A Simple Christmas Cookie Exchange

Christmas cookies at HappySimpleLiving.com

I once attended a truly awful cookie exchange party. After laboring for several days over the required 12 dozen cookies and packing them in the requisite zip-lock plastic bags (“for easy swapping!” the invitation said) I arrived and discovered that the seasoned exchangers had already ransacked the cookie table. After several of them swooped in on my ginger thins, I surveyed the leavings:  a dozen well-fingered baggies of animal crackers topped with canned frosting.

So you can understand my trepidation when several girlfriends invited me to join their annual fancy Christmas cookie exchange a few years ago. But these smart women have this holiday ritual figured out, and their execution is so simple and brilliant I thought I’d share it with you.  Here’s the gist:  we each bake five dozen of our best cookies and package them prettily. (I baked coconut macaroons and drizzled some with melted chocolate.)

Coconut macaroons at Happy Simple Living

Next—and this is an extremely important element of a simple cookie exchange—we meet at a great restaurant. We drink Mimosas, we catch up, we laugh, and we present each other with our cookies. Later we each return home with a stunning selection of five dozen fancy, delicious cookies like these:

Cookie exchange at Happy Simple Living

Here’s what I love about this newfangled cookie exchange:

  1. Reasonable quantities. Making a single batch of 5 dozen cookies is doable, even with a busy schedule. And 5 dozen cookies limits the amount of temptation at home, too (even though I’ve already eaten 15 cookies since yesterday).
  2. Off-site location. Meeting at a restaurant means no one has to clean the house.
  3. Planning ahead. The girls get the date on the calendar at least two months in advance so everyone can be there.
  4. Festive annual event. It’s important to make time for friends, and this gathering insures that we all get to see each other during the busy holiday season.
  5. Champagne. Need I say more?

I’d love to hear about your updated traditions, and I hope you’re finding simple, joyful moments during this busy holiday season.


The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S.  Have you signed up for the January Money Diet yet ? If you’d like to save money, reduce debt and spend less during the coming year,  join a group of like-minded people and commit to the ultimate financial challenge of eliminating nonessential spending for 31 days.

In lieu of spending cash, we find other ways to indulge, have fun and live large. Throughout the month, you’ll find postings with a variety of ideas, recipes, photos, links and tips to help you stick to the money diet—and pocket the cash. To participate, simply leave a comment confirming your participation and you’ll be automatically entered for a prize drawing of a deluxe prize basket at the end of the month. Here’s to a financially fit 2012!

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

A Simple Christmas Cookie Exchange

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