Tips for hosting a Cookie Exchange requiring pre-packaged cookies
Put together by Robin Olson on behalf of dozens of CE hostesses

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This will be my third Cookie Exchange. I have always had my guests pre-package their cookies in half dozen batches. I have them get creative with how they package them as I have everyone vote on the best packaging and give a special prize for it.

As guests arrive I have them put their packaged cookies on the dining room table. When it is time for the exchange I have everyone stand in front of their cookies and then move one place to their right. This is the starting point. Everyone takes a package then moves around to their right until they arrive back at their own cookies. If there are any left then they take a batch of their own. There usually is enough for everyone to take their own cookies, too.

The last two years I had everyone attach a copy of their recipe to each cookie package. This year I had everyone email me their recipe and I've put together a booklet of everyone's recipe as part of my take-home gift bag for everyone.

Beth  Smyrna, DE


Hello Robin,

Just read your newsletter about a packaged Cookie Swap. Some ideas, purchasing Christmas boxes after the holidays, some tissue paper, cookies and a holiday themed box top is a great way to package cookies for a swap.

Brown paper lunch bags, some decorating, cookie recipe on the front, another good way to package cookies.

Bargin shop, thrift stores, garage sales, you can find Christmas tins, plastic cookie containers, anything that you can clean and turn into a wonderful gift along with the cookies you make.

Hobby Lobby has "bakery" boxes in all sorts of sizes, some with windows. Prices range anywhere from 19 cents to 99 cents, depending on the size.

Another idea, stacking cookies between cut out tissue pieces and wrapping in plastic wrap, colored or clear, tying some festive decorations to the top of the plastic, even curling ribbon and tying the top. Punch a hole in your recipe card and tie to the ribbon.

Hope this helps! Having my first cookie exchange here in Indiana, where we just moved in August. Inviting new neighbors who are all new to a cookie swap. They're cookies will be displayed as they have never been to a cookie swap before and I wanted them to see how beautiful they're hard work looks. Plus as an incentive, 1st and 2nd prizes for best displayed cookies!

Hoping to get a picture to send you after the party on December 6th!!

Love your newsletter!

Nancy, Indiana


Good morning Robin

I hope you and yours survived the turkey holidays and are now moving full steam ahead for Christmas.

I enjoy your newsletter and website immensely – the buffalo chicken dip is a big winner at my family gatherings!

We have been doing a cookie exchange at my place of work for the last 10 years. One of the things we do differently is have our cookies already packaged and we generally provide ½ dozen to each participant instead of a full dozen. We have found that we get more participants that way. We also allow candies, fudge, snacks and the like since some of our participants claim they don’t know how to cook/bake.

All the participants meet in one of our conference rooms where we have tent cards w/their names already printed. Each person then deposits one of their prepackaged cookies at each tent card. Sometimes we give a little background as to where their recipe came from. Most times, other office activities prevail so we end up having to cut the exchange a little short L

In the past, we have awarded a prize to the person who has presented their cookies in the fanciest packaging to add a little excitement to the mix as well as having cookie and/or baking quizzes that award prizes as well.

Attached is the flyer we used for this year’s exchange.

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday season.

Mary E. McDonald
Washington, DC


Hi Robin,

First I want to say that I love your website. I am hosting my fifth cookie swap this year. I try to do things different from year to year to keep things exciting. How I do the cookie swap, is everyone brings 1 dozen cookies for each guest. I do have a limit of only 8 people which is how everyone likes it. Each guest puts their cookies into their own packaging so it makes it easier to take them home. I also have a contest for the most creative/beautiful packaging of their cookies. The ladies like it this way and everyone goes home with 7 gifts. Over the years there have been so very creative ideas. Everyone does bring samples to place on the table. It works out great. I place tables in my living room for the display and before everyone leaves, they just go in and grab their dozen(s). Every year I come up with different games to play for prizes, we play a dice game for money and we have done an ornament exchange in the past where we play the left/right game. This year we are doing a holiday lottery ticket exchange. Thanks for your website and keep up the good work. I look forward to your newsletters.



This cookie exchange is so much fun.

The way I do it is I have my guest fix a dozen homemade cookies for each guest that will be attending.

Cookies are put in cute Christmas bags, Christmas tins, Christmas plate and wrapped with a pretty bow,

or Christmas basket and wrapped what ever they want to do and they are also asked to attach the recipe to the cookies. PLUS they are to fix an extra dozen and display them on a glass plate /Christmas plate and

these are for us to sample. After all the fun and games we each get a dozen cookie from each guest along with the recipe. I have each guest call me and let me know what kind of cookie they are fixing so we don't have duplicate plus another rule is no roll cookie from the grocery store. HAS TO BE HOMEMADE ...

I catered for 11 years and my guest get a little upset to have to bake and bring something to my home but

they do and come and have fun.

I read your rules for your cookie exchange and yours is good but I like the idea of the cookie bagged / wrapped for the guest to take home .

Merry Christmas


Happy Cookie Exchange



Hi Robin,

As I am busy planning my 19th cookie swap here in the little town of Chapin, South Carolina (just outside of Columbia, SC), I thought I'd share about my 18 prepackaged cookie swaps.

I send out 25 invitations each year in Nov. I usually get about 1/2 to 3/4 to attend. 22 was my largest swap.

The girls RSVP by a certain date. (yes.... I do have to call a few each yr. that forget to call me by the deadline)

After all girls have phone called/emailed me whether or not they are coming, I add up all the "yes" responses.

If 18 girls are coming then the girls bring 17 cookie containers (dollar stores decorative bags, boxes, etc). You will NOT need one for yourself so that's how I got just 17.

Each girl brings 17 copies of their recipe on computer decorated 81/2 x11" paper. We keep our recipes in huge 3" three ring binders.

Each cookie container has the bakers name and cookie name on it.

Each recipe has the recipe name and bakers name on it, too. That way when you get home, you'll know which cookie container matches which recipe.

In each container, we place 6 cookies(1/2 dz). However, a few years we only put 4 cookies per container when the guest list got up to 22 attendees. Some of my "once a year bakers" would probably not attend if I ask them to bake 12 or so dozen cookies.

We also bring an extra 1/2 dozen cookies to place on the appetizer table to sample.

So... the girls bring their 17 bags of cookies. 6 cookies per bag. 17 recipes. 1/2 dozen for the table.

Some other examples with the numbers would be:

17 total coming.need 16 cookie containers. 16 recipes. 6 cookies per container plus 6 for table = 81/2 dozen total cookies to bake.

15 total to attend. need 14 cookie containers. 14 recipes. 6 cookies per container plus 6 for the table=71/2 dozen cookies to bake.

12 total to attend. need 11 cookie containers. 11 recipes. 6 cookies per container plus 6 for the table = 6 dozen cookies to bake.

Hope this helps. Email me back if it's too confusing.

Thanks for all you do.  Enjoy your site and newsletter.
Tami Ruczko


In years past I have had more than one attendee that brought pre-packaged cookies. When they RSVP they asked me how many were going to be there. My first thought was, "How would I know until the party starts!". But what we did do was "guess ta mate" how many would be there and add a few. That has worked well, and has allowed us to always have an extra tray for some one new in the neighborhood.