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A Simple Christmas Cookie Exchange

‘Tis the season to spread the sugar-laden love, and a simple Christmas cookie exchange is a great way to have fun with friends.

Nothing brings people together quite like cookies—especially during the holidays. A simple, well-executed Christmas cookie exchange isn’t just a gathering; it’s a joyful celebration of creativity,and camaraderie.

Best of all, you only have to make one big batch of cookies–but you’ll return home with an assortment of treats! Here’s how to keep things simple for this fun holiday tradition.

A plate of colorful frosted Christmas cookies ready to be swapped at a simple cookie exchange.

I once attended a truly overwhelming cookie exchange party. After laboring for several days over the required 12 dozen cookies and packing them in the requisite zip-lock plastic bags, I arrived and discovered that the seasoned exchangers had already ransacked the cookie table.

After several of them swooped in on my Molasses Crinkles, I surveyed the leavings:  a few well-fingered baggies of animal crackers.

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 almond macaroons in a serving dish.

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

How Many Cookies Per Person?

There are six people in our group and we all have families, so we each prepare 5 dozen cookies to swap.

If your group is larger or smaller, you can adjust accordingly.

5 Benefits of a Simple Christmas Cookie Exchange

  1. Reasonable quantities. Making a single batch of 5 dozen Christmas cookies is doable, even with a busy schedule. And five dozen cookies limits the amount of temptation at home, too.
  2. Off-site location. If you meet at a restaurant or cafe, no one has to clean the house.
  3. Plenty of Advance Notice. The girls in my group 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?

How about you? Do you participate in an annual cookie exchange? I’d love to hear about your traditions, so drop a comment below!

I hope you experience many sweet, joyful, peaceful moments during this busy holiday season.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites and 101 Things To Do With Bacon. She shares ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, time and money. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

4 thoughts on “A Simple Christmas Cookie Exchange”

  1. I like that idea – totally!! I’m trying to make enough cookies to give away variety plates and everyone keeps eating them before I can box ’em up!! Lol. Cooking lots of one kind sounds much more productive – and you still get the variety!! Nice. I have posted a couple easy recipes ’cause I’m baking-baking-baking this week!! and I like “easy” and Christmas-y.

  2. This cookie exchange sounds like a wonderful idea! This keeps so much of the burden of a gathering, and makes it a pleasant get-together with friends!

    Have a wonderful holiday!


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