21 Days Until Christmas: How to Host a Cookie Swap

The Countdown to Christmas is on—21 days until Christmas.

Day 4 of our countdown is brought to you by Cafe Mom. Need a coffee break? Play Latte Land, the new moms-only game on CafeMom, and run your own virtual coffee shop. Play Latte Land now!


Angie Six
Today’s holiday idea comes from Angie Six—yes, just like the number! Angie is a mom of two who never met a cookie she didn’t like. She shares her passion for her family, food, and photography through her blog Just Like The Number.


The baker in me loves Christmas more than any other holiday. Starting in early November, I drool over the holiday issues of all my favorite culinary magazines and their endless recipes and pictures of sweet treats. I’d love to make everything I see! This is a problem, though, considering:

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
  1. My little family isn’t that crazy about baked goods, especially when I venture out of the realm of cut-outs and chocolate chip cookies. Since they won’t help me out with the consumption of all those yummy treats, I’d be looking at a good 10 or 15 extra pounds by January 1st!
  2. I don’t have time to make 10 different recipes in the month of December. I love the idea of all that variety, but the process would surely kill me. So much for a nice, peaceful holiday with lovely memories for the children.
  3. The cost would be prohibitive. We make a point to budget extra in November and December for all the holiday expenses that add up, but there’s only so much you can add to the grocery budget. I’d rather spend that extra money on something that would bring our family together or benefit another family in need.

This year it occurred to me that I could have my cake (I mean cookies!) and eat them, too! I’ll be hosting a cookie exchange with my sister shortly before Christmas. A cookie exchange is a great way to have a frugal holiday party in which everyone goes home with something sweet.

The basic rules are like this: Invite a group of friends over to your home and ask them to bring along a cookie of their choice. Depending on how many people you’re inviting, you should ask them to bring anywhere between 6 to 10 dozen cookies. As a host, you provide the gathering place, drinks, and some light snacks. Everyone mingles and admires each others baking skills. At the end of the party, everyone takes home the same amount of cookies they brought, only this time they go home with a variety of cookies!

I’ve come up with several ways to keep this party fun but frugal. I asked my sister to host the party with me – it adds to the variety of guests (and cookies!), while at the same time we are able to split the party prep work and the expenses. Instead of providing costly packaging for everyone to transport their cookies home in, I’ve asked me guests to provide their own. Extra points for presentation! Lastly, I decided to hold the party in the evening, after dinner. A few light snacks and beverages will be more than adequate to keep everyone happy, instead of a more costly lunch or dinner.

The holiday season is full of fun, but it can also be full of anxiety if you’re constantly worried about money. Do yourself a favor and choose activities that fill you up without emptying your wallet. If you’ve hosted a cookie exchange yourself and have any tips or advice, please share! Happy Holidays!

Originally published 12/04/09

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