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An Epic Guide to Hosting a Christmas Cookie Exchange (Even Your Grinchiest Friends Will Love It)

A Christmas cookie exchange invitation.

The only thing better than a batch of homemade Christmas cookies is a personalized batch of multiple kinds of homemade Christmas cookies. Imagine: a few chocolate chip, a couple snickerdoodle, a gingerbread man—and they’re all made by your friends and fam!

As dreamy as it sounds, this magical platter of festive cookies is actually super attainable. Enter the Christmas cookie exchange, perhaps the most iconic of holiday parties. It’s festive, it’s fun, it’s interactive—and every guest gets to go home with a beautiful assortment of homemade cookies. A real dream come true!


Of course, if you’ve never attended a Christmas cookie exchange or you’ve never hosted your own, you might have a couple of questions about how they work. That’s why we’re here to answer all your Christmas cookie exchange questions, all in one place. Read on because we’re spilling all the tea (cocoa?) about Christmas cookie exchanges.

(Hungry for more? Don’t forget to check out the rest of our Christmas cookie exchange content here! We partnered with Food Network to bring you exclusive cookie recipes, invitations, fun cookie facts and cookie decorating tips!)

A baking tray full of different kinds of Christmas cookies.

What is a Christmas cookie exchange?

A Christmas cookie exchange is a popular kind of holiday party that gives guests the opportunity to flex their baking muscles, share sweet treats with friends and get in the holiday spirit! Guests bake their own cookies, bring them to the party and exchange their cookies with other guests to create a fun combination of cookies!

When should I send out invitations for a Christmas cookie exchange?

Send out your invites around a month in advance to give your guests enough time to plan ahead and figure out what cookies they’ll be bringing.

Make sure to include info about how Christmas cookie exchanges work somewhere on your invitations and remind guests to bring their cookies in a storage container to ensure they’ll have something to bring other cookies home in!

Find plenty of free and Premium cookie party invitations here, perfect for all your holiday baking festivities.

How many cookies should people bring for a Christmas cookie exchange?

For parties with 10 guests or fewer, ask everyone to bring around a dozen cookies each. For larger parties, guests should only need to bring a half dozen each. 

How does a Christmas cookie exchange work?

As guests arrive, direct them to a designated area to place their cookies. A large table is typically best. Have your guests put their cookies on display and consider laying out some index cards and pens so guests can make a sign saying their name, what kind of cookie they brought and any allergens to be aware of!

Once the cookie table is all set, it’s time to get swapping! Using their own storage container, guests will walk around and select any cookies from the table that catch their eye. As a rule of thumb, guests should take no more than they brought in order to ensure that everyone gets a full assortment of cookies. By the end of the night, each guest will have a delightful hodgepodge of homemade cookies to take home!

For the smoothest party, it is best if hosts provide serving platters for everyone’s cookies. Consider buying festive platters like this one from Amazon. By providing platters, your guests will ideally be able to transport their cookies to the party in one storage container, empty their container onto a platter and fill up that same container during the exchange!  

Do I have to bake my own cookies?

Ideally, guests will be bringing their own homemade cookies, but life happens! While Christmas cookie exchanges are a great way to show off your baking skills or share a family recipe with your friends, guests might not have the time to bake something homemade in time for the party and that’s okay. If this is the case, bringing your favorite store-bought cookies is totally chill, just make sure they’re still holiday-themed!

When should I host a Christmas cookie exchange?

The best time to host a Christmas cookie exchange is sometime in mid-December. In fact, according to our data, December 15th is the most popular day for holiday parties! You want to make sure you aren’t hosting your party too close to Christmas as people might be out of town or spending time with family, but you also don’t want to host your party too early, either.

What other kinds of cookie parties can I host?

The holiday season is prime time for every kind of cookie party! Some of our favorites include:

  • Bake or buy a few dozen sugar cookies and lay out plenty of frosting, icing and decorating tools. Then, invite guests to get creative!
  • Cookies & cocoa parties
  • The only thing better than a Christmas cookie is a Christmas cookie with a piping hot cup of hot chocolate!
  • Gingerbread house decorating parties
  •  Buy a few gingerbread house kits like this one from Amazon, throw on some holiday music, heat up some hot cocoa and see what everyone builds!

What are good recipes for a Christmas cookie exchange?

We partnered up with Food Network to bring you free exclusive recipes for the following cookies, perfect for a Christmas cookie exchange: 

The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread men hanging from a cup of hot chocolate.

Holiday Swirled Sugar Cookies

Holiday swirled sugar cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

A pile of chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk.

Holiday Monster Cookies

Holiday monster cookies in a basket.

Marshmallow Melting Snowman Cookies

Marshmallow melting snowman cookies.

You can find the downloadable recipes for these crowd-pleasing treats here.

Top tips for hosting

Decor

Star-shaped plates, tree-shaped serving platters, and candy cane balloons.

No holiday party is complete without a fun and festive atmosphere! Whether you hang twinkly lights or lay out a holiday-themed tablecloth, consider creating an environment that feels aligned with the party's theme.

A red and white balloon arch.

Our holiday decor picks:

An autumnal tablescape.

For even more great finds, check out our full Amazon shop here.

Drinks

Don’t forget to keep your guests hydrated! Even though the cookies are the star of the show, setting up a beverage station with big-batch cocktails, wine, beer, soda and water is definitely a good idea.

For the more ambitious mixologists among us, this delicious chocolate mint martini is the perfect, on-theme beverage to totally wow your guests with!

Food

We’ve all learned it the hard way: too much sugar on an empty stomach is never a good idea! Make sure you’re giving your guests something else to snack on at the party, ideally including plenty of savory options to offset the sweetness from the cookies!

Here are some of our fave holiday apps and snacks:

Of course, in the event you’re totally spent from all the baking and party prep, you truly can not go wrong with an assortment of chips, dips and veggies. Charcuterie boards are also an infallible option. As long as your guests have something other than cookies to munch on, you’re good to go!

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Developed hand-in-hand with community organizers, PTA presidents, parents, and teachers, Evite's sign-up sheets are designed to make organizing volunteers a breeze. Here are a few ways Signup Sheets are different than Signup Genius:

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Choose Evite Signup Sheets for the easiest, most streamlined way to get volunteers and signups for your next event!

What is a signup sheet?

Signup sheets are the perfect way to streamline scheduling, volunteer recruitment, class parties, snack duty, potluck organization, parent-teacher conferences and more! You can think of them as your digital assistant for coordinating events and tasks and ensuring that your event is a success.

Evite SignUp Sheets offers parents, teachers and event planners customizable online forms that organizers and volunteers can access and update effortlessly. Volunteers can choose their preferred time slots, sign up for tasks or indicate what they'll bring to the event. It only takes organizers a few minutes to create a signup sheet and send it out with a shareable link, so they can get the word out via text, email or social media—whichever way they prefer! 

Long story short, signup sheets save everyone involved tons of time, avoid scheduling headaches and ensure everything runs smoothly before and during the event.

How do I create a signup sheet?

Creating a signup sheet has never been easier than with Evite! Here’s how to create a sheet that’s sure to make your event an absolute success:

  1. Go to Evite SignUp Sheets and choose the template that best fits your needs. Evite offers multiple signup sheet templates perfect for every occasion, including:some text
    • Signup sheets for standalone events (without different time slots), perfect for when you’re organizing a class party, potluck or end-of-season party.
    • Signup sheets for recurring or multi-day events (without different time slots), perfect for when you’re organizing a meal train, post-game snack duty or during appreciation week.
    • Signup sheets for single or multiple day events (with time slots), perfect for when you’re organizing concession stand volunteers, fundraisers and parent-teacher conferences.
  1. After selecting your sheet template, create a title for your signup sheet and add the date, the location, the time (if applicable), who the organizer is, the organizer’s phone number or email and an optional note describing the event to your volunteers. You can also change your signup sheet background and title image if you wish!
  1. Next, create slots for your signup sheet. If you aren’t logged into your account, you will need to do so at this point, but luckily, you can use your existing Evite account (no need to create yet another login!). What you’ll include here will depend on what your event needs, but you can include a list of what’s needed (along with optional descriptions), how many volunteers are needed, and dates and times.
  1. After creating your slots, you can then add a wish list from any retailer or include supply suggestions from Evite’s retailer partners. These are to help your volunteers find and purchase supplies quickly and easily.
  1. Finally, review your sheet, copy your shareable link and send it out to everyone on your list! Every time a volunteer signs up for a slot on your signup sheet, Evite will email you. We will also send reminders to you and your volunteers before your event so no one will forget about it, and we’ll even let volunteers know if you remove their slot or cancel your event sheet so you don’t have to!

What information should be included on a signup sheet?

When it comes to signup sheet information, there are some essentials to include regardless of what you’re organizing:

  1. A title for your signup sheet. Tip: Aim to keep your signup sheet title concise but clear. You want volunteers to read it and have a general understanding of what your event is about, and also make it easy for them to look for later if they need to reference your sheet again. You have the option to include a more descriptive note in a different field about your event, so save the more in-depth details for that!
  1. When and where the event is taking place. 
  1. The organizer’s name and phone number.
  1. Slots for volunteers to choose from. Once you choose the SignUp Sheets template that fits the occasion, the slots you’ll need for your sheet will be right there and ready for you to add the relevant info, such as dates, times, items to bring and tasks to complete. 

When adding your slot information, clearly define what people are signing up for, especially for a what-to-bring list or role assignments. If you want someone to bring healthy snacks for kids to enjoy after a game, specify that. You want your volunteers to feel confident in what they’re bringing and to make it easy for them to know what’s expected of them. It will save them time and stress (and you, too!). That being said, if you make your ask too specific (for example, asking for a hard-to-source item or something expensive), you may not end up with a volunteer for it. So be clear about what you expect, but also be reasonable!

Aside from providing the basic signup information, you can also add optional descriptions to both your entire signup sheet and individual slots. While not required, they can help guide your volunteers further and provide more information. You can add information about allergies, preferences and general info about the event. You can also add a wish list to make it easier for your volunteers to bring exactly what you need!

What are the benefits of using a signup sheet template?

Signup sheet templates offer a ton of advantages for both organizers and volunteers and with Evite SignUp Sheets, you'll enjoy even more benefits than other digital and paper signup sheets! Some benefits our signup sheet templates offer include:

  • A 100% free experience (no subscriptions required!).
  • Shareable links for quick and easy sharing.
  • No need to create another login—you can use your existing Evite account.
  • The option to add a wish list to help your volunteers out.
  • Automatic reminders—we’ll remind everyone on your behalf.
  • An easy-to-use experience with eye-catching guided templates.
  • Clean, modern designs with no pop-up ads.

With Evite SignUp Sheets, you can enjoy organizing and coordinating all your events with ease. Signup sheets streamline the signup process for everyone involved, ensuring that everything will go to plan on the day of your event while saving you precious time in the process.

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