A Christmas cookie exchange is the perfect way to kick off the holiday baking season! I’m going to explain step by step how I host a cookie exchange with my friend Melinda. Our cookie exchange takes the stress out and puts the fun back in a Christmas cookie swap!

How to Host a Simple, No Stress Christmas Cookie Exchange!

A few years ago, my friend Melinda asked me if I wanted to host a cookie exchange. She promised it would be fun and low-key.  I was a little hesitant, but knew if Melinda was in charge, it would be fun, and as promised, low stress!

Nothing says Christmas like White Chocolate Dipped Chewy Ginger Cookies 


Invites- Send out invites, Melinda is in charge of this. She uses an electronic invite. We keep the guest list to no more than 24. The guest list is comprised of people from our old neighborhood.  If a few people don’t show at the last minute, no big deal. If you want to invite less people, that works as well. I suggest the guest list  be no less than 10 and no more than 24 to keep the amount of cookies that need to be shared under control. Remember, the goal is to have fun, not get stressed about having to make 100 dozen cookies! We switch locations every year-  one year my home, next year, Melinda’s home.


Cookies, please- We ask that each person attending bring 2 dozen home made cookies. That’s it!  Most friends bring more than two dozen, because most recipes yield more than 24 cookies. When we first held this exchange, we asked everyone to bring recipes and we distributed copies at the luncheon.  One year I compiled all of the recipes after they were sent to me by email… that became too complicated and time consuming, and remember… SIMPLE.  Now we leave it up to our friends to ask the baker for  a recipe if they would like.

How to Host a Simple, No Stress Christmas Cookie Exchange!

Lunch – “Women cannot live by cookies alone”  is that a true statement??  Either way, we always have  lunch so we aren’t bouncing off the walls by the time our kids get home from school. We serve the same basic menu every year.  Soup, salad and rolls.  Our friend Diane graciously offers to make rolls. Melinda makes the soup and I make the salad. That’s it.  Pretty simple. I love this  Panera Copycat Cheddar Broccoli Soup and also Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice Soup!

Panera Copycat Cheddar Broccoli Soup
Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Set up- When the guest arrive, we all set out cookies on a big table or island. It is best if the table is easy to get around or walk by for gathering purposes. It is also best if the table is not the same table used for the lunch. We usually set up the cookie table, and then use an island or counter to serve the lunch,  buffet style.

I love these simple  made in a sheet pan Shortbread Toffee Cookies!

 Shortbread Toffee Cookies

Linzer Cookies are always a crowd favorite!

Pack it up- After we’ve eaten lunch, we pass out plates. Sometimes we go around the room and let people explain a bit about their cookie, other times, not. Each person attending takes a plastic plate (we usually purchase green and red dinner size plates) and assembles cookies onto their plate. Some friends just use the container  they brought to transport their cookies to the exchange. If we have 24  friends attending, we each take one cookie. After everyone has been through the line once, the rest of the cookies on the table are free for seconds or thirds.  We use gallon size Ziplock bags to cover our cookies, again, really simple.  Everyone takes home their plate of cookies and enjoys their dessert at home. Or in the car.  Whatever works!  I often freeze a few of the cookies I take home and share them on Christmas day with family.

The Coconut Cream Swig. Dream cookie.

Coconut Cream Swig
How to Host a Simple, No Stress Christmas Cookie Exchange!
How to Host a Simple, No Stress Christmas Cookie Exchange!

I hope this post will help take the stress out of hosting your own Christmas Cookie exchange. Remember it’s all about making a memory, not creating stress! An hour spent together with girlfriends eating, catching up on each other’s lives and sharing home baked treats will warm your heart and more than satisfy your sweet tooth! Your family will love the treats they get to sample as well. Stay tuned this week for ABK’s Christmas cookie extravaganza.  You’re going to love the new recipes shared from my Bountiful Kitchen!