable recipe cards for you to download too, and yes, of course they match the other printable too!
Download the free printable cookie exchange recipe cards HERE.
If you choose to swap recipes digitally, send the recipes out to each guest, who will be thrilled to have the recipes from all those tasty treats they got to indulge in at your party! While you’re already emailing, be sure to thank all your guests for coming and for bringing their cookies, and tell them that you look forward to doing it next year.
Because after you’re successful cookie exchange party this year, you’re already planning out next year’s party, right? 😉 Be sure to shop Big Lots first for all your holiday parties and baking.
Here are some mouth-watering treats that would be perfect for your cookie exchange or holiday party…
Chocolate No Bake Cookies (only take 10-15 minutes to make)