How to Plan a Cookie Exchange
I love to entertain, and the holiday season is my favorite social time! Everything is so festive, and people are more open to attending events. Eight years ago, I decided to host my first Cookie Exchange! I remember searching the internet for how to organize the best party. I took a few ideas but decided to put my twist on it, and it has been a success every year.
I think one of the first things you need to decide is how formal do you want your event? I love informal parties. Now, don't get me wrong I love to dress up, but that wasn't the vibe I was going for at this event. I like everyone to dress cute but casual. I didn't want people stressing out about what to wear. When they are already stressing about making homemade cookies, I never realized how much people do not like to bake. I love it!
Now that you have set the tone. How many people do you want to invite? Think about the space and how many people you can have in that space where people don't feel crowded. I am very strategic when I invite people. I do my best to make sure my guest will know someone there other than me. If that is not possible, I will let my guest know it is okay to bring a friend.
Let's talk about expectations. It is essential to be clear about what you expect from your guests. You would be surprised by how many women have no idea what a cookie exchange is or entail. They are always excited to come, but then the question is, "What exactly is a Cookie Exchange?"
1)How many dozens of homemade cookies do you want your guest to bring? For the love of all that is holy! DO NOT allow STORE BOUGHT cookies! That defeats the purpose of the cookie exchange!
There is always that one that doesn't even try to pretend the cookies are homemade. She brings them in the store container and dares to display them in the plastic container next to the beautifully presented homemade cookies! LOL! Not at my Cookie Exchange girlfriend! Those cookies mysteriously disappear!
2) Are you providing the containers or is it BYOC (bring your own container) to take home cookies. I usually provide the containers, but this year I am having everyone bring their own. I will have a few on hand for people who forget to bring one.
3) Are you serving food? I usually do. It is the holidays, and people like to eat! I usually cook everything, but one of my good girlfriends said I should ask a select few to bring something. My problem is I am a control freak, and I don't want 10 bags of Doritos and 30 fruit and veggie trays.
My event is growing every year, so I think I am going to take her advice this year. But only a select few will be asked to bring something.
4) I also think it is essential to decide if this an adult event. Believe it or not, people will ask if they can bring their kids. So, you need to decide in advance what type of party this is. I love kids, but that could be a game-changer. Depending on how much of your hair you were planning on letting down.
I will keep it real. My parties are usually a grown folks party. But, I have made a few exceptions. Often the kids were older, and they had to stay upstairs. If it were little kids who needed a lot of supervision, it was a hard no. At the end of the day, it is your party, so you set the rules.
5) Set your RSVP date at least 5 to 7 days out from your event, so you have time to plan for how much food you need and how many tables you may need to display cookies.
People's holiday calendars fill up quickly, so I suggest sending out your invitations at least a month out. If you turn it into an annual event, have it around the same time every year, and people will automatically block out that date. Mine is always the first Saturday in December.
If you don't remember anything else, have fun! People will come every year if they know it is going to be a good time. This year I had people asking if they could come to my party clear back in July!
So whether your cookie exchange is a large or small gathering, it is a time to create memories with your friends and family, so keep it fun!
Your turn: Do you have an annual holiday event that you host or attend?
Please share with your friends!