Cookie Exchange = More Fun, Less Work


The holidays are a magical time of year. Baking is just one part of the magic. A cookie exchange = more fun, less work!

More Fun, Less Work

If you’re like me, you tend to bake a variety of cookies during the holiday season. You will have to plan for and buy ingredients for these various recipes. You will spend days baking, cleaning, and decorating.

A cookie exchange is a much more economical, efficient, and entertaining way to achieve the same goal.

What is a Cookie Exchange?

For those who don’t know, a cookie exchange is a party where each guest brings a designated cookie creation. At the party, guests will exchange their cookies with other guests and come home with a variety of different cookies. It’s a festive way to gather with your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and/or family.

Cookie Exchange Guide

Over the years, I have both attended and hosted cookie exchanges. There have been successes and failures to learn from. From my experiences, I have compiled a guide to help you host a successful and fun event.

Keep Your Cookie Exchange Manageable

The more people you invite, the more cookies you will bake.

  • Twelve bakers is a great number – at this number, you could have each baker bring six dozen of the same cookie and they will leave with six each of the twelve varieties of cookies.
  • If you prefer to keep your exchange smaller, invite six bakers. They will each bake six dozen cookies and leave with six dozen of the six varieties of cookies.

Cookie Exchange Location

I typically host a cookie exchange in my home because I love to entertain. If the thought of hosting in your home stresses you out, here are some other location ideas:

  • Church
  • Community Center
  • Restaurant (check with management first)
  • Work – Break Room

 Cookie Exchange Invitations

  • Send out your invitations with plenty of time for people to plan, shop, and bake.
  • Facebook events are great for keeping your guests informed and organized.

Encourage Cookie Variety

To ensure that you have a good variety of cookies, create a cookie sign-up on your event.

  • Pin your sign-up on your event page so everyone can add their cookie creation and avoid duplicates.
  • Cookies aren’t the only confection appropriate for an exchange. In fact, bourbon balls, truffles, winter mix (bagged up into single servings), and dipped pretzels are perfect to add variety. Suggest these options to your friends that dislike baking.


It’s always nice to offer your guests something to graze on, as well as a festive beverage.

  • Some delicious and easy food offerings include charcuterie, cheeseball and crackers, crudité, chips and dip, and baked (frozen/premade) appetizers.
  • Mimosas, punch, water, and a hot cocoa bar are a few great beverages to offer guests.

Cookie Exchange Themes & Entertainment

Themes are fun way to add some holiday magic to your event. Some fun themes include:

  • Flannel and Frost – Invite your friends to wear their favorite flannel shirts.
  • Holiday Pajamas
  • Ugly Sweater
  • Winter White Party– Everyone wears white.
  • Naughty or Nice – Wear Red (naughty) or Green (nice)

Entertainment such as friendly competitions and photo booths/back-drops are always a great way to invite holiday cheer. Some fun competition ideas include:

  • Best Theme Outfit
  • Prettiest Cookie
  • Best Tasting Cookie
    • Vote for competitions via secret ballot
    • Provide cheap prizes like lotto tickets, holiday socks, dollar store trophies/badges
  • If you are inclined to include games, Pinterest is full of holiday Minute-to-Win-It ideas.

Cookie Containers

Think about how your bakers will get their cookies home. If they need to bring a box, let them know in the invitation. If you plan to provide a container/platter, here are some ideas:

  • Dollar Stores
    • Large plastic catering platters – party supply area
    • Aluminum baking pans with lids
  • Restaurant Supply Stores
    • Large cake boxes
  • Big Box Stores
    • Plastic cookie gifting containers

A cookie exchange can be as simple or as extravagant as you want it to be. My guide was meant as a framework for making your holiday baking more fun with less work. Pick and choose elements that work for you and omit the ones that do not. My holiday wish is for every mom to know that their efforts, no matter how big or small, are appreciated.

“As a grown-up I’ve learned that all the “Christmas Magic” I felt as a kid was really a mom who loved me so darn much.”  – Richard Dean