How to host a Holiday Cookie Swap + 31 Cookie Recipes (2024)

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How to host a Holiday Cookie Swap + 31 Cookie Recipes (1)

What is a Cookie Swap?

Cookie Swaps are a fun and frugal way to get together with friends over the holidays. Over the years, we have hosted cookie parties a couple different ways.

Traditional Cookie Exchange

For a traditional cookie swap, everyone brings 1 dozen cookies for each person that attends the party, plus 1 dozen to enjoy at the party. So if 8 people attend the cookie exchange, each attendee would bring 9 dozen cookies. The benefit of this type of cookie swap is that it is easier to make multiple batches of the same type of cookie than it is to make lots of different types of cookies, but when you leave a cookie swap you have a variety of cookies and plenty to use for all of your holiday entertaining.

Simplified Cookie Swap

With busy schedules, it can be hard for people to find time to spend the day baking in preparation of a cookie exchange, so many people have started hosting a modified cookie swap: Everyone one brings one batch of cookies (usually 2 dozen cookies). Some of the cookies are enjoyed at the party and the rest are divided up and each guest is sent home with a plate of cookies.

Holiday Cookie Baking Party

Another fun way to host a cookie party is to invite friends over for a cookie baking day. We have had a lot of fun making and decorating sugar cookies with friends. You can bake several different varieties or you can make several batches of sugar cookies. Rolling and cutting out the cookies can be as fun as decorating them when you are working with friends. After all of the cookies are made, you can divide them up and send them home with your guests.

Christmas Cookie Decorating Party

For a cookie decorating party, have each guest bring 1 – 2 dozen plain sugar cookies. You can also ask each attendee to bring a couple items to use to decorate the cookies. Here are some tips for decorating sugar cookies. At one cookie decorating party we each brought a different flavor of cookie, then we each took several of each type of cookie to decorate.

How to Host a Holiday CookieSwap

Decide what type of cookie party you want to host. You will want to give your guests as much advance notice as possible, especially if you are asking them to bring several dozen cookies, so feel free to skip formal invitations and use email, Facebook, or to get those invitations out as soon as you have picked a date.

When you send out your invitations, encourage your friends to bring cookies that travel well and freeze well. Ask your friends to tell you what type of cookie they are bringing when they RSVP, this will minimize duplicates.

Since your guests will be helping to provide the food, you will just need to bake your cookies and provide drinks. A Hot Cocoa Bar would be a nice touch, but most guests will be perfectly content with coffee or tea.

You don’t have to decorate for the party since your home is already decorated for Christmas. Just put a festive table cloth or table runner on your dining room table and you are done.

Arrange empty cookie plates on your buffet or table, so that you can easily put out the cookies that are to be shared at the party as your guests arrive. Put out dessert plates and napkins.

Decide where you want your guests to place the cookies they bring. Create a staging area for trading cookies. You may want to provide Chinese Take Out Boxes How to host a Holiday Cookie Swap + 31 Cookie Recipes (2)for your guests to easily package and take home their cookies.

Put on some Christmas music and enjoy a relaxing evening of cookies and conversation with friends!

31 Cookie Recipes to Take to a Cookie Exchange

How to host a Holiday Cookie Swap + 31 Cookie Recipes (3)

When picking out a cookie to take to a cookie swap, be sure to pick a recipe that travels well and freezes well.

  1. Turtle Cookies / The Kitchen is my Playground
  2. Anise Cookies / Bake Well Junction
  3. Chocolate Peppermint Cookies / A Word from Aunt B
  4. Hershey Almond Cookies / A Mitten Full of Savings
  5. Orange Pecan Cookies / The 21st Century Housewife
  6. Peppermint Patty Cookies / Sisters Saving Cents
  7. Molasses Crinkles / On the Home Front
  8. Red Velvet Cupcake Cookies / Pandora’s Deals
  9. Sunflower Seed Cookies / A Word from Aunt B
  10. Fudgy Cathedral Cookies / Girlichef
  11. Peppermint White Chocolate Chip Cookies / Gal on a Mission
  12. Country Raisin Gingersnaps / The Joys of Boys
  13. Christmas Chocolate Drops / Premeditated Leftovers
  14. Hot Cocoa Cookies / A Few Short Cuts
  15. Scotch Oatmeal Cookies / Mommy Hates Cooking
  16. Spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies / Zesty South Indian Kitchen
  17. Pecan Shortbread Cookies / Wine Lady Cooks
  18. Versatile Slice and Bake Cookies / The 21st Century Housewife
  19. Molasses Cardamon White Chocolate Cookies / Gal on a Mission
  20. Chocolate Haystacks / Premeditated Leftovers
  21. Oatmeal Cookies / Yesterfood
  22. Chai Spiced Meringues / Premeditated Leftovers
  23. Chocolate Expresso Snowball Cookies / Andrea’s Kitchen
  24. Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies / Premeditated Leftovers
  25. Pumpkin Cake Cookies with Maple Pecan / Miss Information
  26. Mrs. Claus Oatmeal Cookies / Premeditated Leftovers
  27. Cake Mix Gingersnaps / Modern Christian Homemaker
  28. Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting / Premeditated Leftovers
  29. Peanut Butter Cup Cookies / Steak N Potatoes Kinda Gurl

Are you hosting a cookie swap this year?

About Alea Milham

Alea Milham is the owner of Premeditated Leftovers and the author of Prep-Ahead Meals from Scatch. She shares her tips for saving money and time while reducing waste in her home. Her favorite hobby, gardening, is a frugal source of organic produce for her recipes. She believes it is possible to live fully and eat well while spending less.


  1. Tatanisha W says

    What great ideas!! I’ve never personally participated in a Holiday Cookie Swap but I am loving this idea.

    And thanks for featuring my cookie recipe for Hershey almond cookies.


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