How to Plan a Christmas Cookie Exchange
How To:

Throw a Very Merry Cookie Exchange

A classic Christmas party is a holiday celebration that kids of all ages will enjoy. It gives parents and kids a great reason to bake together beforehand, and sending guests home with an array of treats reminds little ones that it's the season to share. Ask your guests to bring copies of their recipes to the party, so everyone goes home with festive ideas for new, delicious treats.

Three to Four Weeks Before:

Establish your guest list. After you've created your guest list, decide how many cookies you want each person to share (we suggest between three and six per guest), and multiply that by the number of guests. Don't forget to include yourself! In other words, if you're inviting five guests, ask each person to bring between 18 and 36 cookies. The number of guests will also determine how many recipe cards you'll send to each invitee.

Send your invitations. Give an estimate of how many cookies each of your guests should bring on the invitation. You'll also want to suggest that partygoers bring enough copies of their cookie recipe to share with everyone.

Plan a light menu. Plan on having beverages to wash down the cookies: milk and water for the kids, and coffee and tea for the grown-ups. It's a good idea to provide some savory nibbles to balance out the sweets, too, such as veggies and dip, a platter of cheese and crackers, or some pretzels with hummus.

Choose your cookie recipe. Try to choose one that's reasonably simple so that it's easy to share. Professional cook Amanda Haas has provided us with a few festive, fun recipes that you can do with your kids.

One to three days before:

Shop. Purchase the ingredients you'll need to bake your cookies, plus the beverages and snacks you plan to provide. Visit a craft store for supplies to make one-of-a-kind decorations for your tabletop and home. Looking for a few ideas? Browse our range of easy-to-make projects including cupcake wrapper garlands, mason jar snow globes and chocolate milk glasses with scarves and buttons. While you're shopping, pick up boxes, tins or containers for kids to decorate that they can use to bring home their cookies.

Decorate. Set up a table where guests can leave their cookies as they arrive – it will create a stunning display of delicious

baked goods! Arrange a kid-sized table where little guests can sit to eat and embellish their containers if you're planning our cookie-box activity.

Bake. The day before the party, outfit your child with an apron and spend a fun afternoon baking the cookies you plan to contribute to the exchange. Wait for them to cool and store them in an airtight container at room temperature.

Create your recipe cards. Copy the recipe for your cookies onto recipe cards to share with your guests.

Day of the Party:

Set up for crafting activities. If you're going to have kids decorating cookie boxes, set up a table with the boxes; some pre-cut construction paper Christmas trees, gingerbread men and snowmen; markers and crayons; glue sticks; and any other craft supplies you want to provide.

Arrange a food and beverage table. Make sure you leave plenty of room for the

platters of cookies your guests will bring. Set out beverages and any snacks you've prepared.

Turn on festive music. Nothing sets the mood for a fun holiday party better than some good old-fashioned Christmas music, so queue up some of your favorites.