A cookie exchange is a party to swap goodies you bake with those that other guests bake―so everyone takes home an assortment of homemade treats. Diane, Terry, and Lila have fine-tuned their swap. Here are their tips.
- Pick a theme to set the stage for your selection of invitations, decorations, recipe cards, etc.
- Ask each guest to prepackage about six cookies for other guests. Packaging can be as simple as plastic or cellophane bags tied with ribbon, or use boxes, tins, or jars. "This eliminates the hassle of partygoers handling the cookies, counting up the right number to take, and so on," says Terry.
- Ask participants to bring extra cookies for sampling at the party. Send a blank recipe card along with the invitation.
- Have guests drop off cookie contributions at the door, and then take samples and completed recipe cards to the party area. "Then," explains Lila, "I distribute the packaged cookies among the snowflake-decorated bags―one for each guest to take with her at the end of the evening." (Last year, packaged cookies were dropped off the night before so the hosts could surprise everyone with the staircase presentation.)
- Offer easy appetizers and beverages to enjoy as everyone samples the cookies and visits.
- Use your computer to make a recipe booklet for guests.
Pick Your Theme-Then Run With It
Our hostesses, with help from Janis Elchison, suggest these tips for pulling off the sparkly snowflake theme.
- Use blues, whites, and silver in shiny, matte, and textured finishes.
- Fill oversize glass vases with ornaments, gift tags, and fake snow to use as centerpieces. Purchase items at a supercenter.
- Decorate cookie sacks with snowflake stamps. Press the stamps onto a silver-colored ink pad, and then press on bags; let dry.
- Hang icicle wreaths, usually found at craft-supply stores, on the windows.
- Warm up these cool color tones with greenery. Magnolia leaves (a special order in New Jersey) were tucked among the sparkly decorations for that Southern touch.
"Cookie Swap" is from the November 2006 issue of Southern Living.