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How to Host a Cookie Exchange

Frosted Reindeer Cookies
From planning to packaging, we’ll show you how to host an amazing cookie exchange party in time for the holidays. MORE+ LESS-

Baking cookies is fun. But sharing and exchanging cookies with friends and family? Way better. If you’re ready to learn how to host a stellar cookie exchange and try a few fun tips, you’re in the right place.

The purpose of a cookie swap is to share holiday cheer and let friends and family take home a nearly excessive amount of cookies. (We’re talking a couple dozen per person, if that’s how you want to set it up.) The party will be relatively simple: Guests eat cookies, mingle and nosh on more cookies. 

For the kind of exchange that will be the talk of the season, zero in on a few aspects that will make the biggest impact. Here’s what to do. 

1. Invite Your Guests 

Focus on what will shape the entire event: your guest list. It will dictate everything from how many cookies everyone needs to bake to how you set up your space. Remember, everyone will walk away with slightly fewer cookies than they bring (need to account for taste-testing), so decide on a number that seems doable. For newbies, this may be a dozen. For more seasoned makers, you may want to up the ante to three dozen or more. Just make sure not to overdo it. After all, this is supposed to be fun! Once you’ve settled on the details, send out invites ASAP; holiday calendars can get tight. Online invitations, like those from, are great for staying organized and sharing information, from what the rules are (homemade, no bars, etc.) to what cookies guests are bringing. 

*Party Extra: Create virtual party favors by having guests send their recipe with their RSVP. Then compile them into an online cookbook (we like those from Foodily or BakeSpace). After the event, send the link to everyone and share the recipes. 

2. Prep for the Party

Deluxe Hot Chocolate

The cookies are going to get all the attention, so don’t overdo the room decorations. Focus on providing ample space for displaying the cookies and making the tasting table super accessible. Make sure to have beverages on hand, too. Milk always makes a good cookie partner, but hot chocolate or spiced cider – or even a sparkling beverage – can add to the holiday spirit. 

3. Tasting! 

This is the best part. Everyone should be able to try a couple of cookies from each batch. While munching on treats, you’ll have the chance to show people your appreciation and have a little fun. Admire decorations, flavors and uniqueness – people worked hard on these treats! 

*Party Extra: Indulge in a little healthy competition by letting guests vote for their favorite cookie. Number each cookie, and use scrap paper for ballots. Then cast your votes, tally and crown the winner. Prizes aren’t necessary; the win is glory enough. 

4. Package and Exchange

Rubbermaid Square TakeAlong

After all the laughter and holiday cheer, guests will want to gather their share of the cookie bounty. Make it a seamless experience by posting easy-to-see signage listing how many cookies each person should take. Be sure to stock up on cookie storage containers, such as Rubbermaid TakeAlongs, for guests to pack up their treats so they stay fresh long after the party’s over. 

*Party Extra: Have a supply of colorful ribbon on hand to wrap up the containers for a final festive touch.

5 . Cookie Selection 

We recommend letting guests bring their favorite cookies, but it doesn’t hurt to provide inspiration. Here are a few ideas that are easy to put together but still look great.