1. Keep the guest list small
I recently hosted a cookie exchange and after the year and a half of lockdowns, was really craving some company. So I invited all the neighborhood moms I knew. And they all said yes. We had 16 women attend, which mean if we all wanted to exchange 4 cookies, we had to make 64 cookies each! And I needed room to plate 1024 cookies in my tiny house!
2. Stick to cookies you know how to make
This is not a competition, and certainly no time to try to replicate the beautiful professionally decorated cookies you see in magazines. (I used to work on photo shoots for magazines, I know what’s involved with making those stunners!). If you have a lot of cookies to make, and like me, you’re short on time, you won’t have time to scrap an entire batch of cookies if they don’t work the first time. Trust me from experience here. A delicious no fail recipe is all you need.
3.You don’t need to serve a whole lot of other food
Something about the site of dozens (in my case over a 1000!) cookies just cuts everyone’s appetite. Keep the nibbles simple- some delicious crackers, nuts if guests don’t have allergies, maybe a cheese and charcuterie platter is all you need.
4.Give your guests something to bring their cookies home in
This is a fun opportunity to dress up a plain box with some tissue paper, maybe some scrapbooking stickers. Give everyone their box so that they can bring all those delicious cookies home to their families, or freeze them until they need them over the holidays!
5.Label the cookies
With so many food intolerances these days, it’s a good idea to provide a label, or little easel (you can buy cheap ones at Michaels) with the name of the cookies, maybe the name of the person that made it, and any allergens. In my case, my husband and son are allergic to nuts, so I kept the nuts cookies in a different room and asked everyone to help themselves to the non nut cookies first to avoid contamination.
6.Consider making a cookbook of cookie recipes
Take photos of the cookies and guests throughout the evening, then ask your guests if they are comfortable sharing their recipe. You can then make a holiday cookie recipe cookbook to give to your friends as a surprise holiday gift after the event! A little cookbook with color photos will cost less than $10 to make, and commemorate a very special evening!