Have you ever wanted to host your own cookie exchange, but weren’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!
Today you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to throw a Christmas cookie exchange, cookie exchange rules, and get FREE PRINTABLE cookie exchange invitations, labels, and recipe cards!
How to Host a Successful Cookie Exchange
How does a cookie exchange work?
Guests each bring a certain amount of their favorite holiday cookies or bars, then exchange them with others who have baked their favorites too.
Everyone goes home from the cookie exchange party with a couple plates full of a variety of cookies, all while having fun hanging out with friends. It’s a win-win!
Cookie Exchange Rules
A successful cookie exchange party will have a few rules.
Rule #1. Cookies must be homemade, not store-bought.
Rule #2. Tell guests how many cookies they should bring. Set an amount that is enough for everyone to sample and take home, but not too much so that it’s overwhelming for guests. I suggest 3 dozen cookies or bars.
Rule #3. Let guests know whether they need to bring paper copies of their recipes or if they should email it to you.
Cookie Exchange Invitations
The holidays get really busy, so be sure to send out your cookie exchange invitations at least a couple weeks in advance.
Colorful, festive invitations are more likely to get a response, so I created some FREEprintable 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 cookie exchange rules mentioned above- the cookies need to be homemade, how many cookies to bring, and whether they need to bring a copy of the recipe or email you the recipe.
Make it Pretty
You’re hosting this cookie exchange party, so you want to make it look as amazing as possible!
For our cookie exchange, I bought some gorgeous decorations.
I bought a 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.
Be sure to stock up on paper plates and plastic wrap or reusable plastic containers with lids for guests to take their cookies home.
Plan Out the Appetizers
You don’t need to buy much food for your cookie swap. Since guests will be sampling lots of cookies and sweets, be sure to have a few non-sugary food items for guests to eat.
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!
Get the Christmas Cookie Exchange Party Table Ready
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.
It’s Party Time!
When the cookie swap starts, be sure to 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 (or a number works too for more anonymity) 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.
Collect the Cookie Exchange Recipes
Collect all of the cookie 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. They’ll be thrilled to have the recipes from all those tasty treats they indulged in at your party!
While you’re emailing, be sure to thank all your guests for coming and for bringing their cookies.
Here are some mouth-watering treats that would be perfect for your cookie swap…
Chocolate No Bake Cookies (only take 10-15 minutes to make)
Originally posted in December 2015, updated November 2018.