Karen Binder's 1st Cookie Exchange

Ballinger, Texas

I finally had my 1st cookie exchange this year and it was wonderful. I had been wanting to host one for several years and read every article I could about cookie exchanges, your website being the most informative.

Everyone I invited had never even heard of one and they were thrilled to be part of it. We had 13 bakers in attendance and 2 who could not be there but sent their cookies for exchange.

My wonderful daughter and 2 year old granddaughter drove 6 hours to be there to help me get everything lined up and keep things running.

We enjoyed a buffet of appetizers including a crab mold, crackers, sour cream nuts, tortilla roll ups, chicken salad in pastry shells, bacon wrapped water chestnuts, spinach balls, cream cheese stuffed jalapenos, peppermint mousse, fruit and fruit dip and punch.

When everyone arrived, my granddaughter, who was dressed like a gingerbread man, had a bucket full of cookie cutters and each guest chose one. Later they were to tell why they chose that cookie cutter and how it related to them. Each guest was also given a candy cane necklace and we played the "don't say cookie game".

We also enjoyed a game of Christmas movie trivia. I had plenty of prizes since I had been hitting the after Christmas sales for several years in anticipation of having an exchange. Each guest brought 6 dozen cookies and they went all out in their presentations. Awards were given out for best tasting, best presentation and most festively dressed individual.

After we gathered around the table for pictures, each guest told a little story as to why they chose the cookie recipe they brought. Then the fun began with the exchange. Since this was the first year, I purchased everyone a bucket to put their cookies in.

We all enjoyed going around the table filling our buckets with the cookies. As everyone left, I gave them a cookie cookbook with all the recipes, including the appetizers I served, and a handmade Christmas tree pin. I could not have been more pleased with how my first party turned out. Everyone is already talking about the cookie exchange in 2008.

Karen Binder, Ballinger, Texas