How to host a Cookie Exchange {CCC}

**UPDATE: Find a whole set of FREE printables to host your own cookie swap HERE.
Hi! I’m Kyla from Funky PolkaDot Giraffe!
I’m excited to be here sharing one of my
favorite holiday traditions with you
hosting a cookie exchange!cookie-exchange.jpg
(Rules found HERE)
When I first entertained the idea of doing a cookie exchange,
I didn’t realize that it would be such a big ordeal.
I started researching cookie exchanges and found
out that there have even been books written on the topic!
So, I’m sharing with you some things to think about when
organizing your own cookie exchange.The first thing you have to do to host a cookie exchange is to
decide on what rules and guidelines you want for your exchange.
{ What is a cookie exchange ? }

Ask yourself these questions:
  • Do I want this to strictly be a cookie exchange, or am I fine with all homemade treats?

I wanted mine to be strictly a cookie exchange, so I specified as such in the invitation
and I also excluded no bakes and mixes.
I wanted homemade cookies, not lemon bars or chocolates,
but if you want it to be a Christmas Goodie exchange, that is awesome.
I found you have to be SUPER SPECIFIC in the rules as to what you want
or the ladies will try to weasel around them :)


  • Do I want the treats to be baked?

I specified that I wanted all the cookies to be baked
and that the main ingredient must be flour.
I know, picky, picky.
But I made this rule because I didn’t want someone slaving away
over something like rolled, cut, and decorated cookies
while someone just used a no bake recipe.
I wanted everyone to come away with several dozen
homemade cookies that they would be proud to give away to friends.

  • Will I allow for duplicates?

For voting purposes I don’t allow for duplicates.
The first person to email me and dibs their cookie is the winner.
However, I’ve never had 2 people want to do the same cookie,
but I’ve also only been doing this for going on three years :)



  • How many cookies do I want each person to take home?

The first year I had each person bring a dozen per guest.
It was a lot of cookies to make and it made me keep the
guest list really small. Plus, I forgot to include
the cookies that would be eaten so we could vote for our favorite.
The second year I took it down to a half dozen per guest,
plus a dozen for tasting/sharing at the party.
It allowed me to invite more people, without
increasing the amount of cookies exponentially :)

  • Will there be prizes? What will they be for?
This is a {HECK YES!} in my book!
Girls like to win and especially like to be told
that their baking skills are awesome :)
I have a winner for the Prettiest Cookie, Fan Favorite, Best Display,
and most festively dressed.
The Fan Favorite always wins a handmade apron.
I’m hoping this year to make one for all of the winners.
I saw one cookie exchange where she made aprons for everyone
that came. I thought that was awesome.
  • Will it just be a cookie exchange? Do I want to have any other activities or food that night?
The first year I just had a straight up cookie exchange.
No other food. No other games.
The second year I got fancy and did a handmade gift exchange
the same night.
Everyone brought a wrapped handmade gift and we played
that white elephant type game with the dice and timer.
It was a lot of fun and it was fun to see what everyone brought.
I also served a few savory snacks and drinks.
Just advise your guests not to eat before they come.
Between the cookie tasting and the snacks,
they’re sure to roll out of your house :)
  • Who will I invite?
This is super hard for me.
I have several groups of friends.
Friends from where I used to live, friends where I live currently,
friends from church, family, long time family friends, blogging friends.
I had to ask myself what was the maximum number of people
I was going to invite and figure out a good mix of people
from each group so that no one feels alone or left out.
I have lucked out that both years have gone really well
and the mix of people was just right.
The first year I had 6 guests plus myself.
Last year I had 12 guests plus myself.
I don’t think that I would ever do more than 12.cookie-exchange.jpg
  • What does someone do if their cookies burn or the recipe doesn’t work out?
Let’s face it, sometimes things just go wrong and you
have to have a plan for your guests if something doesn’t work out.
My rules state that if you don’t have time to bake or you
burn your cookies you have to go to a real bakery and buy
real homemade cookies.
I know it’s hard nosed, but it’s just not fair to the rest
of the group if you show up with store bought cookies.
However, I will accept Costco cookies because you can
see them baking those in the back :)cookie-exchange.jpg

  • Will you have everyone exchange recipes?


Again, I vote yes! I encouraged everyone to make
cute recipe cards that they could pass out.
It’s fun to have something to add to your recipe box.

It’s really a lot of fun to host a cookie exchange.
I am definitely more strict than others.
Jenn from Tatertots & Jello hosted an
open house style cookie exchange.
If I had a bigger house, I’d love to
host one that way.

A few other things to keep in mind:

  • Give your guests plenty of notice. I think 3-4 weeks is perfect.
  • Host it early in the month. December is busy and it gets harder and harder to get people there the closer you get to Christmas.
  • Remind your guests to bring containers to take their cookies home in and encourage them to bring cookies that travel well.
  • Request a final RSVP at least one week before the event. This way those that are coming will know exactly how many cookies to bring.
  • Have fun!!!!
  • For official cookie exchange “rules” visit The Cookie Exchange.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
You can see my 2009 cookie exchange HERE
and my 2010 cookie exchange HERE.

more by Jamielyn »

Jamielyn Nye

of I Heart Naptime

Creative director and founder of I Heart Naptime. Jamielyn aspires to reach women, get their creative juices flowing, and to genuinely inspire. When she’s not creating, Jamielyn loves to chase her three little monkeys and snuggle up on the couch with her man.

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8 comments on “How to host a Cookie Exchange {CCC}”

  1. Crikey, you’re hard core – I’ve never heard of a rule book for a cookie party before. One of my friends throws an amazing one every year. We all just bring as many as we like of whatever we fancy baking and she mixes up signature cocktails and all kinds of yummys. Its always one of the best holiday parties!

  2. I would love to host a cookie exchange. And I’m like you, no store bought cookies. or the kind where you melt butterscotch chips and pour them over those Chun King noodles.

  3. I’m hosting my first Christmas goodies exchange this year as a way to get to know my neighbors in our apartment building! I can’t wait!! :) loved this post.

  4. I LOVE this idea!! Thanks so much for sharing this party and all of the ins and outs. I think a cookie exchange/ornament exchange would be fun to pair together also!

  5. Thanks for posting this great idea!!! I want to have one too!!
    So do people bring enough cookies to sample and to take home? So if I had 6 guests they would have to bring a dozen cookies which would be one for tasting for each person and then another for taking home? Or would they bring more than that? I don’t get how the sharing of the cookies goes.

  6. This is a great and relatable post, though I didn’t see a link back to Robin’s original site where the bulk of the rules are from. Here is the link so that your readers can see where you got your info from. I’m sure you’ll appreciate a link back to you when I share your site! :)

    From Robin’s site:
    If you’re a writer, journalist, blogger or posting to message boards (ie; anything online or in print publication) using the CE rules, (in part or whole) please give credit where credit is due, and create an active link on the bottom of the same page that says:
    “Some content courtesy of Robin Olson,”

    • Hi Irene! Thanks for your comment. This was a guest post that I *assumed* she created. I will definitely add a link to the cookie exchange. That is a great list! Thanks for letting me know. Have a great night!

  7. Okay if i have a guess of 9 people do they bring 10 dozen cookies? 9 for each guess and One dozen for tasting???????

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