How to Host a Pinterest-Worthy Holiday Cookie Swap

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Whoever came up with the idea for a cookie swap at the holidays is just plain brilliant. The concept of going to a party with one kind of cookie and leaving with eight or 10 different kinds? This had to have been the brainchild of a woman who knew how to prioritize her time and manage her resources – and we love her for it.

Some would say the cookie exchange concept has been around much longer than expected, as references to cookie exchanges date back to the 1930s. This means – of course – that the cookie swap idea has certainly been around longer than our awe-inspiring Pinterest.

One click on Pinterest will show you a wide variety of gorgeous cookies that look like a Christmas display at Saks. The cookies are perfectly dusted with confectioners’ sugar and bursting forth from some of the prettiest containers known to woman.

How do you go about a holiday cookie swap with packages and cookies as immaculate as these?

Here are the fundamentals for throwing a Pinterest-worthy holiday cookie swap:


Invitations set the tone for the type of party you are hosting and allow your guests to get your event onto their calendars. It’s recommended that you send these invites out three to four weeks in advance, though sending them a little earlier certainly can’t hurt.

Cookie exchange invites can be customized and purchased through sites like Shutterfly and Etsy. They should include all the typical details, such as place, time and date, but they should also include a note for how many cookies to bring. Normally, each guest would bring a dozen of a single variety for each person attending, so if you have eight people coming, each guest would bring 8 dozen cookies.

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To ensure there really is a variety, ask guests to RSVP with the type they will bake. As an added bonus, request copies of recipes used to share.

Packaging and Labels

Proper packaging will not only ensure everyone walks home with a pretty package of cookies, but also that the cookies will be properly stored. Gather bakery boxes in a variety of sizes with plenty of parchment paper to help with stacking. Bakery bags with windows are perfect for showcasing beautiful cookies that may need to be separated from the others.

Finish off the packaging with ribbons, labels and/or tags and pens in glittering hues.

An Exchange Space

On the day of the cookie exchange, you’ll want to include a few of these tips for getting the space set for the swap:

  • Put on some music. A little holiday music will help get everyone in a joyful spirit.
  • Clear the counters. You’ll need plenty of counter space for displaying everyone’s cookies with room for packaging up the items.
  • Make space for food and drinks. There should be enough cookies at the table for everyone to do a little sampling. Have some milk and hot cocoa available with a few appetizers to combat the sweetness.
  • Take pictures. No party is worthy of Pinterest unless there are plenty of pictures taken. Snap a photo of your invite, your guests and your packages of cookies to compile your party into an enviable event.

Delicious Cookies

No cookie exchange is complete without a variety of delectable cookies. Not sure what to make? Here are some great ideas for cookies that taste great and will wow your fellow exchangers:

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Shortbread Bites

These adorable shortbread cookies are bitesize and feature green and red nonpareils. Easy to make with a high yield, this is a great pick for a cookie exchange.

Christmas Cookie Dough Truffles

Red and green make an appearance again in these delicious truffles. The best part? No eggs and no baking, which means you can eat the dough as you go and focus your attention on decorating these truffles into Christmas cookie masterpieces.


Sweet and spicy come together in a heavenly blend with this gingersnap. This cookie will have all your guests falling into a food coma of Christmas spices.

A cookie exchange is a great way to get your holiday baking done in no time at all. Gather your friends and enjoy an evening together to taste and sample all your great creations.

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