C&H® Sugar Holiday Cookie Swap

Ready, Set, Swap! Baking and socializing are two of our favorite holiday pursuits. But as the season progresses and schedules get squeezed, it becomes just a bit challenging to play hostess. That's why we love the cookie swap, an easy and rewarding way to combine baking, fun, and gift giving. 

How to Host a Cookie Swap

At a cookie swap, you and each of your guests bake one kind of cookie—choose from any one of our delicious cookie recipes—in quantities sufficient to share with everyone else. Each guest leaves the party with a dozen of each cookie offering, ready to share right away or to freeze and enjoy later in the season.

Pick a date.

Early December is the best time for most people—after Thanksgiving and before the really busy holiday season begins. Choose a weekend afternoon or weekday early evening when everyone can spend about two hours chatting and nibbling.

Send out invitations.

Mail invitations out a month before your cookie exchange to give your guests plenty of time to schedule the event and do their baking.

Keep your guest list to a manageable number—large enough to enjoy an interesting variety of cookies, but not so large that you and your guests feel overwhelmed. Between eight and twelve people is about right.

What to Bake?

One way to organize your cookie swap is by suggesting a cookie category to each of your guests. That way you'll give everyone an enjoyable challenge—without being overly rigid—and you'll end up with an attractive array of cookies.

 

Rules of the Swap

Below are the basic rules for a Cookie Swap. Feel free to adjust them to best suit you and your guests. Include these in your invitations so each of your guests can follow along. 

BAKE:

Each guest should choose a cookie recipe and bake one dozen cookies for each invited guest. (If there will be eight guests in all, including the hostess, that means each guest will bring eight dozen cookies.) Let the hostess know what type of cookie you will be baking.

BRING:

Bring all your cookies creatively displayed according to the theme.

PRINT:

Guests should also bring copies of their recipes to share at the cookie swap.

SWAP:

Once pictures have been taken and you've had some fun, it's time to swap. Each guest will get to take one dozen of each cookie. Don't forget containers for taking cookies home! (Have extra take-home containers on hand for guests that may have forgotten to bring one.)

To sample or not? There's no rule here, it's up to you. Some cookie swaps encourage tasting, others are all about taking cookies home. Be sure, though, to provide light snacks such as raw vegetables, apple slices, or grapes. Coffee and tea are fine, but homemade beverages provide a special touch: Hot Mulled Cider and Spiced Cider Punch are the essence of holiday cheer, while Citrus Sunrise Cooler makes refreshing use of seasonal citrus fruits.

 

Cookie Swap Hostess Ideas

A Cookie Swap can typically involve close friends or family, but it's also a great way to gather with others that you might not get to see during the busy holiday season. It's also a nice alternative for exchanging gifts!

  • The Office Cookie Swap: Gather with co-workers one day after work to celebrate the holidays, or if you work from home, turn your cookie swap into an informal networking party.
  • A Block Party Cookie Swap: Invite just the neighbors on the block for a cozy winter gathering.
  • Class Parents: A Cookie Swap is a nice way to get to know other parents from school, dance class, or the soccer team.
  • Your Book Club, Knitting or Theater Group: A Cookie Swap is easy to organize when you have a group you already meet with regularly.
  • A Kids Cookie Exchange: A fun, creative activity to get the kids involved. Have the kids in class, or a scout group, exchange festive cookies instead of store-bought gifts.
  • Just Mothers & Daughters: A great way to share special memories for moms and their daughters, especially if you don't get to see each other often.

Step up the fun at your Cookie Swap with contests and prizes for things like:

  • Best Decorated Cookies
  • Best Cookie Display
  • Best Holiday Dressed
  • Most Original Recipe
  • Best Tasting Cookies
  • Funniest Cookie Story
     

Cookie Swap Theme Ideas

You may want to select a theme for the Cookie Swap that guides guests on how to decorate or display their cookies:

  • Winter Wonderland Cookie Swap: Lots of cookies in snowflakes, snowmen or sparkling like icicles. Everyone can dress in warm winter whites!
  • Country Christmas Cookie Swap: Think cozy and cute with lots of gingham and wicker baskets for display.
  • Oh Holy Night: Cookies of angels, candles and stars will add just the right sentiment to the season.
  • Babes in Toyland: In addition to a parade of toy-inspired cookies, have each guest bring a small wrapped toy to donate to a local children's hospital. Another nice way to have fun and give to the community.
     

Cookie Swap Display Ideas

Think outside the platter to display your cookies at the party:

  • Set out cookies in holiday wrapped gift boxes.
  • Use pretty jewelry or keepsake boxes to highlight your prettiest cookies.
  • Create a cookie bouquet.
  • Add height to your display by using tiered platters or stacked boxes.
  • Baskets sprayed with silver or gold make for a stunning showcase.
  • Think high-class by arranging your cookies on a piece of rich velvet or on silver trays.
  • Use beautiful holiday ribbon for added color if your cookies are simple.
  • Various colored tissue paper is also an inexpensive way to add a special touch to your display.