WHAT IS A COOKIE EXCHANGE?
Many would agree that baking is an essential part of Christmas preparations, but it can be time-consuming and expensive to create the variety of goodies needed for attractive cookie trays for your celebrations. A cookie exchange can be an efficient solution. Instead of baking 12 dozen different cookies, I can bake 12 dozen of my favorites and get 11 friends to do the same. We simply get together for an exchange and each person goes home with 1 dozen each of 12 different kinds of cookie.
DEFINE YOUR PURPOSE:
Do you want your event to have a social dimension or is it primarily functional? (i.e. get the cookies and go home)CHOOSE YOUR PARTICIPANTS:
I participate in an exchange advertised through my home school co-op. An email goes out to about 80 families and there are typically 10-20 who are interested. These are divided into 1 or 2 groups depending on the number. (Since we've agreed, we neither want nor need 20 dozen cookies ;-) It sounds a little anti-social, but we really do just trade cookies and go. There is lots of social time with this group at other events.
I know someone else who uses her annual cookie exchange as an excuse to get together with old college friends. It's the same invitation list every year and they have a high participation rate.
Co-workers, neighbors, and members of your parish could all be good focus groups for a successful cookie exchange.
It's very common to invite participants to bring a few extra goodies to serve with some tea or coffee during the exchange.COMMUNICATIONS:
- WHEN: Include date and time. If your exchange has a more functional character, be sure to stress that everyone MUST be on time. You really can't complete your trading until everyone is there. Social gatherings can be a little more relaxed in this regard.
- WHERE: Make it a central location with space to spread out a little.
- R.S.V.P.: This essential step will allow the organizer to determine how many cookies each person bakes.
- DEFINE WHAT YOU WANT PEOPLE TO BRING: Is fudge okay? Are chocolate chip cookies okay? Are bars okay? (For those of you who are not mid-westerners, bars are basically cookie-like things baked in a cake pan and cut into serving sized pieces.) My exchange specifies "something a little different than the usual 'brown & round'."
- REPLY TO YOUR PARTICIPANTS with the final number they should bring and remind them of the details.
- Choose a cookie, bar, or candy that stores well. Festive, colorful Christmas goodies are appreciated.
- Don't stress about duplication-
make what you love! It's fun to see all the creativity!
- Packaging: please put in re-sealable plastic bags, disposable plastic containers or on a sturdy disposable plate wrapped with foil/plastic wrap.
- Add a label to identify the goodies & include the recipe, if you'd like. You could also bring a few extras for sampling.
- Bring a large basket/box to carry in and out your goodies.