How to Host a Cookie Exchange in 10 Easy Steps
By Robin Olson,

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Description: Step-by-step tips for hosting a successful Christmas cookie exchange.

Harried during the holidays? Instead of baking numerous types of cookies during the month of December, try this idea. Bake six dozen of one type of cookie, invite your friends do the same and have them all come to your house and swap the cookies. The Cookie Exchange party is a great respite from all the hustle and bustle of the holidays. It allows you time to step back, take a breather and enjoy, by connecting with your friends and sharing some Christmas spirit

Make it your new holiday tradition!

1. Choose a date and invite 10 to 20 friends. The more the merrier, a lot of attendees ensures a large variety of cookies!

2. Choose a theme for your holiday Cookie Exchange. Example: "Must incorporate candy in the cookie", "Must not have chocolate", "Bring cookies from your ethnic background", Be creative!

3. Send invitations out 4 weeks in advance and ask guests what kind of cookie they plan to bring when they RSVP, to avoid duplicates. First timer might want to call and explain the concept to friends and family.

4. Ask each guest to bake 6 dozen cookies. List your "rules" on the invitation or extra page and specify if children are allowed or not. For Example: "Ladies only" or "Girls Night out!"

5. Remind guests to bring a large container to take their cookies home. Keep some disposable trays on hand for those who forget.

6. Plan on a three hour party, allow time for late arrivals, snacking, and socializing before starting the Cookie Exchange. Do as much pre-preparation as possible, Examples: Prepare snacks and appetizers a couple of days in advance, set up rooms the day before, plan party games, name tags ready, wrap prizes for awards, (Best Cookie Presentation, Best Holiday outfit). Sunday afternoons work well, during this busy time of year. Choose a date between the 7th and 16th of December.

7. Fill your home with the Christmas spirit, by playing holiday music, using scented candles or simmering a pot of apple cider with cinnamon sticks on the stove.

8. Organize cookies buffet-style on a festively decorated table. Before the actual swap, gather everyone around the table so they can introduce themselves and their cookie recipe.

9. Place party favors in a basket by the front door for departing guests.

10, Remember to take some pictures! Don't stress and make sure to enjoy your holiday party as much as your guests do!

Robin Olson started the Cookie Exchange conversation on the internet back in 1997. Widely known as the "Cookie Exchange Expert", Robin was invited to become a national spokesperson for Reynolds®Parchment Paper. Throughout the winter of 2007, she traveled around the country with Reynolds on a national media tour. She participated in interviews and promoted the benefits of using Reynolds Parchment Paper while baking. Through print, television and radio, Robin shared her tips for hosting a Cookie Exchange Party during the holidays and encouraged others to do the same. Robin was featured in the December 2007 Country Woman Magazine as well as on the cover. Robin is the author of the "How to Host a Cookie Exchange Handbook" available at Amazon.