How to Host a Successful Cookie Swap: Invites, Presentation, Recipes & More

by | Updated: October 13th, 2020 | Read time: 4 minutes

Holidays and cookies go hand-in-hand. But why spend time and energy baking dozens of different types of cookies on your own when you can host a cookie swap for family and friends?

A cookie exchange will not only net you a delicious assortment of homemade holiday treats to last well into the new year, it’s also a great way to enjoy quality time this season with those who mean the most to you.

Various Cookies From Holiday Cookie Exchange in Paper Box with Twine |

Looking for recipes? We thought you’d never ask. Here are three of our favorite cookie recipes to inspire and your crew:

Follow these simple steps to help ensure your cookie swap goes off without a hitch, and prepare to reap your tasty rewards:

1. Establish your guest list

You want your guests to receive an impressive assortment of cookies, but you don’t want to be overwhelmed in the process. After all, everyone (yourself included!) will probably have to bake around a dozen cookies per attendee, plus some extras for party sampling. Therefore, it’s best to limit your list to a manageable number—eight to 10 friends and family members are ideal. Otherwise you’ll be baking—and consuming cookies—for weeks!

2. Send out your invites

Whether you choose to use digital invitations or paper ones, send them out at least two to three weeks in advance so your family and friends will have plenty of notice. In your invitation:

  • Specify how many cookies each guest should bring. A dozen per attendee generally works well (i.e., if you have 8 guests, each will bring 72 cookies) but if your party includes over 10 guests, half a dozen take-home cookies for each may suffice. You can also ask guests to bring extras to nibble on during the swap.
  • Lay down some ground rules. Should the cookies be baked from scratch or will take-and-bake treats be acceptable? Must the cookies be holiday themed?
  • Ask guests to identify which type of cookie they’ll be bringing. If more than one guest claims a particular kind of cookie, ask if someone is willing to choose a different type. This will help ensure you’ll have a decent variety of goodies.
  • Also ask if anyone has any food allergies. This will allow you to make any necessary accommodations.
  • Request that each participant bring the following items: copies of his or her recipe, a tray to display the cookies and packaging supplies (e.g., decorative tins or boxes, ribbon, twine, gift tags, holiday stickers, etc.).

3. Create cookie cards

Don’t leave guests wondering if a particular cookie contains chocolate chips or raisins. Instead, create a decorative card to place in front of each tray of treats at the swap. On it, list the kind of cookie and the name of the baker (e.g., Melissa’s Magnificent Macarons). Want to score bonus points with friends and family? Also create a menu detailing each type of cookie offered at the exchange!

4. Put together a playlist

Create a playlist of favorite tunes to get guests in the holiday spirit during the swap. Be sure to include enough songs to last the entire party!

5. Buy remaining party supplies

A day or two before the swap, pick up beverages and some savory finger foods (e.g., cheese plate, veggie platter) to help offset the sugar overload. You may also want to get some pretty paper or bamboo goods (don’t forget the tablecloths!) and extra packaging supplies in case any of your guests forget to bring them.

6. Set up for the swap

On the day of the exchange, set out food and drinks for your guests to enjoy. Then clear off ample counter space and/or set out several large tables for friends and family to display their delicious treats. Also set aside some space for packaging the cookies. This area should include eco-friendly paper snack bags, scissors, tape and anything else guests might need to wrap their delicious baked goods.

7. Enjoy your exchange!

Get the tunes cranking and welcome your guests into your home. Explain the rules of the swap and show everyone where to set up and package their cookies. Encourage your friends and family to mingle and exchange tasty treats, and don’t forget the cookie sampling. You can even ask attendees to cast their vote for the best recipe! And speaking of recipes, be sure each guest leaves with copies of all the featured cookie recipes.

Craving more ideas? Here are 10 unforgettable chocolate chip cookie recipes.