My cookie exchange went very well last year. My friend and I were very 'anal' with out invitations which explained all the rules in detail (thanks to Robin). We had some offended people but why anyone would be offended by a cookie exchange invitation is beyond me! Anyway, we had no duplicates, no forbidden cookies such as sugar or chocolate chip cookies and we had a great turn out.
On our invitations we listed that we would have prizes. We included an RSVP prize in order to encourage people to reply, we also has awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place cookies. We also had a couple door prizes just for showing up.
Voting was done by having a table resperved just for tasting with each type numbered--no names were allowed and hostesses were not allowed to vote or compete. Each participant listed their three favorite cookies; I tallied and for the ties, my husband chose his favorite! We had tons of kids running around and a few husbands, too! We had special kid treats and toys so it went very well!
It went like this--
1) Gathering, eating, talking and catching up. 2) Explanation of the rules for the exchange. 3) Organization of cookies. 4) Arrangement of taster cookies. 5) Voting. 6) Award announcing and prizes. 7) RSVP prize. 8) Door prizes. 9) Exchange--this occurred slowly with one person leading the group around the table and only 6 cookies were allowed to be taken each time around the table. This prevented anyone from taking all of one kind. We went around the table until all the cookies were spoken for! People were very obedient and kind about this--no one was left out and we had few left-overs!
I have been approached already with questions about this year's exchange!!!!!!!
TEXTI hosted my first cookie exchange last year and had a blast! I plan to make it an annual event! I had 13 guests. No hubbies or children, and it was so nice to have some peace and quiet around here! I didn't play any games, but I gave away prizes for the Most Delicious Cookie, the Most Creative Cookie, and the Best Holiday Attire. For the cookie prizes, I monogrammed dish towels with "Most Delicious Cookie", etc. For the best dressed, I purchased a cute gingerbread lapel pin. I also got small little Christmas themed fingertip towels for each guest as a thank you for coming. I plan to do even more this year, and will let you all know how it goes!
I hosted my 1st cookie exchange in 2003 & started planning for this year already. I am inviting 35 woman & each are asked to bring 9 doz cookies; 8 doz to be exchanged & 1 doz for the "tasting" table. I went to my local bakery & purchased white cookie boxes (too much confusion last yr when the women brought their own containers).Each box has a name on it, and is decorated in the holiday spirit. I will put 3 of each variety of cookie in each bakery box & one dozen of each cookie goes on my holiday table. The table will have a holiday cloth, candles, centerpiece & many tiered stands (makes for more room on the table), baskets & platters ready for the arriving cookies. A $10 wrapped grab bag is requested & numbers are drawn. The #1 opens a gift, #2 has choice of "stealing" that gift or opening a new one...this "stealing" continues until the last gift is opened. We have lots of laughs when one gift keeps being taken over and over! We gather around the cookie table & first sing Christmas Carols> It is fun to sing the 12 days of Christmas, the women are broken up into groups & each group sings when its their "designated" day! We have lots of laughs when groups forget and jump in late...& I have a tape with just the melodies and I supply copies of the lyrics for everyone. I also request copies of their cookie recipes beforehand and make up cookbooks for each girl, & include recipes for appetizers served. I will serve baked clams, stuffed new potatoes with cheddar cheese, stuffed mushrooms, artichoke quiche, and various dips with crackers and chips and holiday punch & cidar. Dressing in the holiday spirit is requested and prizes are given. Each woman will leave with a cookie cutter and a cookie receipe wrapped in cello. It is an enchanting evening of friendship. It is lots of work, but well worth the effort. Remember to keep the holiday music playing, and organization is key if you have more than a dozen people. Have fun with it. Jeanne
I just LOVE your message board and website! This year will be the 5th year that my Mother and I have hosted a cookie exchange party. We usually have it the first weekend in December, on a Saturday around 3:00. We have found that this date yeilds the most people. It is also great because it makes us get the house ready for Christmas right after Thanksgiving!
I love the ideas for the invitations...I am usually in charge of that department, so really this is how I found your website. I usually just use a standard Where, When, How, and here are the directions invitation that I print up on the computer. I think I might try the cute recipe card idea this year. I find that if you do print the invitations out on the computer, if you print them on card stock, the invitation is much nicer.
We haven't put so many rules as I have noticed on the web - we do not say you can't bring this or that...and as a result, we have gotten some funky cookies....one year a lady broght nutter butter cookies she bought and all she did was to decorate them to look like santas. Ok they looked cute, but they tasted awful. We also have a hard time getting people to bring copies of the recipe.
Mom and I always give a little favor to each person that attended the party. One or two years we gave the cookie in a jar mix, one year we melted white chocolate with crunched up candy canes mixed in that had been molded in a cookie cutter (it was cute), another year we gave a cookie press. I think last year we gave out pear butter that Mom had made with pears from her pear tree.
We always play a number of games - which would be a good topic for your message board as I am in charge of those too...and it isn't always easy to find games that the ladies can play that are fun.
There is a great article about cookie exchanges in the Better Homes and Garden magazine ...Dec. 2004 issue about cookie parties. I saw it in the Dr.'s office yesterday and have to go get one!
I will save this website in my favorite places and be back to report on this year's party!
Last year with the help of your website I hosted my first cookie exchange. It was a great success with 12 guests and ALL brought wonderful cookies. I'm hosting another one this year and am getting a lot of phone calls; everyone is very excited and I expect to have even more guests.
I did come up with an interesting idea I thought you might like. Six dozen is the perfect amount for most people but I found that I was stingy with my cookies last year and scolding family members for eating too many! I was so worried I'd run out of the cookies that I made everyone afraid to eat them! So this year, I added a "double your fun" clause--if someone wants more cookies they can bring 12 dozen--six dozen of two different cookies. That person is allowed to take double the amount of cookies (sort of like an extra person attended). I just have to make sure that I write down who brings 12 dozen. I'll let you know how it works out.
My invitation this year was on gingerbread scented paper with a gingerbread house motif and the edges were perforated to shape the house. I bought the paper at Walmart for 1.69 (15 sheets). They were a huge hit with my friends!
I'm also giving a gift basket this year for the most festive cookie--I had Crate and Barrel put together a cookie themed basket in a nicely decorated box for only $20. It has cookie cutters, holiday towels, a reindeer decorated candy bar, and a snowflake votive holder.
Again, thanks for the great website with your wonderful ideas and guidelines!
My 2004 exchange has now come & gone. We had a good time and pretty good turnout. Had 2 girls cancel last minute Sunday morning, and funny thing, when I asked if they wanted to go ahead and bring cookies to swap, one hadn't even made hers and the other girl had finished about 1/2 of hers. Both of these ladies first time participants too.. Hmmmm,,,,, makes you wonder. Anway, as usual, some people went above & beyond on their cookie baking while others not so elaborate. We had no burnt cookies and most were pretty decent. A few were just not flavor combos to my liking, but that comes down to personal preference.
Thanks to your website, my friend Judy and I hosted our first cookie exchange last year. There were 10 bakers. We had appetizers and drinks plus a tray with samples of the baked cookies. Prizes were given for best display of cookies and best holiday attire. Unfortunately, I forgot to do the part where we talk about why we baked a particular cookie but we will include that in this year's exchange. We also had an ornament exchange. Judy got everyone's recipes and typed them on recipes cards. She used some kind of cardstock that had perforated edges which were recipe size and only had to type each recipe once and just printed them out several times. She then put each set of recipes in a small red stocking. It was a wonderful evening with just the girls and we look forward to this year's event on December 17th.
I also hosted a cookie exchange at my company. We had 10 participants. We did the exchange at lunchtime. We had christmas music playing and the conference room decorated festively. We ate pizza and drank pop. Each gal already had their cookies separated into large storage bags which saved time. We only had one door prize which was a cookbook and we gave that out by drawing a participant's name. The girls all enjoyed themselves and we are having another one this year on Dec. 21st and have 11 participants.
Can't say enough about your sight. Great tips, great networking, great cookie exchange ideas. I read in another thread that you would like pics if we have them of our exchanges. Is this true? If so, please advise how I should send them. Have some nice ones.
My sister and I just hosted our first cookie exchange. Everything went great. We used tips from the Web site thanks for the ideas. Everyone is asking if we are going to do it next year. We kept our appetizers simple ,just finger foods nothing messy. As our favor we had everyone choose a lottery ticket, out of 18 guests we had 5 winners. We had everyone choose the best display and best attire. We gave a cookie jar for the best display. We had a match the cookie to the name game we gave everyone name tags it gave everyone a chance to mingle and meet new people. Thanks again
My sister and I hosted our first exchange this past weekend and it was a big hit! We were a little unorganized at the start since eveyone in attendance had never been to a cookie exchange before but everything came together in the end. The biggest hit of the night was that we suggested eveyone come in their Christmas pajamas. Most women came already dressed and a couple changed after they arrived and a few were uncomfortable in their regular clothes. But best of all we were more relaxed and comfortable. And now everyone is talking about thier pajamas for next year and that is has to be a standing tradition.
Thanks for all the help that I received from your site.
I wish I had found your site sooner. I am hosting an exchange tomorrow and when I invited the ladies, I asked that they bring 6 dozen cookies (I invited over e-mail, probably not good). Sounds like and excellent number to me. Well my cookie exchange has been hijacked. One of the women said that wasn't enough and suggested that we bring 1 doz per person plus a dozen to share (a total of 10 doz). I personally thought that was too much, but she got pushy (others thought that 1/2 dozen per person was enough). Anyway I've lost control. The hijacker personally called all of the yes RSVP's and told them to bring the 10 dozen, but failed to call me. She sent me and e-mail saying that all was taken care of and everyone should bring 10 dozen - Well problem is my baking was finished and I only made the 6 dozen. Besides being angry and having my feelings hurt, I now am having all of these women at my house and I don't much feel in the "cookie exchange" mood. My one friend suggested this hijacker was just trying to be organized and helpful (believe me, I have 4 kids and am very organized). Does anyone have any suggestions for how I should handle this (politely)? or am I being to "sensitive"?
Mamamanda--I don't blame you for being upset with your friend. I would be upset with her too! That hijacker really put you in a tight spot -- now it will be tough to figure out the number of cookies everyone can receive if you can't bake another 4 dozen. I would definitely pull her aside and diplomatically tell her although you appreciate that her help it created a problem for you. If she isn't receptive don't invite her next year.
I had my exchange yesterday. I initially had 13 RSVP's but two people said they were sick, one had burned her cookies and the fourth was a no show and no phone call. So there was 10 of us and it worked out perfect. i made 12 dozen (2 different types) as did another guest. Everyone got 6 of each cookie and we got to go around the table a second time! The cookies were wonderful--the reindeer ones with the pretzels started to fall apart because they were freshly baked but other than that it was perfect. I will email pics to Robin also.
A sampling of the cookies: Ribbon Cookies (Cherry, Pistachio and Chocolate Layers), Raspberry Thumbprint cookies drizzled with white chocolate, sandwiched Christmas Ornament cookies with strawberry filling and a star cutout, Colored Macaroons, Reindeer Cookies, Christmas Package Cookies (box shaped shortbread frosted to look like a gift), Snowball Cookies, French Lace Cookies dipped in Chocolate, Candy Cane cookies (shaped like the candy cane), Cranberry Coconut Chews, Cranberry Ginger Cookies, and Christmas Tree Spritz cookies. YUM!
Everyone was already talking about what they are going to bring next year!
Mamamanda I would have called those other ladies because they might be feeling the same as you. How dare this woman over step. It's not like she is co-hosting with you.
Don't let her spoil the fun either. Have a great party and lots of fun so everyone will come back next year. I would also consider saying something to all those who attend (one on one) that next year you will not be asking for so many cookies. This will make them feel better and less stressed about accepting your next invitation. Also, consider NOT inviting this woman. Let her do her own party! Believe me when these ladies realize she was behind all those cookies they won't be going to hers. She sounds like a drill sargent!