Last week, I sent out a note to a few girlfriends:
Hi Ladies! So here's an idea - I want to have a cookie exchange! It's simple: make a bunch of the same cookie, package them up in little baggies or boxes of six, then come over to my place for a yummy ladies lunch (got kids? bring 'em along!). We'll all trade, nibble (cookies and champagne go together, right?), chat, and listen to terrible holiday music. Shall we say Saturday, Dec. 4th from 1-2 pm? Let me know if you're in - I'll get a count so everyone knows how many cookies to bring. :)
My friends must have been drinking the same Kool-Aid, because they were totally in...even when I told them that they'll each need to bring four dozen cookies. Ok, four dozen doesn't seem like a ton, but many of these ladies have jobs, school, babies, toddlers, husbands, and/or some combination thereof. Which is why I purposely mentioned booze in the invite. And hey, it worked.
It's so nice just to gather with the girls, we don't do it nearly enough. We talked, we laughed, we got Emily's car unstuck from the snowbank in front of our home. And yes, we ate cookies. It was so fun that I'm hoping to do this again next year. After reviewing some other articles about hosting cookie swaps, here are my lessons learned:
1. Lots of cookie exchange advice will tell you to have each attendee make a dozen per person. Depending on the number of people you're inviting, this can be extreme. Exchanging six cookies each is fine. I think five dozen would be the max amount I would ask people to bake (unless we were all retired and bored; then I'd double it, if only to give everyone something to complain about).
2. Ask everyone to pre-bag their cookies into packages of six, one for each attendee plus an extra six to nibble at the party. This worked great.
3. A meal is optional. I made a lunch with pasta and salad, but this could totally work with just cookies and a few non-sweet nibbles. However, I like having a few beverage options. We just had mimosas at our exchange, but next year I'll make coffee too.
4. Invite the kids. They set an excellent example of how to eat cookies with gusto.
If you've been to a cookie exchange and have some tips for next year, I'd love to hear it. In the meantime, wanna stop by? I can't eat these all by myself - but I'm going to have fun trying.